When medication can cause body damage

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by aaradia, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    So this is part of what has been going on in my life lately. I have been dealing with bad acid reflux for years. I have been on prescription strength Nexium for 5 or so years.

    I was told it was safe long term. But now studies are coming out saying that it might cause kidney damage and memory issues. One of my fellow students is a Nurse that has a job with pharmaceuticals. He said the studies can be seriously flawed. So, at first I didn't worry. But more and more studies have come out. It was when one was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association when I decided there really might be a danger.

    So, I went for tests for my kidneys. All is fine. I have had memory issues lately. But I think it has more to do with lack of sleep and hormones for a woman my age. And anxiety issues.

    But this really freaked me out. So I am weaning myself off of the Nexium. Using a less damaging medication. Changing my diet. Looking into weight loss programs. Natural remedies.

    So, why am I bringing this up here? Because this forum is very pro western medicine and very critical of natural medicine. But Western medicine isn't perfect. I was on this medicine for years being told it was absolutely safe. Some doctors are still saying that, while others are saying it is concerning and it is a good idea to get off of it.

    So, I was wondering if anyone else had any concerns about medication risks. Bad side effects. How have people weighed the potential benefits vs risks when deciding on medications?

    Do we have an over reliance on medicine? Western medicine? I am down the middle on the issue. I believe some natural remedies can be helpful. And I believe in Western medicine. I think both have flaws and both have benefits.

    Fore exanple- I am taking one longer term mediciation that seems safer as I wean myself off the Nexium. but I am also trying a folk remedy. A lot of people on forums for acid reflux say apple cider vinegar has helped them control the problem. It seems safe enough to give it a go. Too early to say if it is helping though.

    I hear people's criticims of natural remedites. But it seems people give western medicine a pass on its flaws and dangers at the same time here.

    Yes, this ia a bit of a vent/ I am angry that I risked kidney damage. And most of all that some Dcctors are ignoring the latest evidence while others are paying attention to it.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  2. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Obviously I can only speak for myself.

    My SSRIs are generally not very risky, but they can have bad effects on my blood or my heart.
    It is very rare though.

    My Doc told me we'd do regular test for my blood (so far it's nearly perfect) and if reasons seems to be we run EKGs.

    I also take sedatives, but there natural.

    Why I decided to take those: I can actually talk to people most of the time, even though it's still stressful at times.
    My tics aren't as bad anymore and mostly are only there, when I'm stressed.

    Sure, I still have bad phases; a week or so ago, the tics were worse again and talkting even to people I trust was a bit more difficult at times, like when I wanted to ask one of my teachers a (for me ;) ) serious question on Friday and he suddenly was there on a Thursday - this way I couldn't "practice" how I wanted to ask my question.

    So in short: Being able to communicate and interact with people in normal situations I am used to (in others it still doesn't work) was worth a risk, that's a) very rare and can b) be "cured again" when tests show some problems.
  3. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I think the terms 'natural' and 'western' medicine are a bit misleading - what we're actually talking about are medicines that have scientific evidence supporting them and those that do not. It's worth pointing out that 'natural' medicines have their share of side effects as well. I'd say that regardless of whether the source of the medication is a pharmacy or a Chinese medicine shop your best bet is looking up the relevant scientific literature and remaining informed. It might be an imperfect system, but it doesn't strike me that abandoning it completely is going to be more successful.

    Interestingly, I was reading a plea from some university scientists for sustained funding of the NIH and biomedical research not conducted by pharmaceutical companies...
  4. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    ^ exactly that.

    All medicines are chemicals, the difference is one lot has long term pharmaco vigilance, and one lot doesn't.

    If you can control your reflux through diet and weightloss of course that is best.

    if it was untreated, reflux has some potential very very bad long term consequences.

    Its always a case ofweighing up the options and deciding whats best for you, on the available evidence.

    got any links for the new studies?
  5. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

  6. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award


    ^ this is a reasonably balenced article.

