Monday, 28 November 2016

Statin Drugs. Should you be taking them considering what doctors are now being told?

Statin drugs are taken by millions of people throughout the world. Doctors have been telling us for decades they are effective in preventing heart attacks. They have also been telling us that they are 'entirely safe'. Put the two claims together, and we should all be taking them! And indeed this has been the advice from the conventional medical establishment, which has prescribed Statin drugs in every increasing numbers to fit and healthy people.

I have been saying on this blog for many years that Statin drugs are both useless and dangerous. Elsewhere they have been described as "the greatest medical fraud of all times". But in this blog I am not going to describe them. I am going to allow conventional doctors to do all the describing instead.

So now, I am asking everyone to read two articles published by the doctor's e-magazine Pulse, and by the magazine 'Prescriber', and most especially all patients who are taking Statins.

'No scientific evidence' for the use of statins, experts claim'
This article was published today (28th November 2016). There is now doubt about the claims being made for Statins, and the 'medical science' that supports these claims. Doctors are now asking pharmaceutical drug companies to release the data so that it can be properly assessed. Note, please, that Statin drugs have been with us since the 1970.s, claims for their efficacy have been made consistently since then, and now, 40 years on, doctors are asking for the evidence!

'More clarity needed on the true benefits and risks of statins'.
This article is for anyone who wants to read more about the concerns over both the effectiveness and the dangers of Statin drugs. It outlines the issues that are currently being discussed within the conventional medical establishment.

I have good reason to ask Statin users to read these articles. Although the 'Prescriber' article says that the "benefits and risks of statins have recently been the subject of much controversy and debate" I am not sure that our doctors will be willing or able to tell us about these controversial debates! They know about the issues, this is clear. But they continue to prescribe the drugs. And the drug companies are already coming up with denials (about it ineffectiveness, and about its dangers).

The situation with statin drugs, as with most other pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, is the 'benefit equation' that is routinely applied to them. Do they do more harm than good? And in these two articles it is clear what conventional medicine does to persuade us to take them.

  • Over-exaggerating the benefits
  • Under-estimating the dangers
So '2' for benefits and '3' for risk becomes '3' for benefits and '2' for risks. So our doctors give us the drugs. 

But clearly the drug companies don't want to let us know, and they are refusing to tell us, about the 'medical science' that underlays the 'benefit equation' they use for Statin drugs. So perhaps the figures are more likely to be much more in favour of pharmaceutical profit than our wellbeing and health! 

Monday, 21 November 2016

How effective is conventional medicine? Do Big Pharma drugs work?

Conventional medicine does not defend itself when it is accused of causing disease and death through the pharmaceutical drugs it promotes and prescribes!

Conventional medicine is unable to defend itself when it is accused of being the most expensive form of medical therapy!

So how effective is conventional medical, and the drugs it promotes? In constructing my new website, "Why Homeopathy?" I have regularly been amazed at how doctors are quite aware about the ineffectiveness of the drugs they prescribe, and it has led to to ask many questions.

  • Does conventional medicine cure illness and disease, or does it just ameliorate? 
  • Does conventional medicine treat conditions so that they go away, or does it just deal with symptoms?
  • Does conventional medicine offer sick people a long term answer, or just temporary amelioration on a long-term basis?
  • Does conventional medicine just allow illnesses to run their course.

So let's allow NHS Choices to inform us. I have used only their words, directly from their website. The British NHS is, after all, a leading exponent of conventional medicine, and it is led, and indeed dominated by conventional medics - so they should know!

ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
          "Treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can help relieve the symptoms and make the condition much less of a problem in day-to-day life."

Ankylosing Spondylitis
          "There's no cure for ankylosing spondylitis (AS), but treatment is available to help relieve the symptoms."

Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
          "Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis can help reduce inflammation in the joints, relieve pain, prevent or slow joint damage, reduce disability and enable you to live as active a life as possible."

          "Although there's no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, early treatment and support – including lifestyle changes, medication, supportive treatments and surgery – can reduce the risk of joint damage and limit the impact of the condition."

Arthritis (Osteo)
          'There's no cure for osteoarthritis, but the condition doesn’t necessarily get any worse over time and a number of treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms."

          "There's currently no cure for asthma, but treatment can help control the symptoms so you're able to live a normal, active life."

Alzheimer's Disease
          "There's currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, although medication is available that can temporarily reduce some symptoms or slow down the progression of the condition in some people."

          "There's no 'cure' for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, a range of specialist educational and behavioural programmes can help children with ASD."

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
          "Treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) aim to help relieve the symptoms."

Dementia (Vascular)
          "There's currently no cure for vascular dementia and no way to reverse the damage to the brain that's already occurred, but treatments can help prevent further damage and may help slow down its progression."

Haemorrhoids (Piles)
          "Haemorrhoids (piles) often clear up by themselves after a few days. However, there are many treatments that can reduce itching and discomfort."

          "There is no cure for atopic eczema, but treatments can ease the symptoms. Many children find their symptoms naturally improve as they get older."

          "Treatment for fibromyalgia tries to ease some of your symptoms and improve quality of life, but there's currently no cure.

