Oct
30
2021

Acetaminophen Damages the Fetus

Many women take acetaminophen when pregnant, but acetaminophen damages the fetus. It is important to realize that acetaminophen is a common over-the-counter pain reliever. In addition, it is also often combined with codeine as headache pills. Acetaminophen goes under these brand names: Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext and Little Fevers Children’s Fever/Pain Reliever. The international name of acetaminophen is the name “paracetamol”.

An international group of 13 scientists are calling health care professionals to limit the use of acetaminophen in pregnant women. CNN reported about this under this link.

These scientists published an article in the medical journal Nature on the dangers of paracetamol use in pregnancy.  Specifically, they said that acetaminophen can alter fetal development, which includes reproductive, neurodevelopmental and urogenital disorders.

History of acetaminophen

The chemical name for acetaminophen is N-acetyl-p-aminophenol. Acetaminophen is simply a shortened version of that chemical name. It was introduced in the US in 1955 as Tylenol® and in the United Kingdom in 1956 under the brand name Panadol®. In particular, acetaminophen was recommended to control fevers and to help with pain control.

In the 1960’s the Swiss watch industry provided workers who complained of headaches freely with acetaminophen. With this in mind, within a few years studies showed that many of these women who took a lot of this medication developed kidney problems. This led to an increase of the creatinine level in the blood. The kidney damage from acetaminophen was dubbed “phenacetin kidneys”. Outside of the US acetaminophen has the name phenacetin. Many of these patients subsequently had to receive dialysis and later kidney transplants.

Acetaminophen toxicity

The recommended dose of acetaminophen is 650 mg to 1000 mg 4-6 times daily, not to exceed 4 grams/day. The therapeutic window for this drug is very narrow, because 7.5 grams per day to 10 grams per day are already toxic. For children the dose is 15 mg/kg every 6 hours to a maximum of 60 mg/kg per day.

The other known toxicity concerns liver function. This article about Tylenol toxicity explains this in more detail.

Many people do not know about the limit for the over-the-counter acetaminophen and take too much for a fever or a painful condition. Just because a drug is available over the counter does not mean that it is harmless. If you don’t watch for toxic levels, you could end up dead or find yourself waiting for a liver transplant.

New evidence that acetaminophen damages the fetus

91 scientists from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Israel, Scotland, the UK and US have signed a declaration. In it they ask pregnant women not to take acetaminophen “unless its use is medically indicated”. Among the reasons for the declaration is that acetaminophen certainly can cause neural tube defects and cardiovascular disorders in fetuses. Pediatrician Dr. Leonardo Trasande, director of environmental pediatrics at NYU Langone Health, did not partake in this research. He has done safety studies on acetaminophen and pointed out the similarity in chemical structure between acetaminophen and phthalates. Like phthalates acetaminophen disrupts the reproductive development in animals and humans.

Evidence for neurodevelopmental disruption

Dr. Shanna Swan, a professor of environmental medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York said: “There’s enough evidence to find increased risk of undescended testicles and a shortening of the anogenital distance, which is a predictive of later decreased sperm count and decreased fertility. We also see impaired ovarian function which has consequences for later fertility, although females have been less studied.”

The conditions that relate to acetaminophen toxicity were attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavior abnormalities and autism spectrum disorders. In addition, language delays, conduct disorders and decreased IQ were due to neurodevelopment disruption from acetaminophen toxicity.

Mechanism of action of acetaminophen and side effects

Acetaminophen has been on the market for over 60 years. But scientists still don’t know exactly how it acts in the body to help control pain and reduce fever. There is a consensus that acetaminophen acts on the central nervous system inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins. These biological compounds have a leading role in causing fever, pain and inflammation. But the scientific proof for this consensus is still outstanding.

Side effects

There are a multitude of side effects that can occur with the use of acetaminophen. Common side effects are hives, itching, swelling of the mouth and throat and tingling in the mouth or throat. Other side effects are swelling in the face or hands, breathing difficulties or chest tightness. Acetaminophen can cause a loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Severe stomach pain can be another symptom of acetaminophen side effects. As you can see from the above link there are many more known side effects of acetaminophen.