    It was an analysis of insurance records in germany, more studies are needed, currently its a possible association not a causal link.

    it could be as simple as stress causing reflux, and stress also causing dementia,
    or caffeine use causes dementia, which also causes reflux, or even the underreported use of OTC PPIs leading to the rate for dementia with prescription PPI looking higher.

    currently this situation has many shades of gray, its definitely not as black and white as your OP seems to make it.
  7. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

  8. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    What is bothering me is that some doctors seem to be prescribing long term use of drugs as completely safe- when there is more evidence out there that there that may not be true.

    I saw one Dr to talk about the recent research. She agreed that there is enough evidence that it is a concern. A co-worker with the same issue said her Dr had suggested to her that it was time to get off that medication due to the latest research.

    The Dr I saw yesterday- who is normally quite good - didn't want to acknowledge that there are possible risks. She tried to discourage me from weaning off the medication -assuring me it is completely safe.

    Listen, more research needs to be done. However, there does seem to be enough evidence that it is making some Dr's rethink their prescibing habits with this medication.

    My point of course isn't to suggest all western medicine is bad. But that some people on here act like the science is great and perfect. But it isn't. There are issues and one cannot blindly trust it. I had to keep up on what was going on and be proactive. If I completely left it to my Dr. there would be no discussion of any potential risks at all.

    And sometimes natural remedies don't get researched because -well- there isn't a lot of profit in them. This is true even with orphan drugs. Google Lorenzo's oil- some film adaption of the case made it famous.

    And yes, natural vs western medicine isn't a perfect phrase. But those are the most common terms for a frame of reference.
  9. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

  10. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Science has found a potential issue, and science will be used to discover more about it.

    your not taking into account all the medical problems ppi use has avoided, and your misthinking that 'herbal remedies' have no safety issues either.

    A drs job is to asses that risk, which due to their experience they are far better at then you.

    The main failing of the US is having a for profit medical system. This can lead to over treatment. But thats not sciences fault.

  11. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Actually deadpool, I didn't make it out to be black and white at all. I think you aren't reading what I said very carefully.

    I made a point to say the studies suggest it MIGHT be a danger. Not that it was, just that enough evidence is there to suggest it could be a concern. Enough that some Dr's are taking note, but not all.

    I also made a point previously to say that I didn't just jump when the first studies came out. That advice from a fellow student in the medical business talked about possible flawed studies.

    Also note I am still taking western medicine. A different medication that has been out longer with no suggestions of the same sorts of issues. But yeah, I have read enough online forums from people suffering with this issue that I am also trying a folk remedy that seems to help a lot of people. Yes, some natural remedies can have side effects too. However, I have not found any issues with apple cider vinegar yet. Except to drink it through a straw to avoid tooth enamel damage.
  12. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  13. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    This is just as true for alternative/complementary medicines as well. Science is imperfect and provisional by its nature. I can't really think of any other way of doing things though.
  14. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I am fully aware of this. Why do you think I am on medication in the first place? I had a lesion in my throat.

    Straw man issue there. No one said it shouldn't be taken seriously.

    But I was ASSURED the medicine I took was completely absolutely safe for years. If they had even said something like "as far as we know so far" but they didn't. They assured me there were simply no problems with long term use at all.
  15. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    All science is "as far as we know" that is the great strength of science, its adjusts with greater understanding.
  16. Peter Maloney

    Peter Maloney New Member

    My mother is a paranoid schizophrenic and she hates taking her medication (pretty sure it's a trait of schizophrenics!). She goes off on how it makes her fatter and on how it "turns her into a zombie". She's a Christian, very extreme beliefs and quite gullible. She believes that praying is enough and would work better than her medication (she's 100x better on medication).

    You've got to ask yourself whether you would prefer a guaranteed solution to acid reflux; medication that is proven to work and which MAY cause damages. Or a solution that has little to no scientific evidence of working and in all likeliness does not work. Weigh it up and decide for yourself.
  17. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Or one can not look at it like an either or situation. Like Latikos, I am using a mixture of both to see what works for me.

