View Full Version : Skyrocketing use of prescription drugs

01-07-2003, 02:32 PM
I just got the following article in a newsletter on herbal healing that I get every now and then. Scared the hell out of me. I noticed all the perscription drug commercials on TV when we got to the US. It seemed strange, but I had no idea they were doing this kind of damage. Have a read.


In this newsletter I have chosen to reprint an article, with
permission from the author, pertaining to children and drugs - a
subject which, as a father of two teenagers, is very close to my
heart. If children are our future, then we may be in trouble! Did we
learn anything from the 60\'s? If so, was it the WRONG lesson? Are
we bringing up our children in a way that will allow them to
experience a better quality of life? Read this excellent article and
decide for yourself:

The Pushers

\"Well, now if I were the president of this land you know, I\'d declare
total war on The Pusher man I\'d cut him if he stands, and I\'d shoot
him if he\'d run Yes I\'d kill him with my Bible and my razor and my
From the song \"The Pusher,\" lyrics and music by Hoyt Axton

A recent article released by the Associated Press (1) examined
the soaring use of prescription drugs among children. The article
was based in part on a study conducted by Medco Health
Solutions(2), a Franklin, New-Jersey based \"pharmacy benefits

The study\'s findings included:

\"Spending on prescription drugs rose 16.4% to $142 billion last
year\" (This does not include spending on over-the-counter drugs.);

\"Spending on prescription drugs for those under 19 grew 28 percent
last year\";

\"Spending on prescription drugs to treat heartburn and other
gastrointestinal disorders (in children) surged 660% over five years\";

\"About 7 percent of children have asthma and 25 percent have allergies, approximately double the incidence 25 years ago\";

\"Spending on antibiotics among children increased 42 percent\"; and

\"Spending on drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
increased 122 percent over the past four years.\"

Given these findings, I just have to ask some obvious questions:

If drugs are the solution for asthma and allergies, why has the incidence of these conditions doubled since MDs started using drugs to treat them?

Why has antibiotic use increased 42 percent during a time when MDs are supposed to be discouraging their misuse?

What is wrong with the public\'s concept of good nutrition that causes a 660 percent increase in heartburn and gastrointestinal drugs given to children over just five years? Are these drugs prescribed to counteract some of the milder adverse effects of drugs designed for adults that our children are taking?

Patients are now seeing advertisements for drugs, asking for the
advertised drugs and getting prescriptions for the advertised drugs. At what point does the interaction with the medical doctor become
irrelevant for those who believe that a drug is the solution to their health problem?

If drugs are really the solution, why do U.S. consumers need more of
them every year? Are we addicted?

Back when I was in high school, we were always warned to stay away
from the \"pushers.\" These were the people who sold drugs just off the school grounds. They preyed on people who had various social and
physical needs who could be convinced that the right drug could help

Today, we have corporate \"pushers.\"

The scenario is essentially the same. They convince people that a pill
can relieve their pain or change their lives. The corporate pushers aren\'t concerned about health. They just want you \"feeling better.\" No wonder we have a decades-old drug problem among young people - they learned by their parents\' example.

If a pill could solve their parents\' problems, surely it could solve their
problems. Parents need to think twice before trying to address their
children\'s health needs with a bottle of pills. Someone has to let them
know that true health doesn\'t come from a pill.

Please, for the sake of the millions of children already regularly
using prescription drugs, talk to your patients about their health
and the dangers of drugs.


1. Medication use soars among youths - Study: Prescription drug
use rising faster in kids than seniors.\" Associated Press

2. MedcoHealth Solutions, formerly Merck-Medco Managed Care,
describes itself as \"the top pharmacy benefits management
company in the U.S., serving 65 million members.\" The company,
a subsidiary ofMerck & Co., assists health plans in managing drug costs by negotiating rebates with pharmaceutical companies and processing claims.

This article first appeared in DC Magazine
By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h)
Editor/Publisher of DC Magazine
Reprinted by permission.

01-07-2003, 02:43 PM
This jumps out at me:
At what point does the interaction with the medical doctor become irrelevant for those who believe that a drug is the solution to their health problem?

Doctors just seem to be middle men for pharmaceutical salesmen. Insurance doesn\'t pay for them to have long consults with patients. They have to turn the patient load over quickly every day. It\'s easier to just write a prescription than deal with a problem. The only reason to go to a doctor anymore is to get a prescription. They don\'t ever know how to do anything else but write script. If you\'re at your wits end with a child having problems, and the doctor says here, give him this, what else are you going to do?