Acetaminophen Damages the Fetus

Acetaminophen Damages the Fetus

Conclusion

Acetaminophen (=paracetamol, phenacetin) is a popular over-the-counter fever and pain remedy. But a narrow therapeutic width can cause serious overdoses where both the liver and the kidneys suffer irreparable damage. When people unknowingly take too much acetaminophen, they enter into the toxic range. This can cause disability and death. Kidney damage from acetaminophen became known as “phenacetin kidneys” already in the 1960’s in female workers of the watch industry in Switzerland. They developed headaches from constantly working with magnifying glasses and had free access to acetaminophen provided by the employer. Later, in North America liver disease developed when patients overdosed with over-the-counter acetaminophen for fever and pain control.

Interruption of fetal development from exposure of the fetus to acetaminophen 

At the present time the focus is on newer findings of researchers. They noticed that exposure of pregnant women to acetaminophen damages the fetus. This results in undescended testicles and a shortening of the anogenital distance which is a predictive of later decreased sperm count and decreased fertility. These are findings for males. Findings in females are less studied at this point in time. Dr. Leonardo Trasande pointed out the similarity in chemical structure between acetaminophen and phthalates. Like phthalates acetaminophen disrupts the reproductive development in animals and humans. Patients should take acetaminophen only under supervision with doses that are safe. The old notion that acetaminophen would be safe in pregnancy is no longer true in light of the new medical findings. Any pregnant woman should discuss with her physician what she can safely take.

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May
15
2021

Research about Side Effects of the AstraZeneca Vaccine

Research about side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine revealed some worrisome facts. An article that appeared in the German “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” explained that people should not worry about the vaccine.

The heading of the article was:” People no longer have to be afraid of the AstraZeneca-Vaccine.” But subsequently it describes how vaccinating with the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 developed blood clots in some people. Researchers at the University of Greifswald examined 7 cases where following the vaccine blood clots developed.  Dr. Andreas Greinacher is Head of the department of Transfusion Medicine in Greifswald, Germany. He said that blood clots are extremely rare following vaccinations. The 7 people who did form clots in sinuses (big vein structures) of the brain had all antibodies against platelets. Normally platelets help with hemostasis for wounds, but when specific antibodies bind to platelets, they can cause blood clots.

Research about side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine identified blood clots as a problem

The Greifswald medical team said that they know how to treat this blood clot condition when it occurs. They are using blood clot dissolving medication like heparin and warfarin to dissolve the clots. But if this treatment is not instituted right away, the patient could get a stroke or pulmonary emboli, which is a life-threatening condition. Normal minor side effects of the vaccine occur on the first and second day after the vaccination. If blood clots appear in brain veins, symptoms of severe headaches develop on day 4 or 5 following the vaccination. Other patients might develop a painful leg due to a blood clot in the leg veins. If this should happen, the patient must present immediately at the emergency department of a hospital. Physicians will start anticoagulation therapy right away. The 7 patients who developed blood clots did so between day 5 and 14 following the AstraZeneca vaccination.

European decision to reinstate the AstraZeneca vaccine

The European Medical Agency stated that the benefits would outweigh the risks of the AstraZeneca vaccine. They recommended reinstatement of vaccinations with the vaccine. However, there remain problems with the vaccine. First, the effectiveness of the vaccine was initially determined to be 79%, but retesting showed it is only 76%. Next the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut that monitors complications of medical procedures in all of Germany determined 31 cases of blood clots. 9 patients died from them.

Interestingly, the EMA has reversed their opinion about the AstraZeneca vaccine on April 6, 2021 as can be seen from this press statement. Now they are saying that there is a clear association between the vaccine and rare blood clots in the brain.

In the US the CDC and FDA have not approved the AstraZeneca vaccine. The CDC also said that the Johnson-Johnson’s vaccine should be put on hold until a re-examination of the blood clot issue is clarified.

Discussion

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are pure RNA vaccines that are known to have very few complication rates. Researchers stated that only very few people develop clots in their brain or leg veins. They also stated that the majority of people benefit from the AstraZeneca vaccine. This is a simplification. There are other vaccines that doctors can use as alternatives that do not produce clots. It would be better to ask why there is clot formation with the AstraZeneca Vaccine!