          "Treatment for gout includes pain relief to help you cope with a gout attack, as well as medication and lifestyle changes to prevent further attacks.

          "Treating osteoporosis involves treating and preventing fractures and using medication to strengthen bones. An important objective for health services across England is to try to prevent falls and fractures, particularly in people with osteoporosis and those with risk factors for osteoporosis."

Parkinson's Disease
          "There's currently no cure for Parkinson's disease, but treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms and maintain your quality of life."

PMT (Pre-Menstrual Tension)
          "Treatments for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may help you manage your symptoms so they don't interfere with your daily life.

          "Treatment for chronic prostatitis usually aims to control the symptoms. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help relieve your pain."

          "Treatment for psoriasis usually helps to keep the condition under control."

          "Treatment for sciatica isn't always necessary, as the condition often improves naturally within around six weeks..... However, it's not clear exactly how effective many of these treatments are at treating sciatica."

          "Treatment for shingles can help ease your symptoms until the condition improves. In many cases shingles gets better within around two to four weeks.

News about new wonder drugs
The news media brings us news, on a regular basis, about new pharmaceutical drugs that will soon be able to treat disease - wonder drugs, magic bullets, treatments that will a 'game changers' in the treatment of disease. Apparently, these are all about the future, they are not currently available for sick people. Perhaps next year. Perhaps in 5 or 10 years time.

Or perhaps never!

If pharmaceutical drugs are so ineffective, whilst at the same time causing so many serious side effects (which are really new illnesses and diseases), it is little wonder that conventional medical systems throughout the world are in serious financial trouble. Conventional medicine depends hugely on Big Pharma drugs, which means it is relying on next to nothing. Or, perhaps more accurately, something that it worse than nothing.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Rett Syndrome. An alternative cause, and alternative treatment?

Rett syndrome is a 'new' disease. There are lots of them, normally only having two things in common. They were unknown until recent time. The cause is unknown. There is no conventional treatment for the condition. And the children appeared to be quite normal at birth, and for the first few months of life.

NHS Choices describes Rett syndrome as "a rare genetic disorder that affects brain development, resulting in severe mental and physical disability". It is estimated that about 1 in 12,000 girls born each year are affected, and is only rarely seen in males. Conventional medicine's explanation for the cause of this syndrome is interesting, but equally suspicious.

          "Almost all cases of Rett syndrome are caused by a mutation (a change in the DNA) in the MECP2 gene, which is found on the X chromosome (one of the sex chromosomes). The MECP2 gene contains instructions for producing a particular protein (MeCP2), which is needed for brain development. The gene abnormality prevents nerve cells in the brain from working properly.
There's usually no family history of Rett syndrome, which means it isn't passed on from one generation to the next. Almost all cases (over 99%) are spontaneous, with the mutation occurring randomly. This is known as a 'de novo' mutation."

This is not a cause! As so often happens, conventional medicine goes in for elaborate explanations of 'cause' when it is really describing what is happening. No one needs to doubt that this is happening. The real question, however, is why does it happen? In other words, what has caused this mutation, why is the child's development not normal?

Another clue that should lead to suspicion concerns the development of the syndrome. This is what the NHS Choices website has to say.

          "At first, the child will appear to develop and grow normally for at least six months, although (especially with hindsight) there may be subtle signs of Rett syndrome before the child is recognized as having a problem."

Well, that's leave the 'hindsight'. Perhaps the parents weren't sufficiently attentive! Or perhaps not. Conventional medicine says that other new diseases, for instance Autism, are not new diseases. It was just that parents did not notice before! A nonsense argument. I would suggest that parents have always known their children better the conventional medical doctors! Rett syndrome was first identified by Dr Andreas Rett, in or around 1983. He originally noted the progressive nature of the syndrome nature based on the evidence that a child with the disorder seems to develop normally in the first 6-18 months of development.

Conventional medicine is always vague about the causation of these 'new' diseases and syndromes. "There is no known cause". "There is no treatment". When this is heard, be weary. The cause is probably conventional medicine itself. Look to see what pharmaceutical drug and/or vaccine might have caused the problem. And if there is a possible link, especially if it is a vaccine, don't expect too much help from the conventional medical establishment. They will be in 'cover-up' mode.

So what happens to all our children between birth and 18 months? They are subjected to a plethora of vaccinations. DPT, MMR and an ever increasing number of other vaccines.

There are two objections to such a suggestion. First, 'there is no evidence'. But then if such links are denied they are not investigated. There has been no investigation independent of the conventional medical establishment, so of course there is 'no evidence'. Second, any suggestion that a vaccine might cause such harm invites an instant and hostile rejection. Vaccines are entirely safe! There is no connection with Rett, or Autism, or anything else. Injecting mercury, aluminium and/or formaldehyde into the bloodstream of babies is an entirely reasonable thing to do! And anyone (especially a parent) who suggests otherwise is likely to receive short thrift!