01-07-2003, 03:23 PM
FTR gotta agree here with u, the problem is going that way in australia too. It is by far easier to give a medical script and be done with it. To find a good doctor is rare and when you do make sure you go to him - you know the ones that look into a problem do some tests before just handing out a little bottle of pills just to push up patient turnover.

ADHD can be treated with proper diet and other techniques in quite a large % of cases although for parents who are time poor and dont want to or cant deal with it ritalin has become the medicine of choice for the ritalin generation.

The stats are quite alarming i wonder if there is a link with asthma and medications or is it just increases in pollution in western society or perhaps synthetic materials are to blame or is it that the medical profession are just giving more labels to previously undignosed illnesses.

01-07-2003, 05:02 PM
Hoo Boy, does this open up a bucket of worms. I may offer a couple of opinions later, if I\'m feeling brave -- because I sense this topic is very volatile and we may get some emotion-charged posts.

But in the mean time, I feel compelled to make some observations. I guess maybe I\'m playing devil\'s advocate in doing so, but I\'ll almost feel negligent if I don\'t point a few things out, and I\'ll provide examples:

..... Isolated statistics -- not given in context, or not considered in context -- result in false conclusions.

Consider: \"Spending on prescription drugs rose 16.4% to $142 billion last year\" I would guess the increase cited corresponds closely to the increase in overall prescription prices during the last year. There may not have been more prescriptions written last year -- just more expensive prescriptions.

Consider: \"Spending on prescription drugs for those under 19 grew 28 percent last year\" Maybe those prescriptions were for predominantly new drugs for which no generic is yet available. That may not be the case, but you don\'t know that isn\'t the case.

Consider: \"About 7 percent of children have asthma and 25 percent have allergies, approximately double the incidence 25 years ago\" Maybe asthma & allergies were previously severely underdiagnosed. That may not be the case but you have to consider that as a factor.

Consider: \"Spending on drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder increased 122 percent over the past four years.\" Two thoughts come to mind: 1. ADHD and ADD were previously underdiagnosed, and 2. There\'s lots of new drugs out for ADHD & ADD, and they\'re more expensive.

I saved this one for last because it\'s the perfect illustration of what can happen when isolated statistics are bandied about:


\"Spending on antibiotics among children increased 42 percent\" (emphasis added)

Bruce comments on this statistic with a question: \"Why has antibiotic use increased 42 percent.\" (emphasis added)


Note that the statistic doesn\'t SAY that use increased 42%, only spending increased 42%. Why, we don\'t know -- it could be because of many factors: plain price increases, and newer, more expensive drugs. And probably because more prescriptions for antibiotics were written for children -- but I\'d bet not even close to 42% more prescriptions.

Unfortunately, most people will conclude that 42% more prescriptions were written, as did Bruce. I\'m not picking on you, Bruce (and I think you know that). It\'s just that you have provided the perfect example of how statistics mislead people.

Statistics are complicated & dangerous, and if a person isn\'t trained to analyze them with a very critical mindset, s/he will make all kinds of erroneous conclusions, by assuming that some things are common-sense obvious, and that terms used are interchangeable.

Whenever someone is using statistics to persuade, convince, or \"educate\" others, you MUST ask yourself whether that person or organization has an agenda, and consider the statistics in context. Isolated statistics will give you the most one-sided arguments you will ever experience.

Mark Twain: There are three kinds of lies:

..... 1. Lies;
..... 2. Damned Lies; and
..... 3. Statistics!

DISCLAIMERS: Yes, I actually agree with the SPIRIT of the statistics and Bruce\'s comments. I think many drugs ARE overprescribed. I think some conditions ARE overdiagnosed. But it\'s the swing of the pendulum, in many instances -- some conditions have been *underdiagnosed* for a long time. Eventually, things will balance out and conditions will be diagnosed accurately and treated appropriately.

In the mean time, it really frosts me when someone throws isolated statistics at the public and provokes an emotional response when none may be warranted. The stats given would seem to indicate that the \"sky is falling\" with regard to drug manufacturer greed and medical care provider incompetence and/or indifference. And while I am sure there are misdiagnoses and inequities, I have absolutely no doubt the situation isn\'t as bad as those stats are slanted to make it look.