The AstraZeneca vaccine contains a DNA adenovirus

The AstraZeneca vaccine contains remnants of a DNA virus, namely an adenovirus. Researchers added the gene for the coronavirus spike protein to the DNA adenovirus.

The DNA shell from the adenovirus helps to protect the vaccine at fridge temperatures, which increases the shelf life of the vaccine. But as with other DNA vaccines there are more complications possible. Researchers reviewed this  question already 10 years ago.

In the end we are still faced with RNA vaccines against Coved-19 that work, versus a DNA vaccine that has possible complications with blood clots. I for one would not accept anything else but an RNA vaccine that does not have the clot formation side effect. I feel that the authorities should stop the AstraZeneca vaccine for now. The researchers should carry out further studies to see whether improvements can make the vaccine safer.

Research about Side Effects of the AstraZeneca Vaccine

Research about Side Effects of the AstraZeneca Vaccine

Conclusion

The AstraZeneca vaccine contains a deactivated DNA adenovirus. Researchers added the gene for the coronavirus spike protein to the adenovirus. This is a completely different approach from the RNA vaccines that do not have these side effects. The fact that some patients developed blood clots is likely explainable on the grounds that they received a DNA vaccine. In my opinion the authorities released the AstraZeneca vaccine prematurely. They should put a hold on this vaccine until scientists can develop improvements to the vaccine. In the meantime, people should receive the safer RNA vaccines.

To continue vaccinating with AstraZeneca vaccine is unacceptable

I disagree that governments allow a vaccine that has serious complication rates for which doctors offer anticoagulation therapy. It is only a matter of time that a few deaths occur, because the blood clots escaped diagnosis. The company has now renamed the vaccine as Vaxzevria. This seems to be a move of AstraZeneca to move away from the complications of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This does nothing to help solve the problem with the blood clots that don’t only occur “in a few cases”. We are dealing with a serious side effect, and you should ask yourself the question, whether it is worth the risk.

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Apr
04
2020

Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill

Dr. Jolene Brighten gave a lecture about side effects of the birth control pill. This was at the 27th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine in Las Vegas from Dec. 13 to 15th, 2019. Her exact title was “Your Body on Birth Control- What Prescribers Should Know About the Effects of Birth Control on the Female Body”.

Most commonly the oral contraceptive pill is prescribed to prevent pregnancy. But the long-acting reversible contraceptives like the IUD and progestin implants are also popular. Depot Provera, the ring and the patch are the least popular ones.

Why women use the birth control pill

Women age 15 to 49 are often on some form of birth control method. 58% of women who use the birth control pill use it for reasons other than to prevent pregnancy. They use it to control symptoms of various conditions.

  • 31% use it for menstrual cramps
  • 28% want to regulate their periods
  • 14% hope to improve their acne
  • 4% use the pill for menstrual pains associated with endometriosis
  • 11% for other reasons

What the birth control pill does

The birth control pill exerts a negative influence on the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. This is called “functional hypothalamic amenorrhea”. The birth control pill is not suitable to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome. Symptoms of bleeding may improve for 3 months, but after that the original symptoms return. Thyroid disease that may be present needs separate investigations.

The hormones that are part of the birth control pill are synthetic hormones. They do not quite fit the body’s hormone receptors. For instance, the progestins, artificial analogues of progesterone behave like estrogens, not progesterone. This causes clotting problems cancers of the uterus, breasts and cervix. It can also cause heart attacks and strokes.

List of side effects of the birth control pill 

From depression to liver health

The list of side effects of the birth control pill (BCP) is long. The BCP can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. The deeper the depression is, the higher is the risk for suicide. There is increased risk of hair loss. The BCP depletes nutrients in the body that the thyroid gland needs to produce thyroid hormones. This can result in hypothyroidism.

It also increases thyroid binding globulin, a protein in the blood that binds thyroid hormones. As a result, there are fewer thyroid hormones available to the body cells. Breasts may become tender and enlarged after the start of the BCP. In some women with fibrocystic disease of the breasts the BCP may improve her cyclical breast changes. The BCP changes the liver both structurally and genetically. As a result, there is a higher risk of developing benign liver tumors and liver cancer.