I watched a BBC 'Look East' programme on Rett syndrome yesterday (15th November 2016). Certainly, it featured a young girl whose mother had not asked the question. She said that the fact her daughter had contracted Rett syndrome was "just a thing that happens"! Her development was repressed when she was 18 months. The child's eyes, to me, screamed "Vaccine damage". Indeed many of the reported symptoms of this syndrome have features so common to the many millions of vaccine damaged children, including autism.
  • low muscle tone
  • difficulty feeding
  • unusual, repetitive hand movements or jerky limb movements, including wringing, washing, clapping and tapping
  • delay with development of speech
  • mobility problems, such as problems sitting, crawling and walking
  • lack of interest in toys 
  • periods of distress, irritability and sometimes screaming for no obvious reason
  • social withdrawal, a loss of interest in people and avoidance of eye contact
  • unsteadiness and awkwardness when walking
  • problems sleeping
  • slowing of head growth
  • difficulty eating, chewing or swallowing, and sometimes constipation that may cause tummy aches
  • seizures
  • irregular breathing patterns may get worse, shallow breathing followed by rapid, deep breathing, or breath holding
  • teeth grinding
  • heart rhythm abnormalities
So perhaps a simple survey might be in order here. How many children with Rett syndrome HAVE NOT BEEN VACCINATED? If there are children with Rett syndrome who have not been vaccinated it will certainly help allay my suspicions.

When a disease is described as 'a syndrome', be suspicious. Whenever a disease is said to be 'new', be suspicious. Whenever there is a disease for which there is no known cause (or the cause is really an explanation), be suspicious. 

And whenever conventional medicine tells us that 'there is no treatment' or 'no cure' for a syndrome, look deeper, look further, look beyond the conventional medical establishment. For instance, many homeopaths are now looking at how vaccine damage can be antidoted, and CEASE Therapy has been developing now for several years, mainly for the treatment of Autism. It is based on homeopathy, and  if my suspicious are correct, it appears to be equally relevant to the treatment of this condition.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Donald Trump . What is this 'Establishment' that he opposes? Does he know?

Donald Trump railed against the 'Establishment' during his election campaign, and his rage against the Washington Swamp has suggested that he knows what the 'Establishment is, where where it resides, and who belongs to it. I am not entirely sure that he does.

The Establishment is supposed to incorporate "the important and powerful people who control a country, or an organisation, especially those who support the existing situation" Cambridge dictionary It "generally denotes a dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation or organization. The Establishment may be a closed social group which selects its own members or specific entrenched elite structures, either in government or in specific institutions."

There has always been an Establishment. In Roman Times political power resided with those people who controlled the army; first the King; then group of patricians; soon army generals who turned politician. In Jesus' time it was the Jews who controlled the Temple, the High Priesthood. In medieval times it was the warlords and kings who were able to leave the battlefield, victorious. And the priests who controlled what the people thought and believed. In aristocratic times the Establishment consisted of that group of nobles who controlled the land, and so the people who lived and worked on it.

Now, in our democratic times, Trump believes that the Establishment consists of those people who hold political power within the nation's capital city, Washington. He is wrong! And actually he probably knows that he is wrong!

In 1867, Walter Bagehot asked the important question. "Where is the source of power in Britain? He published his book, 'The English Constitution', in order to look behind the facade of the British system of government, the Crown, the House of Lords, the House of Commons, to see how power really operated, and where true power lay. He found that power did not actually reside in any of these, but instead was held by a small group of men in the Cabinet, who belonged to the party that commanded a majority in the House of Commons.

That analysis needs to move on in today's world, and any analysis will show that power does not reside where we too often believe it does.

  • That if a government makes decisions, it has power
  • That if the House of Commons selects the government, it has power
  • That if MP's are selected by the people, the people must have power.

All this is rather like saying that if an army has power, individual soldiers must be powerful. It just isn't true! The swamp is not in Washington. Power does not reside with the politicians, much as they might think it does. In the USA, the people vote but they have no real power. They elect senators and representatives, but neither they or the Congress, wields significant power. The President is elected but even he is not able to exercise power unless he is able to identify the people and institutions who do hold power. He has to know this in order to challenge them.

So who is powerful, who is it that supports and gives governments power? Power today is held by the Big Corporations; the Industrial Military complex (why do we have so many wars no one wants?); the Petro-Chemical industry (why do we continue to burn fuels that  destroy our environment? And use chemicals that make our planet increasingly toxic?); and the Pharmaceutical industry (why do we invest ever more into a health system that is actually making us sicker?).

Consider for a while. How do politicians get elected? They are funded by Big Corp! Why do they fund politicians? An act of philanthropy? No! The money ensures that politicians can be held to account, that they support the political, economic and industrial objectives of their paymasters. If you want change, don't ask a politician to deliver it! They are not allowed to embrace change, especially if it conflicts with the interests of Big Corp!

Trump has one great advantage. His campaign was not funded by Big Corp, except that he leads a big corporation himself, and his friends run others. He is part of the Establishment himself. Which is why he knows about the Establishment, but isn't likely to tell us!

Apologies to regular readers who were expecting to read a blog on health issues. But actually this IS about a health issue. If Trump is really going to challenge the Establishment, including the conventional medical establishment, is he really going to be able to do so? The answer is probably that we have to wait and watch.