The stats certainly provoked the desired emotional response from Bruce, who then jumped to the wrong conclusion (as they hoped he would). And Bruce is a bright, thoughtful guy. So what I\'m trying to say is: be very critical and skeptical when someone\'s feeding you isolated statistics. When it\'s an emotional topic, anyone can be manipulated into making quick, incorrect conclusions that don\'t serve anyone\'s interest other than the provider of the statistics.

Be well everyone, and please read my disclaimer above before you flame me, okay? Please? /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif

01-07-2003, 05:41 PM
I can\'t imagine who would flame you for such a thoughtful, instructive post.

Statistics was the only course I made a C in -- and that was with a tutor and very hard work. It\'s over my head and I appreciate the insight of someone who\'s trained to critically examine such things.

Thanks for your careful read and thoughtful post.

01-07-2003, 07:23 PM
Hence fiddling with accounting statistics lead to the enron and worldcom corparate collaspes.
That is what fiancial statistics do to the US stockmarket every day. The prediction from myself is for the Dow Jones under 7000 points by this year because compared with the rest of the world it is way overvalued and the depreciation in the US dollar will balance its currency up with the rest of the world therefore having an upswing effect in PE ratios as most US corpartions are global operations and of course in the current volatile environment investors dont like growth stocks and so will knock the US market down. Compared to the aussie market where corparate governance is very strict we have PE ratios on average at 14 times earnings per share compared with the US which is 22-23 times.

Also it has gained since the mid 90s 500% valuation compared with australian and european 180-220% so in short if you own shares with a PE over 15 sell out now and put youre money into something safe until the end of the year. Ignore the experts advice because they are all bulls at heart. And need the market up to make money.
However you can invest in specific stocks with low PE ratios and or positive earnings results.

Now back to the drugs that is why the drug companies are doing so well, they have hiked up their charges to increase profits and cover quick fire R and D projects - so all in all its a combination of increasing prescription medication outputs and rising costs for new drugs.

Which are still targetted at mass markets ie Viagra and ADD and asthma and of course cancer drugs which affect the most people and therefore more revenues.

01-07-2003, 10:09 PM
I think you ought to flame yourself and save some brave soul the time and trouble. The point about the proper use of statistics is well taken. If you had just thrown that in at the bottom of the humanitarian position you promise us, all would be well. This isn\'t a debate about statistics. It is a life and death matter for quite a few folks reading this forum I would guess. I have gotten PMs from a least two. I myself have two children in the school system who at the moment are considered gifted. Next year I may have to face a third grade teacher reccommending drugs to keep their enthusiasm and curiosity in line. THAT is what the article is about. The question is not *exactly* how much the use of prescription drugs proven over and over to be dangerous is expanding. The question is *why* for God\'s sake is anyone taking them at all? *Why* is the school system virtually demanding that parents consent to druging their children to keep them glassy-eyed but well-pinned to their chairs?

So, flame yourself (briefly) for diverting attention from the issue please, and then let me hear what you have to say about drug abuse. If anyone flames you for defending health over corporate profits, I promise to jump in and help you.

01-08-2003, 02:46 AM
I am alarmed by the rise in ADHD. I didn\'t know that Ritalin had over and over again been proven dangerous. But as far as I know, Bruce, you\'re under no obligation to medicate your children. No one can force you to. On the bright side, maybe -- testing for ADHD often identifies slight deficiencies that account for the child\'s not being able to pay attention -- sometimes things as simple as hearing problems at certain frequencies, or auditory sequencing disorders -- and without the testing, you have a \"behavior\" problem that defies behavior modification techniques and causes the child not to be able to perform, which gets him picked on by his peers and suffering disapproval from his teachers, which maybe does as much damage as a course of Ritalin. I don\'t know, I\'m saying maybe. Ritalin doesn\'t make them glassy-eyed and pinned to their seats. It\'s speed, actually, not tranquilizer. It\'s not so much that it keeps them still -- it\'s that without it, some children, although very bright, can\'t focus long enough to receive instruction, or have the patience to wait until they\'re called upon, or sit still at all. They disrupt the class and end up getting a lot of negative attention from peers and from the teacher. Which eventually maybe does more damage than a course of Ritalin. A friend\'s child was diagnosed ADHD two years ago, and what they ended up doing with him was giving him Ritalin enough to be effective just while he was at school, rather than keep him on it 24/7. His performance did improve, as did his behavior, and his relationships with other kids. If your kids have been identified as gifted, are they going into an enriched program for gifted and talented? Do you have reason to believe they have ADHD? Most children don\'t. The rise is alarming, but, still, most children do not have ADHD. But even if yours did, what you do about it is your choice. Maybe also on the up side is that parents can have huge influence on the school system on behalf of their children. It\'s not as though you drop them off and then have no more control over what happens to them. I think I mentioned to you a couple of kids that I tested out as reading on a 3rd grade level in 10th grade, and recommended remedial reading classes. Their parents objected because they felt the kids would be stigmatized, and they never went to remedial classes, despite the test results. From my brief experience, the parents have the ultimate authority, for good or ill. So you have many options. You can ask that your child be transferred to another teacher\'s class, for starters. You or your wife can observe classes whenever you want to - not just the classes your kids are in, but any teachers\' classes. You can be a big presence in your children\'s school if need be and if you want to, and have a lot of control over their experience there.