From gallstones to blood clots

Women with a history of gallstones may experience faster gallstone formation on the BCP. The pill also can elevate your blood pressure. You should have blood pressure checks from time to time to prevent a stroke. Weight gain is common on the BCP. However, some women experience weight loss. Usually the BCP is 99% effective for the prevention of pregnancy. Pain from heavy periods or menstrual cramps are often relieved by the BCP. There is an increased risk to develop diabetes, because insulin resistance is gets worse in patients on the BCP. In postmenopausal women on HRT there is an even higher risk of developing diabetes. Blot clots are a common side effect of the BCP. Being a smoker, having a heart or liver condition, a history of genetic risk of blood clots, having migraines with an aura or being overweight are all additional risk factors for developing blood clots.

From effects on the brain to cancer risks

The BCP can change brain function and structure. This may lead to a different mate selection and production of neurotoxins. Some women get relief from hormonal headaches; but others experience exacerbations of migraines and headaches. In some women acne improves on the BCP; in others acne gets worse. When it comes to stress, some women experience an altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal gland response from the BCP. The BCP reduces some cancer risks, like the risk of ovarian, uterine and colorectal cancer. But the risk for breast cancer, brain cancer and liver cancer are higher. The BCP increases gut permeability, leads to leaky gut syndrome and the disruption of the microbiome. There is often overgrowth of yeast in the gut. In addition, people with a genetic predisposition for autoimmune disease of the gut can develop immune diseases. Multiple studies have shown malabsorption of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants when on the BCP.

From vaginal yeast infections to osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases

Many women develop vaginal yeast infections. Women on the BCP often complain about low or a lack of libido. There can be vaginal dryness and pain with sex.

Teenage women on the BCP often develop decreased bone density. Synthetic hormones lack the specificity to the natural hormone receptors, which leads to decreased bone density. On the other hand, bioidentical estrogen and bioidentical progesterone will indeed build up bone mass. In the past it was thought that hormones would be good for the bones and this is still true with the use of bioidentical hormones.

A number of autoimmune diseases have been identified to be directly related to the use of the BCP. These are Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, interstitial cystitis and ulcerative colitis.

Synthetic hormones will always have side effects

The body is a complex organism with various hormone receptors built into its cells. In order to be able to cash in on patented modified hormones Big Pharma introduced progestins to replace natural progesterone and various synthetic estrogen products to replace natural estradiol. However, the Women’s Health Initiative has shown  in 2002  that these artificial hormones produced heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, colorectal and endometrial cancer and hip fractures. There was an increase of mortality of 15% over 5.2 years compared to controls who did not take artificial hormones within the same timeframe.

Bioidentical hormones have a perfect fit to the natural hormone receptors

In contrast, when bioidentical hormones are given in menopause, there is a 10 to 15 year extension of life expectancy and researchers did not see any of the above mentioned side effects that were noted with synthetic hormones. Many people in Europe have elected to stick to bioidentical hormones for decades; they did not use the synthetic hormones. As a result, there are good data going back to the 1960’s about the safety of bioidentical hormones. In this study several thousand postmenopausal women were followed for 9 years or more and showed no increase in the rate of heart attacks or any cancer. Their postmenopausal symptoms were optimally controlled. I conclude from this that bioidentical hormone replacement in menopause will protect the women from missing hormones safely. There are no side effects and for this reason the bioidentical hormone replacement should become the standard of care.

Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill

Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill

Conclusion

Synthetic hormones have a long list of devastating side effects. Yet, Big Pharma managed to influence general practitioners and gynecologist to prescribe them to postmenopausal women. The Women’s Health Initiative has changed everything. The promise was that synthetic hormones would show heart-protective effects, cancer protective effects and healing effects for osteoporosis. These have been empty promises! None of this occurred with synthetic hormones- to the contrary! Many physicians are now prescribing bioidentical hormone replacement for women in menopause.

No good alternative for teenage girls

However, for teenage girls there is no good alternative for the traditional birth control pill, even though the catalogue of side effects is of serious concern. One compromise is to limit prescribing the birth control pill for up to 5 years only and then switch to several years of a copper T or other intrauterine device (IUD). Suicide in teenage girls on the BCP is of real concern. Despite the list of side effects many doctors continue to prescribe synthetic hormones for decades to the same patients, who trust that it will benefit them. In time patients will know about the side effects, and unfortunately many will experience them. As a result, it is only a matter of time, till this will be exposed as malpractice!