  • Will he support Health Freedom against an industry that wants to force people to take their drugs and vaccines?
  • Will he allow an investigation into the exorbitant cost of conventional medicine, not least in the USA?
  • Will he be prepared to investigate the health outcomes of conventional medical treatment, and in particular, the devastating health consequences of a population that takes more pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines than any other?
  • Will he be able to broaden the health debate to include medical therapies that are a genuine alternative to conventional medicine? And a challenge to them as they are both cheaper and more effective.
  • Will he want to tackle the mainstream media who are so effective in stifling any kind of real health debate?
If he does he will set himself up against not just the powerful media outlets in the USA (key for his re-election in 2020?), but a Pharmaceutical industry that might choose to invest and provide jobs outside America, plus the huge conventional medical establishment, consisting of doctors, nurses, other health workers, and the vast infrastructure that supports them. He will also have to tackle an electoral system where extraordinarily silly amounts of money are spent, money in a quantity that  only the Big Corps can provide.

So let's not hold our breath! Trump is not going to tackle a medical system that is making us sick, or the giant conventional medical Establishment that supports it. Such a hope is unrealistic. Like other Establishments before it, death will be painful and slow. Their drugs and vaccines will continue to fail, and eventually they will not be able to hide the truth from us. People will become increasingly sick, and gradually more people will understand that their health has been compromised by the drugs and vaccines prescribed by doctors. Disease will thrive, epidemics will come and go, and gradually there will be a realisation that none of the treatments they have relied on have made much impact on them.

In the meantime, homeopaths, naturopaths, herbalists, et al., will ply their trade - making sick people well, curing patients with diseases conventional medicine believes to be 'incurable'. And their numbers will increase, just as confidence in doctors, and harmful drugs, declines. The Roman army no longer has power. The aristocracy no longer controls the land, or political power. And in 10, or 20 years time (however long it takes) historians will begin to wonder why conventional, drug-based medicine had such a hold over us, why so many people had to suffer from the ravages of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Hypertension. Conventional medicine comes up with another guise for giving us more pharmaceutical drugs!

If there is one significant difference between homeopathy and conventional medicine it is that homeopaths treats the individual, and doctors treat a condition, or illness, or disease. 

Take Hypertension (high blood pressure) as an example. I don't know how many patients came to see me when I was practicing because their doctor had told them their blood pressure was too high, and that this put them at risk of serious heart disease. My response was usually to ask them what symptoms they had of high blood pressure. Headaches? Fatigue? Confusion? Irregular heartbeat? Usually they had none of these, usually they felt quite well, but their doctor had told them that if their high blood pressure was left untreated it could lead to them having a stroke, or heart disease, or kidney failure. It was, they were told, a silent killer. Most patients are then scared to death, but those who came to see me did not want to take pharmaceutical drugs.

So how do doctors know this? Why do they feel justified in telling their patients that they are sick when the patients think they are well? Well, there have been randomised controlled trials (RCT's), and to conventional medicine, these are sacrosanct! And other RCT's have also told doctors that pharmaceutical drugs can lower blood pressure. Put them together, and the doctor knows best!

After all, conventional doctors have guidelines for the treatment of hypertension, and they are based on these RCT's. Hitherto, anything over 140/90 mmHg is a concern, and the patient needs to take drugs to lower their blood pressure, regardless of the fact they feel well, regardless of the fact that blood pressure readings are notoriously unreliable, and that they are likely to be higher when in the doctor's surgery!

However, the situation is now likely to get worse! NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) is in the process of updating its guidance. New targets are likely to be set. NICE experts are considering new evidence that lowering blood pressure to a new target level, nearer 120mmHg, is a good idea! Pulse article, 8th November 2016 "NICE to look at lowering blood pressure targets in guidance overhaul".

What this means is that lots more people, who feel perfectly well, will be given pharmaceutical drugs to reduce blood pressure. These drugs are known to have serious side effects, and disease inducing effects (DIE's). So, lots more patients on unnecessary treatments. Lots more patients who develop diseases caused by unnecessary pharmaceutical drugs. Lots more pressure on health services that result from 'well' people being made sick through prescription drug DIE's.

So how do doctors feel about 'medicine by numbers'? Most of them will go along with it. They have to, they are expected to. But many do not like it. When NICE tried to expand the number of patients take statin drugs recently the doctors resisted. And there are signs that doctors may do so again. These are some of the GP comments already made on the Pulse article.

               "The only people who win will be the pharmaceutical companies. For doctors it will be more work. For patients more expense, anxiety and side effects damage to them. Pharma will be rubbings their hands with glee!" 

               "Will there ever come a time when target is set and doesn't change (for change sake)."

               "For once I agree with the comments - more work for GPs when patients who are really ill struggle to see someone; more work for pharmacies supplying what may be unnecessary treatments; more cost to the NHS - although I am assuming there would have to be an overall cost saving to make it worth the effort; and last but by no means least, more expense & worry to patients. Oh, and lots more people living to a ripe old age to put MORE drain on the system. Does sometimes make me wonder what the final aim is? Let's all live forever! (Can't wait!)"