    1. changing prescription medications to one that has been out longer, but does not have studies showing the same risk of potential kidney and memory issues. It isn't quite as effective, but it helps and doesn't have the same risks- so far anyways.

    2. making changes to my lifestyle.

    3. AND trying a natural remedy.

    See, this is what I expected when starting this thread. People jump to any slight criticism of western medicine and refuse to acknowledge any flaws to that system at all.

    My original point being that it has benefits, but is not a perfect system either.

    Yet so many responses have read it as an entire condemnation, or a complete refutation. Even though I have taken great care to clarify that is not the case.

    I find that reaction so very interesting.:D

    Latikos, I have a similar situation with another medication. It carries a risk of osteoporosis. But I get that checked every year or two. So far, my bones are quite fine. It is a gradual thing, so I would be able to catch the problem and make adjustments to my treatment if a test came out poorly.

    Also Latikos, what made you decide on the natural medicines on top of the prescription ones? I am curious. Thanks!
  18. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Interesting, I didn't know Gaviscon had its roots in folk medicine. Thanks for that information. :)

    I have used it, and it does help. I currently have a call into my Dr about using it on top of the other medications. There are no drug interactions listed.

    But I want her ok to be using Nexium (as I am still not completely off of it yet), Ranitidine and Gaviscon.

    The trick is managing the weaning process carefully. Slowly changing over without taking too much of varied medicines.
  19. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Similar here: My blood gets testes four times a year, and if the results would show negative side effects, my Doc and I would take a look at what and how to change.

    Funny thing is: At first a psychiatrist wanted me to take them, but I refused. That one never mentioned blood tests at all, during the talk.
    My family doctor on the other hand, told me about that right away, when he was trying to "convince" me (he didn't talk me into it, but he made sure I got his points. Then he gave me a few weeks, after that gave me some pills, so I could consider taking them or not).

    That was actually the other way around.

    I went to my family Doc, because I had real trouble sleeping properly for months.
    He strongly advised against real sleeping pills, due to their addiction-risk, but prescribed me "my" natural sedative: It's called "Sedacur Forte" and is made of hop, valerian and melissa.

    So I took that a while and roughly two and half or three weeks later, one of my teachers told me, how I had changed the last two weeks.

    These pills made me stop hiding all the time in a corner, I was more talkative towards people I trust and generally more open and approachable; I was able to answer in sentences and not just "Yes/ No", so to speak; I can talk to the parents of the kids without being totally stressed out and teach the kids as well; I'm able to go to seminars (I still need someone to go with me, but at the seminar itself it works better) and even assisted during two; ...

    Such points made me realize, what this product did to me and how it changed me.
    Honestly, I don't know if I would have noticed without one of my teachers mentioning it.
    He also notices after a few days when I stop taking my medication (did that twice), just as well as he notices nearly right away, when I take it again.
    Which is - in all honesty - quite sobering.

    The antidepressant came later.
    I only take them for roughly three quarters of a year now.

    My guardian mentioned it even before my Doc, for two reasons: The depression-symptoms came back and my tics really got bad.
    The latter started to annoy people (myself included; I don't think they were annoyed out of malice, but because it made them nervous as well) and quite frankly got annoying and interfering - especially when they started not only to be a jerking, but also a hissing sound made its way.

    As a side-effect I really started wondering if they were my fault and even talked to my doc about it (who told me, that that's a dumb thought and definetly not my fault), but I still felt bad about them.

    So that, plus triggered depression-symptoms after very bad news for me, made me decide to actually try it.
  20. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    You only have to look at the pharmaceutical industry to see the flaws in Western medicine.

    That in no way undermines the scientific method though. As philo said, science makes no distinction between "natural" or "Western".

    No experiment or study is perfect, but any verifiable evidence is better than no experiment or study.

    It's interesting to see your reaction to this thread. It seems as if you have a false dichotomy between "natural medicine" and "Western medicine", and you have looked at responses through the lens of your expectations.

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