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Oct
12
2013

Music More Powerful Than Anti-Anxiety Drugs

When was the last time you saw your physicians for anxiety and you were given a prescription that said: “for anxiety listen to your favorite music!” instead of receiving a prescription for an anti-anxiety drug (anxiolytic). This is exactly what a recent study suggests that showed prior to surgery you can control your anxiety either with anti-anxiety drugs or by listening to your favorite music. Listening to your favorite music will do you no harm, while many drugs do have harmful side effects.

How singing can change the brain chemistry

Other studies have investigated how singing can change your brain functioning in terms of brain chemistry. The researchers found that singing will release dopamine in your brain, which is responsible for feeling pleasure; it will stimulate your immune system by elevating immunoglobulin A and decreasing cortisol (the stress hormone). This in turn will preserve your immune cells (lymphocytes). Oxytocin levels of your brain are increased, which promotes social affiliation. It also calms down the autonomic nervous system resulting in a better airway opening, calming of your heart rate and soothing the wave-like muscle contractions in your gut, medically called peristalsis. You would refer to that as “butterflies in your stomach”. Music therapy reduces pain and anxiety by 50% and is important for children and adults alike.

Pain and anxiety reduced

A study in Germany showed that pain and anxiety were significantly reduced with music therapy. A Taiwanese study of women in labor found that music therapy significantly reduced pain and anxiety of women during labor. Ref. 1 explains that music therapy is useful as an adjunct to treating cancer pain, and reducing anxiety associated with colposcopy procedures. It also can help when treating patients who had heart attacks in the setting of a cardiac care unit.

Music More Powerful Than Anti-Anxiety Drugs

Music More Powerful Than Anti-Anxiety Drugs

Hypnosis and guided imagery

Music has been successfully combined with clinical hypnosis and guided imagery where words are carefully chosen to help the patient experience pleasant feelings, which counteract the experience of pain, anxiety or fear of dying. A simple relaxation CD or tape with soothing background music will facilitate this type of therapy. This is useful for patients in a palliative care unit where they prepare themselves to accepting the inevitable death from an incurable disease. But chemotherapy patients undergoing these procedures for cancer treatments also have benefitted from a significant reduction in nausea, vomiting (side effects of chemotherapy) and pain.

Autism and music therapy

A Cochrane study showed that autistic children did better in terms of communication skills when music therapy was incorporated into the treatment protocol. One of the core deficits in autistic children is in the area of communication and social skills. This is where music therapy was most effective. Behavioral problems (stereotypic behavior) in autistic children did not respond to music therapy. A comprehensive treatment program for autistic children should therefore incorporate music therapy. Here is a blog that describes what difference music therapy can make in the lives of autistic children written by a member of the American Music Therapy Association.

Substance abuse and music therapy

An area where you may not expect music therapy to have a role is in the area of drug and substance abuse rehabilitation , which is discussed in more detail in this site. The beauty about music therapy is that it is not a drug, yet the natural endorphins that are released by the brain help the affected person getting through withdrawal easier. Music therapy helps building up self-esteem, participating in group activities, promoting self awareness and expressing feelings.

Mood disorders in adolescents

One important area where music therapy has been employed is with anxiety and depression in adolescents. Adolescents spend an average of 4 hours per day listening to music. So they are already programmed to listen to music. With the help of a music therapist they can be directed to listening to the type of music that will help them get motivated, relax more, make them feel accepted and be part of their peer groups. In this study the authors suggested to combine music therapy with dance and art therapy. In this way the whole person gets involved in the treatment and this can be integrated with conventional antidepressant treatments at reduced doses (with less side-effects) or with cognitive therapy.

General objectives of music therapy

Music therapy is best incorporated into a treatment protocol as an adjunct. It can help reduce the use of drugs for psychiatric patients, for people with anxiety and for patients with pain conditions. The Cleveland clinic has a useful summary about music therapy, which describes the uses of it for reducing anxiety, for helping with coping skills, mood improvement and distraction from pain. There are registered music therapists you can ask for help. The website of the American Music Therapy Association may have other useful links for you.