01-08-2003, 09:26 AM
I appreciate your balenced reply. I wish I had more time to respond.
RE the direct connection between drug companies and patients: for the doctor, legal mantainable drug addiction represents a very tempting arrangement. They can only see so many patients in a day, but there is theoretically no limit on the number of patients they can keep on regular prescription meds. Every time the patient fills the prescription, a % of that money finds its way back into the doctors pocket. It is the famous \"passive income\" that businessmen hunger for.

RE the ADD drugs: I don\'t really know the details on side-effects, so I probably shouldn\'t have made the crack about \"glassy eyes\". It would probably be better aimed at what doctors are doing to inmates in mental institutions than educational institutions. Teaching is rough work. I did it full-time for 14 years in Japan and China. I know you had it a lot tougher than I could have even dreamed, so I won\'t preach about how it is \"supposed\" to be done. It sounds like you had zero cooperation from both parents and school admin types, so you didn\'t have much chance. I knocked myself out to connect with the kids and was mostly successful, but bottom line was... the school was voluntary. If a kid didn\'t want to be there, they just quit, end of problem. The public school doesn\'t work like that. It is half school half prison. The discovery of drugs that they could pass off as humane was a quick winner for everyone involved. The problem is that they are not \"good for you\" in the grand scheme of things. They create dependence and a false sense of how to solve problems that are basically educational. I just got two PMs from parents of kids diagnosed with ADD. One switched to a private school and mysteriously the problem disappeared. The other introduced some exercise and once again abracadabra she\'s an honor student.

Again, I wish I had time to write more. Million and one things to do.

Bruce \"Apple a day keeps the doctor away\" Boyd

01-08-2003, 10:04 AM
Just btw - I connected really well with the kids. I had a hard time with the system, and I couldn\'t live on the pay.

Bruce (or anyone who\'s up on this stuff), do you think that ADHD does not actually exist? The pm\'s you got would seem to indicate that, and I have also read articles to that effect. And what you\'re saying about medication being used for population control I\'m sure also has merit.

I\'m extremely skeptical about ADHD. I suspect it has more to do with kids being babysat by the television and never reading a book or even being expected to pay attention while a story is read to them. But I do know of kids who have been given Ritalin who really seemed to benefit. In which case, If there isn\'t any such disorder, then why would the medication help?

http://adhdnews.com/aug.htm (\"http://adhdnews.com/aug.htm\")

I thought this was good.

01-08-2003, 11:19 AM
Bruce, I understand your concern for your Children.

I myself have ADHD, even to this day at 26 years old. I was diagnosed in early elementary school with ADD, and later it was considered ADHD. My parents originally put me on ritalin, and after about 2 years they were very conerned with a dramatic shift in my attitude. I actually became very withdrawn. Yes I sat quietly and did quite well in school, (which as far as the school was conerned was good enough), but I was withdrawn from social aspects of class and friends.

From the suggestion of a school phsychologist, my parents got me into after-school sports. After a few short months my parents stopped giving me my full prescription of ritalin daily. My social attitude improved, and my ability to stay calm and focus in school was improved through after-school sports. Before I left elementary school, I was no longer taking ritalin.

By the time I made it to middle school, I was placed into all advanced classes, learning 1 or 2 grade levels above my own. Part of the problem with my ability to focus was discovered to be from boredom, what I could learn in 5 minutes took other students in my class an hour. By placing me at levels above my own, I was able to keep my attention and focus in class through the challenge provided by these advanced classes.