               "'So doc how many of these tablets should I be taking then?' 'Well according to the latest guidelines keep taking them until you fall over and then slightly reduce the dose that's the sweet spot right there'"

               "This surely takes us in the opposite direction to the person-centred approach recommended in the recent NICE Multimorbidity guidance?"

So some conventional doctors agree with me. They do know that this is a guise to sell more pharmaceutical drugs. They do know they are causing patients harm. They do know that conventional treatment is bringing the NHS to its knees, bankrupting it. So at least some doctors do take issue when they are asked to give pharmaceutical drugs to well people. Some doctors don't automatically assume that they know best. We need more of them, but they probably know that if they stick their heads too far above the parapet they risk having it chopped off. 

Please note that all the above comments came from 'anonymous', presumably it is not good for the career to be identified with dissent! 

The conventional medical establishment DOES know what is best for us, and they don't want to be challenged! They DO know when we are ill (even when we think we are well). They DO know when we are well (when we think we are sick) - medical testing can show there is nothing wrong with us.

Homeopathy. Placebo? Or lethal medical therapy?

Have you heard and seen the arguments about homeopathy? They have been going on now for over 220 years, and during the last two decades, as conventional medicine struggles, and homeopathy expands, they have been getting ever more strident.

  • Homeopathy is not effective because its remedies have no active ingredient.
  • Homeopathy works because of the placebo effect, that is, they get better because they believe that the remedies will make them better.
  • Homeopathy is quackery, because all patient receive is a sugar pill.
Yet now the USA drug regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently stated that one homeopathic treatment has caused 10 deaths! So some rethinking is necessary! How is it that sugar pills, remedies with no active ingredient, that work only through the placebo effect, have been found to kill people.

First, what did the FDA say? The FDA made a new release on 30th September 2016 entitled "FDA warns against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels". In this it warned consumers that homeopathic teething tabled and gels "may pose a risk to infant and children". The FDA had released an earlier statement 6 years earlier, on 23rd October 2010, which stated:

               "Hyland's Teething Tablets are manufactured to contain a small amount of belladonna, a substance that can cause serious harm at larger doses. For such a product, it is important that the amount of belladonna be carefully controlled. FDA laboratory analysis, however, has found that Hyland’s Teething Tablets contain inconsistent amounts of belladonna. In addition, the FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in children taking this product that are consistent with belladonna toxicity. The FDA has also received reports of children who consumed more tablets than recommended, because the containers do not have child resistant caps."

The mainstream news media took up the story, and it has been running there ever since. It has now crossed the Atlantic ocean. The Mail Online, for instance, published an article called "Panic over homeopathic teething tablets after TEN children are killed". So this story has become 'a panic', and not just ten children are killed but TEN!

Now, before going any further, the FDA regulates all issues regarding food and drugs in the USA, especially the approval and regulation of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. And a conservative estimate is that these pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines kill about 250,000 people in the USA every year. There seems to be some disparity here.
  • The FDA has recommended consumers to stop using these homeopathic products; but at the same time it is content to allow conventional doctors to prescribe and consumers to continue using pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, even though they are known to cause harm and death. Some of these pharmaceutical drugs, known to be dangerous particularly for children, are used for teething (as we will see below).
  • The FDA states that they have not evaluated or approved homeopathic teething agents or gels "for safety or efficacy", and that "they are not aware of any proven health benefits of the products". They have, of course, evaluated pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines for safety and efficacy, including many known to be harmful, and including those recommended for teething children (as we will see below).
  • The FDA said that they had been "analysing adverse events reported to the agency regarding homeopathic teething tablets and gels...since 2010" which, if they have caused 10 deaths and 400 cases of seizures and other reactions seems rather an long time. The FDA goes on to say that consumers "should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels". Again, if a homeopathic preparation is really causing these kinds of side effects, why did the FDA not act in 2010? Perhaps the answer is that the FDA is aware of the harm caused by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, although in their case, they are usually initially involved in denials, and taking action sometimes take them several decades!
  • The FDA also urged health care professionals and consumers to report adverse events. This is understandable. Adverse drug reactions should be routinely reported, but it is well known that as far as pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are concerned only about 10% (a very conserative estimate) are reported in the USA, and throughout the world.

So the response of the FDA to this homeopathic remedy seems to be rather more pro-active than their response to conventional drugs and vaccines. If the FDA, and other drug regulators, took similar action again pharmaceutical products that were thought to have caused 10 (TEN!) deaths, and caused the kind of side effects listed, how many of them would still be available to us? Few, if any!

Yet this is not the main issue. The question is, can something dismissed as 'placebo' actually do this?How is it possible for homeopathy to come under attack in this way when for the past 220 years it has been attacked for being ineffective? The answer is 'No' for anyone who has an interest in honesty. Our critics have been right. The substances used in homeopathy to produce remedies are highly diluted, to the point where chemistry tells us there is no active ingredient left. Yes, the Hyland product is made from Belladonna, which is highly poisonous. But the Belladonna has been diluted so much there is none left. So there is no possibility that the teething product would have caused death, or even the side effects mentioned.