Conclusion

Music therapy is a treatment modality with no side effects, but providing effective treatment for quite an impressive range of clinical conditions as discussed. Music therapists are widely available in the US and many other countries. This treatment can be integrated with conventional or complementary treatments. It helps people to heal the body as a whole unit (mind and body).

More information on anxiety disorders: http://nethealthbook.com/mental-illness-mental-disorders/anxiety-disorders-panic-disorders-phobias-ocd-ptsd-anxiety-others/

References

1. Rakel: Integrative Medicine, 3rd ed.© 2012 Saunders. Chapter on Integrative Therapy; subchapter of Mind-Body Therapy.

Last edited Nov. 7, 2014

Aug
01
2007

New Cure For Drug Resistant Bacteria At The Horizon

Drug resistant bacteria (like MRSA, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have developed in many hospitals and have caused more than 2 million infections in the US alone of which 90,000 people died. Yet so far research regarding this problem has been very slow and unsuccessful. In Canada there was an outbreak of E.coli, which left 14 people severely ill and simultaneously there was a similar outbreak in the US leaving three people dead.

Dr. Redinbo, PhD in biochemistry and biophysics, from the University of North Carolinaat Chapel Hill made an astounding discovery in his lab. He tested some of the older medications used for osteoporosis treatment, the biphosphonates clodronate and etidronate, to see whether they would have an effect on stopping the multiplication of these harmful bacteria. Dr. Redinbo’s work was published in the July 13 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Redinbo’s team found that an enzyme, called relaxase, is at the center of the development of antibiotic resistance. When resistance develops, there is a genetic transformation that takes place, like a mini Darwinian selection process where the most resistant bacteria survive and multiply. The resistant bacteria mate with each other and with bacteria that are not yet resistant. This process involves the relaxase enzyme system, some DNA stranding and a strand exchange. In this way new resistant bacteria are formed. Experiments under the supervision of Dr. Redinbo found that this process can be stopped by the phosphate-rich compound, biphosphonates (clodronate and etidronate). Other chemicals were found to not be as effective.

New Cure For Drug Resistant Bacteria At The Horizon

New Cure For Drug Resistant Bacteria At The Horizon

The relaxase system is found in a number of problem bacterial strains, Staphylococcus strains, drug resistant Acinetobacter strains and others. Unfortunately the biphosphonates have some side-effects like stomach soreness and birth defects. The researcher said that he hopes that these drugs and perhaps others with less side-effect will offer new treatments for antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Reference: July 13, 2007 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Last edited December 5, 2012

Apr
01
2007

Nitroglycerin Patch Helps Premature Babies

Nitroglycerine has been a tried and tested drug for patients who suffer from angina, but the chemical has other benefits: the drug can retard labor and delivery, if a woman is having premature labor. This result comes from research at Queen’s University Perinatal Research Unit at Kingston General Hospital, Canada. Other tocolytics, which is the term for labor delaying drugs, are also on the market showing comparable results, but the nitro patch had an advantage, as it significantly reduced morbidity during the neonatal period.

The researchers worked with 158 women who went into premature labor between 24 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. In a randomized trial they either received a transdermal patch of nitroglycerine or placebo. If contractions continued an hour after the patch was put on the skin, another one was added. The following day treatment was repeated. Delivery was delayed 10 days for all, and a very significant 23 days for those in labor before 28 weeks. Any prolongation of pregnancy closer to a term delivery is helpful, but the greatest significance applies to those, where labor starts before 28 weeks. This is the group of babies that are most at risk, says lead author Dr. Graeme Smith of Kingston General.

There may be two reasons for the overall benefits of nitroglycerin treatment. On the one hand nitroglycerine protects pregnancy in the most vulnerable group, where the mothers enter labor before 28 weeks. The other aspect may be that the nitro patch may be having effects beyond the labor-delaying properties such as better blood flow in the placenta, as there is enough of the medication that reaches the placenta.

Nitroglycerin Patch Helps Premature Babies

Nitroglycerin Patch Helps Premature Babies

Dr. Smith reports that at this point there is no “gold standard” tocolytic in Canada. Tocolytics have shown little improvement and frequent side effects. Compared to other tocolytic medications the main side effect of the nitro patch has been a mild headache. In most cases it was not necessary to remove the patch. It is estimated that nitroglycerin is now used in about a third of Canadian centers.