What this whole story is meant to reflect is that drugs may not always be the best alternative. Most schools, parents, and doctors are too quick to jump to giving drugs rather than devising a more chemically free way to deal with the issues at hand. I am rather thankful that my parents went against the original recommendations of the school and took me off my medication. After-school sports improved my physical abilities and allowed me to remain calm and focused in class where I would improve my mental ablities.

But as I said, I know I still portray tendancies of ADHD to this day, and I have learned to deal with it.

01-08-2003, 02:58 PM
Drugs just seem to be societies quick fix dont they, instead of investigating the cause we just shove our kids on drugs and hope that all will be well, without considering that the problem is very easily fixed in some cases by alternative and also by looking at other possible causes of what appears to be ADHD or ADD.

01-08-2003, 03:09 PM
Hi Bruce,

I appreciate your response and additional posts. And I hope you recall that I said you are a bright, thoughtful individual. I further hope it is obvious that I didn\'t challenge your opinions and beliefs. The only thing I took issue with was isolated statistics, and how they are used to provoke emotional responses and manipulate people. Misusing stats is a superb way to slant an issue and provide a one-sided / one-dimensional exaggerated argument designed to steer you to erroneous conclusions.

I had to use you as an example, because the topic originated with your post. You provided a very clear example of how stats are often misinterpreted, and that\'s all. It doesn\'t mean you have a character flaw; it just indicates that you\'re human (and perhaps not well-trained in stats, logic, analysis and critical thinking).

In fact, the way I see it, the strength of your emotions is an indication of the depth of your sincerity and concern. You obviously care deeply about the subject. And regardless of a person\'s opinion on any topic, I prefer their company to the company of someone who is indifferent.

*** I hope this removes any question about where I was \"coming from\" in my post. ***

Your response asked what I have to say about drug abuse, so let me repeat what I said in the first post: I actually agree with the spirit of the statistics and Bruce\'s comments. I think many drugs are over-prescribed. I think some conditions are over-diagnosed. Furthermore, illegal use of drugs isn\'t good.

What I wanted to accomplish by my post was to get you & others to consider the absence of context not provided with the statistics. Stats without context are at best meaningless, and at worst, harmful. The problem is this: When people have an existing belief, and they are presented with information that tends to confirm that belief, they won\'t give much thought to whether the information is really accurate in what it portrays. That\'s just human nature; it\'s not a character flaw. We all do it to a greater or lesser degree. So you have to be on guard when someone is trying to persuade, convince, or educate you with statistics -- especially if you already have strong opinions about the subject. If the stats support what you already believe, it\'s natural not to question them too closely.

Looking up, I see that you titled the thread: \"Skyrocketing *use* of prescription drugs\" But every stat you cited was about *spending* on prescription drugs. Are the two related? Heck yes, absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt! I\'d have to be an idiot to argue otherwise! But the two terms are not interchangeable. An increase in expense does not translate directly into an increase in use.

You requested I flame myself for diverting attention from the issue, but relevance of the statistics became inseparable from the issue, once you cited them to support your postion.


Let\'s take one example: \"Spending on drugs for ADHD increased 122% over the past four years.\" Suppose for a moment that the full context is as follows:

*****Spending on drugs for ADHD has increased 122% over the past four years. The actual number of prescriptions written has actually increased only 3% per year. The remaining 110% increase in dollars spent is a result of overall prescription drug price increases of 10% per year, and the fact that newer, more costly drugs, with fewer side effects and greater efficacy, are now being selected instead of Ritalin, for which inexpensive generics are available. The use of new ADHD drugs has contributed 70% toward the 122% increase in dollars spent on ADHD drugs over the past four years.*****


Would that make a difference to you? To see that there has not been an explosive increase in the use of ADHD drugs, only in the cost? I\'m betting it would. I\'m betting you would probably be at least a little less worried that some teacher is going to advocate use of drugs for your child.

You\'ve probably heard the phrase, \"Consider the Source,\" meaning that you should be skeptical of information given you by someone with an agenda, or an \"axe to grind.\" The article you pulled was from a \"newsletter on herbal healing.\" Wouldn\'t they be likely to provide only that information that supports their cause/position? I\'m all for herbal healing alternatives -- heck, definitely less expensive, fewer side effects, no need to see a doctor. Herbal healing is good and should be aggressively pursued. But don\'t you think that article was probably overly slanted and one-sided? That the most inflammatory statistics were used? That the stats given probably exaggerate and misrepresent the actual situation, because there\'s no context given?