If anyone is in doubt, read this article, in which homeopathy is dismissed as a "200 year scam" very much in the traditional fashion. It is written by a typical homeopathy denialist, using typical anti-homeopathy rhetoric. And when you have read how homeopathy is dismissed, consider how homeopathy remedies can cause these dangers they are now accused of!

So can homeopathy honestly be attacked from both sides? The answer is, of course, 'Yes'. What homeopathy faces is a large, grossly wealthy, invasively influential and hugely powerful medical establishment. Moreover, it is an establishment that is under severe pressure. There are many kinds of chronic disease that have been, and continue to increase in epidemic proportions. And the pharmaceutical industry has no answer, all its drugs and vaccines are failing, for three main reasons.
  • They do not work, and there is an increasing realisation amongst the general public, and with doctors, that they do not work.
  • They are causing serious side effects, disease and death, and their disease inducing properties are leading directly to increasing levels of ill health.
  • There are no new drugs coming through to replace those that have had to be withdrawn, or are known to be ineffective.
And whilst the conventional medical establishment is slowly beginning to realise that it is failing, that it has no answer to the spiralling health demands of a population that is becoming sicker and sicker, they witness homeopathy, and other traditional therapies, increasing in popularity.

The FDA is a part of this conventional medical establishment, as are all the national drug regulation agencies! They are staffed by pharmaceutical place-men. Their main concerns are the concerns of the pharmaceutical industry first and foremost. Patient health, and protection from dangerous drugs and vaccines are very much secondary considerations. So yes, the FDA can attack homeopathy in any way it wants. 

The problem has been that the placebo argument is not a strong one. It has to ignore the millions of sick people who have been successfully treated by homeopath throughout the world, all with their placebo sugar pills! It must be galling for them. They must feel entirely hopeless.

And yes, the mainstream media can also attack homeopathy from both sides, if they, too, are part of the conventional medical establishment. In order to survive financially the mainstream media need pharmaceutical advertising. So they are prepared to attack homeopathy in any way their paymasters tell them! So, the Mail Online can 'panic' about a homeopathic remedy that had 'allegedly' caused 10 deaths, but fail to report that pharmaceutical drugs that kill thousands.

So, the homeopathic profession requires two explanations. The first concerns how a placebo, a sugar pill could possibly have killed 10 (TEN) people. The second is to examine the conventional approach to teething, and to examine how safe and effective this approach is. After all, in the FDA news release a spokeswoman informed us that "teething can be managed without prescription or over-the-counter remedies"! To do so, I have had to look at the NHS Choices website for guidance. When my children were teething I recall receiving little or no help or support from conventional medicine, but fortunately I was just becoming aware of homeopathy at the time, and used the remedy Chamamilla, very successfully, and very safely!

NHS Choices first recommend teething rings. These "may ease their discomfort and distract them from any pain". Yes, many people use these, and they are just a little more useful than useless!

The next suggestion is teething gels. I remember using Bonjela, so I decided to see how safe this was. The patient information leaflet (PIL) says that it contains a painkiller, so immediately this raises concern, and sure enough there are several 'cautions' mentioned. 
  • "This is a medicine; Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have an underlying medical condition, are taking any other medication or complementary therapy, or if symptoms persist.
  • Seek advice before using if you are breast feeding, pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or suffer from allergies.
  • Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
  • Unsuitable for children under 2 months.
Then the PIL states that it can cause allergies, skin problems, fatigue, and that if these "became serious" to consult with your doctor.

The next suggestion made by NHS Choices is to give the child paracetamol and ibuprofen, contained in 'sugar free painkilling medicine' which contains "a small dose" of each. This brings the FDA's response to the homeopathic product into perspective.
  • Paracetamol (or acetamorphen) has become a major cause of liver failure, even if taken for just a few days, in small doses.
  • Paracetamol is known to cause over 100 deaths in the USA each year.
  • In 2007, the Lancet reported that the FDA were so concerned about paracetamol that it was considering restricting the drug's availability
  • Likewise, Ibuprofen is known to cause a wide variety of serious side effects. At the end of this process it is known to increase the risk of heart and circulation problems, and the longer it is used, the greater the risk of side effects become.
So the FDA is able to attack a homeopathic preparation because of the alleged side effects, and recommended that customers stop buying it. At the same time, conventional medicine continues to recommend painkilling drugs known to have the most serious side effects. It is double standards. It is powerful vested interests defending their trade. It is a medical profession that has little interest in patient safety.

Perhaps the last word on this subject should be left to Hylands, and its defence of its homeopathic teething products? It can be found by clicking here. It is a very cautious, measured response. So let me make a somewhat bolder statement!