Reference: National Review Of Medicine, February 28, 2007, page 5

Last edited December 5, 2012

Mar
01
2007

Pancreatitis Can Occur With Statin Use

Drug safety is a concern in the administration of prescription medications and non- prescriptions and any new drug that hits the market has undergone a rigorous screening procedure before its release. Side effects still can occur, and all of the possible ones have to be listed. For physicians it always remains a matter of careful judgement, whether the benefits of a prescription outweigh the disadvantages of any side effects. It is also a concern for the patient to be fully informed. Despite all precautions there are still surprises: some drugs have been taken of the shelves, because the side effects showed up after some time and the risk for the patients were too much. There may be the sense of false security about a prescription drug that has been on the market for a long time that all is known about possible side effects, but researchers and physicians remain alert to the fact that there may be adverse drug reactions that have not been observed.Statins, which are used for lowering high cholesterol levels, have been researched in a review of case reports and observational studies led by Dr.Sonal Singh of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. The authors reported in the December issue of Drug Safety that there have been numerous case reports in which statins have been implicated in acute pancreatitis. It appears to be a genuine adverse reaction, but it remains rare. The researchers estimate that there would be one case of acute pancreatitis in 300,000 patients treated with statins for a year.

Pancreatitis Can Occur With Statin Use

Pancreatitis Can Occur With Statin Use

The review suggested that pancreatitis can occur in high and low statin doses, but it is more likely to happen after many months of therapy. Due to the low incidence and mild severity in the majority of cases, statin therapy is still considered safe.
The first line of defense in the treatment of high cholesterol remains a proper diet and an active lifestyle. Statins are needed for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia and those where diet and lifestyle choices have not been successful enough.

More information about:

1. Statins: https://www.askdrray.com/statins-can-hurt-the-consumer/

2. Pancreatitis: http://nethealthbook.com/digestive-system-and-gastrointestinal-disorders/pancreatitis/acute-pancreatitis/

Reference: The Medical Post, February 2, 2007, page 2

Last edited November 2, 2014

Aug
01
2006

Non-Hormone Alternative Against Hot Flashes

Hormone replacement therapy has its positive and negative effects, and the proven risk of breast cancer has stopped many women from choosing hormone replacement for menopausal problems. Yet menopausal problems can be a source of suffering and frustration for those women who are affected. Menopausal hot flashes can be bothersome, and if they are severe, frequent and go on for years, women find it difficult to cope with this condition. Even if hormone replacement is not an option because of the risk factors, relief of those symptoms is very much needed. Herbal remedies are often not sufficient. As a result the day to day functioning of the patient is affected and even a restful night is interrupted by sweating.
Dr. Sireesha Reddy from the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester’s school of medicine and dentistry has led a study of 60 postmenopausal women. A medication called gabapentin was used in a randomized study. Three equal groups were observed: the first received gabapentin titrated to 2,400 mg per day. The second group received 0.625 mg per day of estrogen, and the third group was given a placebo. The gabapentin group and the estrogen group achieved similar results, namely a 71% reduction, versus 72% in the estrogen group. The placebo group reported a 54 % reduction of hot flashes.
Dr. Reddy states that gabapentin against hot flashes is a good alternative. It works for patients who only have these particular problems, as it does not address other indications where estrogen is prescribed.

Non-Hormone Alternative Against Hot Flashes

Non-Hormone Alternative Against Hot Flashes

Dr. Reddy also added that it might not be necessary to titrate to 2,400 mg gabapentin per day, because some women metabolize it at a higher rate than others.
Specific side effects such as headaches and dizziness occurred more frequently in the gabapentin group, but they were not statistically significant.

Reference: The Medical Post, July 18, 2006, page 4

Comment on Nov. 13, 2012: This is an example of symptomatic therapy for one symptom, in this case hot flashes, but the trade-off are side effects like headaches and dizziness, which were discussed away because they were “statistically not significant”. Women in menopause have a lack of estrogen and progesterone, which is sensed by the receptors for both of these hormones throughout the woman’s body. The solution is bio-identical hormone replacement with specific hormone measurements as discussed under this link.

Last edited December 6, 2012