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herbal suppplements and other 'safe' meds

I happened on this article, which really rings my chimes. So often people post about so-called natural remedies, which they automatically assume are superior to whatever Big Pharma produces. In my not so humble opinion, this is a very wrong assumption.

Not to promote all the expensive and dubious stuff the pharmaceutical companies come up with. Far from that, really. But at least these things are federally regulated, and if taken under medical supervision and according to directions, are fairly unlikely to cause actual harm. But 'natural' does not mean safe or effective. Snake venom is natural. The law of the jungle, kill or be killed, is natural. Natural ain't necessarily wonderful when it comes to our health.

So, for what it's worth, here's the article that prompted this:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2012/11/herbal_supplement_dangers_fda_does_not_regulate_supplements_and_they_can.single.html#pagebreak_anchor_2

ess
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1756321 tn?1547095325
United States - 5% of the world taking 60% of the world's pharmaceutical drugs.

106 000 people die in the United States every year taking a pharmaceutical drug as the doctor directed.

Every drug that was removed from the market for causing disability, death, and in some cases found to be completely ineffective, was first approved as safe and effective by the FDA.
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Avatar universal
This does not make 'natural' remedies either safer or more effective than pharmaceuticals.
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1140169 tn?1370185076
Thanks Ess, good article. The last sentence in the piece wraps it up nicely.

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1831849 tn?1383228392
I'm curious about the source of "106 000 people die in the United States every year taking a pharmaceutical drug as the doctor directed"

It seems very high to me. I looked and the biggest number I could find was around 37,000, and this included 'recreational' drug deaths.

I found the following, which puts the in-hospital drug death number at about 8,300/year for the 30 years between 1976-2006.

"In a June 2010 report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, study authors said that in looking over records that spanned from 1976 to 2006 (the most recent year available) they found that, of 62 million death certificates, almost a quarter-million deaths were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medication errors."

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/04/death-by-medicine-an-update.aspx
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1756321 tn?1547095325
This information was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Check out "Doctors are the third leading cause of death in the US" articles to the youtube video "Food Matters Official Trailer".
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1831849 tn?1383228392
I found the article. It's 12 years old.
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Avatar universal
No drug gets to market in the US without the FDA's approval, and safe and effective are the main criteria. So of course every drug that has been shown later to cause serious effects, even death, was earlier thought safe.

But even though there are undeniably way too many adverse events caused by prescription and over the counter drugs, some context is needed here. How many people take such drugs without any harmful effects? Many millions. How many people are actually helped by them? Also many millions. Consider how many doses of a given med are consumed. Billions. Compare that with adverse events and draw your own conclusions.

Some people are allergic to a given formula, some have other health issues that mean the drug is not for them, some have incompetent doctors, and the list goes on. We at least have numerous alternatives on the market, in recognition that patients differ. All meds have their downsides, so we have to go with the odds.

FDA-bashing is easy, yet a great many promising meds are approved in other countries years before in the US, and sometimes the US never approves them. Meanwhile patients are clamoring for some of these, whether wisely or not I can't say.

Herbal meds have virtually no regulation. The feds have actually loosend up on them, which is why it's no surprise that the number of new products has increased exponentially in recent years. Manufacturers are making a killing, and uninformed consumers are the guinea pigs.

The worst scenario of all happens when people refuse traditional medicine, including drugs, in favor of off the wall treatments that don't help, while their conditions get worse and worse. Steve Jobs found that out to his peril.

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Avatar universal
continued

There certainly are some very helpful herbal remedies out there, and I've long had a book called The Honest Herbal, that describes them. But who knows whether that's actually what's in the jars we see on the shelves, who knows whether it's in the amount depicted, and who know what else is in there? Maybe it's harmful, maybe it's harmless, and maybe it's a total scam, robbing you of your money.

Government regulation is far from perfect, but it's the best tool we have.

ess

Helpful - 0
1831849 tn?1383228392
I agree, FDA bashing is easy. I, for one, would not like to be without my:

Tysabri
Gabapentin
Amitriptyline
Tamsulosin
Simvastatin

Helpful - 0
1831849 tn?1383228392
I forgot one...

dalfampridine
Helpful - 0
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