Homeopathic remedies, even when based on poisonous and toxic substances, are entirely safe, because of the process of dilution through which they pass during manufacture. It is this process of dilution, which homeopaths call potentization, that makes all homeopathic remedies entirely safe for all patients, including young children.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Benzodiazepine Drugs and Prescription Drug Addiction

BBC's '5 Live Investigates' programme yesterday (23rd October 2016) looked at 'Prescription Drug Addiction', and focused on the addiction caused by Benzodiazepine drugs. Readers of this blog will know that I am critical of the BBC's reluctance to investigate conventional, drug  based medicine. So in one sense this was an unusual topic for them to highlight. The impression I got was that Adrian Goldberg, the presenter, thought that he was breaking new ground in investigating these drugs. The fact is, however, that he wasn't, it is a well-known story of a tragedy that goes back many decades.

Of course, Goldberg was breaking new ground for the BBC, which, alongside the rest of the mainstream media, has hitherto ignored the issue when it comes to investigating the harm caused to patients by pharmaceutical drugs, and the conventional medical system!

Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that work on the central nervous system. They have strong sedative, hypnotic, anticonvulsant and anxiolytic properties. They are used for a wide variety of medical conditions, including anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures, alcohol dependence and withdrawal. They are also used as muscle relaxants.

Benzodiazepines are a large drug class, with a long history of development. Some of these drugs are well-known brands, such as Librium, Valium (diazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam). Other names are Alprazolam, Chlordiazepoxide, Clonazepam, Clorazepage, Clobazame, Dalmane, Estazolam, Flurazepam,Halcion, Librax, Klonopin, Midazolam, Niravam, Onfi, Oxazepam, ProSom, Restoril, Serax, Temazepam, Tranxene, Triazolam, Versed, and Xanax.

As the programme says, correctly, Benzodiazepine drugs were introduced in the 1960's to replace Barbiturate drugs, which at the time were killing thousands of patients. As usual, they were described as 'Wonder Drugs' by the BBC and other mainstream news outlets! Indeed, the media proved to be excellent sales organisations for the pharmaceutical companies! Millions of prescriptions for the new 'happy pills' ensured that they became one of the most highly profitable drugs of all time. In 1978 it is estimated that 32 millions prescriptions were written for Benzodiazepines in the UK alone!

Yet, as with all pharmaceutical drugs, benzodiazepines were soon known to be dangerous. They become controlled substances as they had the potential for abuse and addiction. And an increasing number of patients began to report dreadful, long term side effects. Subsequently Benzodiazepine drugs have been described as "a 50-year plus horror story" for tens of thousands of people in the UK. And as far as the BBC and the mainstream media is concerned, it has been a scandal that has never been properly addressed.

The scandal first broke in the 1980's, after it was accepted that thousands of patients had become horribly addicted to drugs like Librium and Valium. The victims complained of serious side effects, such as blackouts, epileptic seizures, memory loss, brain damage, insomnia and personality change. What is worse, many people who suffered these Benzodiazepine side effects continued to do so, many years and often decades later!

So the BBC is to be congratulated that it has, at last, caught up!

The initial reaction of the pharmaceutical industry, and the conventional medical establishment, including the drug regulators, was typical. Denial. They did not to accept that benzodiazepine drugs created addiction or 'dependence'. It was only when Mind, the UK mental health charity, teamed up with the TV programme 'That's Life' to survey the experience of thousands of benzodiazepine users that the conventional medical establishment were finally forced to face up to the problems these drugs caused. Presumably the BBC must have forgotten they produced this programme!

Even so, during the 1980's Benzodiazepine prescriptions continued to reach between 25 and 29 million per year, and despite frequent attempts to reduce prescriptions from that time, they still stood at over 11 million in 2005.

Colin Downes-Grainger wrote a book called 'Prescription for Injury' in 2007). It is available for download here. For anyone who wants to read more about the Benzodiazepine scandel this is an excellent source of information. It was originally self published (Colin told me that no mainstream publisher would publish it). As someone who suffered from the drug, he said this.

               "..... there are still over a million prescriber addicts in the UK and thousands who are taking (or who once took) the drugs long-term, and as a result are living with ruined health which cannot be rebuilt. Many are living in poverty as a result of the effects of benzodiazepines. Whole lives have been lost and cannot be relived.  Families have disintegrated, never to reunite."

  • It was in 1988 that the Committee on the Safety of Medicines advised that Benzodiazepine drugs should not to be prescribed for more than four weeks. 
  • The in January 2004 the UK's Chief Medical Officer sent a letter to all doctors, reminding them that Benzodiazepines should only be prescribed for 2 to 4 weeks. This letter was sent because doctors had ignored the 1988 advice. The letter itself stated that many doctors were still prescribing Benzodiazepines on a long-term basis. So, a full 16 years after the initial advice ,there were still 12.7 million Benzodiazepine prescriptions, and 30% of these were for long term use.
  • Yesterday, the BBC programme claimed that there were still over 10 million prescriptions for Benzodiazepine drugs in 2015, and that 250,000 of these were for patients who had been on them for more than a few weeks! The situation had changed little in the 12 years since the 'That's Life' programme is 2004, and an incredible 28 years after the initial advice about 'short term only prescription, nothing much has changed!

Colin Downes-Grainger's book, written in 2007, further summarised the situation faced by Benzodiazepine sufferers, including himself, when he said:
              "The real severity of benzodiazepine damage has never been recognised officially. In the face of it the Department of Health maintains a belief that benzodiazepine addiction is not all that serious and withdrawal is relatively easy. In modern gov-speak the department does not recognise the experience related by affected patients or campaigners. The Department too believes that repeated utterance of statements such as 'we take the problem seriously' or 'our priority is to prevent addiction occurring in the first place' makes it true for actual and former patients and provides adequate support for those badly in need of it".

So the situation has changed little. The dangers of Benzodiazepine drugs has been raised this time by the British Medical Association (BMA). It has asked for a permanent, dedicated, 24-hour phone-line to provide help and support for sufferers of Benzodiazepines, and other addictive pharmaceutical drugs. And again, the response of the NHS has again been dismissive as it was in 2004. Such a phone-line already exists, they have said! So there is still denial, still a refusal to acknowledge that these pharmaceutical drugs are a serious problem to our health, that they have ruined the lives of millions of people, and that they are still being prescribed!

So does the BBC's investigation yesterday represent a significant advance in dealing with the problem of Benzodiazepine drugs? Hardly! It failed to ask critical questions.

  • If doctors were given specific prescription guidance for Benzodiazepines in 1988, and then again in 2004, why have these guidelines been ignored by doctors? The question was never asked by the BBC!
  • The BMA, the organisation calling for additional resources to help drug victims, is the organisation that represents the very doctors who are continuing to prescribe the drugs! Why was the BMA not taking action itself to ensure that their members were acting appropriately? The question was never asked by the BBC!
  • The BBC programme appeared to be tacitly supporting the BMA's request for additional resources - to set up a 24-hour support service, and to provide adequate support services at a local level. One person said "someone will have to put their hands in their pockets and pay for it"! Yet the crux of this problem is that BMA doctors continue to prescribe a drug that continues to be licensed and approved by the drug regulator. Would it not be a more appropriate for the BMA to stop the prescription of Benzodiazipines, to seek to ban the drug altogether, and to resolve the direct cause of the problem? The question was never asked by the BBC!
  • Similarly, how often are adverse drug (and vaccine) reactions the cause of additional demands on health spending? How often is sickness and disease caused by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines placing additional burdens on the NHS? Benzodiazepine drugs were introduced to replace Barbiturates which killed people. The introduction of SSRI antidepressant drugs was purportedly to replace Benzodiazepine drugs, yet SSRI drugs are now also associated with severe side effects, and their prescription should have been withdrawn entirely from children and adolescents. So we have three generations of drugs, all causing illness and disease, all placing additional pressures on the health care system! The BBC always refuses to look at this issue!
  • Why is it possible for any pharmaceutical drug or vaccine to pass through the (allegedly) long process of 'scientific' drug testing, then through the process of drug regulation, and then through decades of clinical use, without action being taken? And during the decades of clinical use, how effective has the 'yellow card' reporting system been, the system designed to ensure that these adverse reactions are reported to the drug regulator, who should then take action. The question was never asked by the BBC!
  • Arising from this, what is the position of the British drug regulator, the MHRA, specifically on Benzodiazepine drugs? How many yellow card have been submitted over the decades? If they do not know about the issues, why have the yellow cards not been submitted? If yellow cards have been submitted, and they know about the issues raised in the programme, what action have they taken to deal with the situation? And what action are they planning to take to investigate the situation? The question was never asked by the BBC!
  • The BBC informed itself by obtaining 'expert' advice from conventional doctors, that is, by asking members of the same profession that has been prescribing Benzodiazepine drugs on a long-term basis for decades! This is what the BBC always does in relation to health issues! It raises a difficult issue, and then allows the perpetrators, presented as 'experts', to defend themselves, and throw balm on the issue! The safety of conventional, drug based medicine, and the reliability of the 'expertise' of conventional medics, are never questioned by the BBC.
  • Although the BBC seemed concerned, at a surface level, about the plight of people whose lives had been devastated by these drugs, it did not look into what redress these people had. The programme did discover one woman who had spent a large sum of her own money to obtain compensation, but it failed to address the issue of what people, without such resources, could do. It also failed to address the fact that the government has provided drug companies with immunity against prosecution for many of its drugs and vaccines.
  • Nor did the BBC give any indication that there would be a follow up programme. Once again it is likely that the issue of Benzodiazepine drugs will be quietly dropped. Good programme, perhaps, raising an important issue. It filled the available airtime. But the issue will not be pursued! So it is likely that in another 12 years the BBC will discover again that Benzodiazepine drugs are being prescribed by the million, that people are still suffering from their dreadful side effects, and that support services remain inadequate!

The public is not well served by the BBC, which describes itself as a 'public broadcaster', but seems quite unable, or unwilling, or both, to adequately inform the public about health matters. Both it's health and science reporters appear to be proponents of conventional, drug based medicine, committed to pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, hailing them as 'wonder drugs' when introduced, and ignoring the harm they cause until it can no longer be ignored.

Yesterday's programme may go some way to inform people that Benzodiazepine drugs are dangerous. But it completely failed to investigate how, and why a medical system that dominates the NHS has completely failed to protect patients against harmful and dangerous drugs and vaccines.