I definitely think so. It doesn\'t mean herbal treatments aren\'t great and worthwhile and often superior and safer. I believe they are. But I also believe the newsletter and its advertisers need to make a living -- and it furthers their cause if they can discredit the prescription drug industry.

I\'m not choosing sides. If a similar article had been written by Merck or Roche, citing equally isolated statistics intended to discredit the herbal healing industry, you\'d be getting the exact same post material from me, warning about the abuse and misuse of statistics to manipulate people.

01-08-2003, 03:15 PM
Y\'know .... I just don\'t think that\'s true. The advances in drugs for mental disorders are astonishing. Since we can now look at what the brain is actually DOING, what areas are activating, and compare the patterns in healthy brains to not-healthy brains, we can make drugs that have very specifically targeted effects on only certain neurotransmitters, etc., which help people who otherwise could not have been helped. I feel it\'s unfair to demonize the people responsible for the creation and prescription of these drugs. I\'m sure in some cases they\'re prescribed in error. But that doesn\'t negate the fact that for many people who would formerly just have had to suffer, there is now help.

\"Natural\" remedies are great, but ... vitamins have chemical structures and are taken in pills, and we use them in amounts not normal to our diet, to the point that they become like using a drug ... St. John\'s Wort for depression - what is that doing, exactly? How does it work to lift depression. Is it acting on serotonin levels? It\'s altering mood -- how is that different from a pharmaceutical? Why is it better to take that instead of a carefully researched, painstakingly prepared prescription created to alleviate exactly and precisely the symptoms the person suffers?

Pharmaceuticals are one reason we\'re fortunate to live in this age. We\'ll live longer, healthier lives and our children will live longer and healthier lives than ever before in human history -- and it\'s not because we\'ve gone back to nature. It\'s because we\'re better able to help ourselves than we\'ve ever been before. And a lot of that has to do with drugs that work -- to kill diseases and correct disorders.

01-08-2003, 03:21 PM
All good points~

Good things can probably be said about nearly all approaches to healing, and that no single way is a panacea.

(At least that\'s what it says on my jar of leeches) /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif

01-08-2003, 03:32 PM
Good points yes the human body is complex and understanding it is even harder, behaviour drives our emotion and then this influences the psychical conditiion also.
Its going to take many more years of advancement to get to any proper understanding. However the research money that companies put in needs to be covered but it doesnt need to be wrung dry for excessive profits either. A balance needs to be found.

01-08-2003, 04:59 PM
No offense or anything, but I have never read such unadulterated BS in my entire life.
A. You didn\'t even read my post much less \"appreciate\" it.
B. All of the stats quoted in the article do NOT refer to spending
C. Your pledge to understanding my lack of \"training in logic\" does NOT lay to rest where you are \"coming from\" in the slightest. It is highly insulting and inflammatory.
D. You completely invented the \"3% increase..\" stat and pasted on the math, making it look like you researched the truth of the matter. Looks to me like you are the one manipulating statistics for personal ends, not the herb doctor.
E. The newsletter is clearly biased towards herbal healing but is not selling anything that I can see other than the concept of folks wrestling control of their health back from the drug industry.
F. You obviously are in fact \"choosing sides\" and it seems highly unlikely that you would take such offense to an article supporting the drug industry regardless of what liberty they took with statistics.
G. I still think that the use of stats in the original article warrants no more than a brief point of caution and that they accurately portray a dangerous legal drug abuse problem.


01-08-2003, 05:31 PM
A general question for anyone that is going to comment further on this.

Do you prefer to get a quick drug from a drug company or to take matters into youre own hands and do further research on youre own health problems and look at all possible alternatives.
It is a fact that pharmceutical companies aggressively promote their products at doctors offering free trips and all sorts of incentives to prescribe their drug over a competitor.

The situation in australia is less severe than the united states where our government heavily subsidies the cost of drugs for those people on lower incomes through the Pharmaceutical benefits scheme to have a low cost for a very big wide selection of drugs.

I prefer to look at all possible cause and effects of any medical condition that i may develop and look at all possible treatments i can find.

Ie i use Anone heavy products for an energy boost when i have the flu and also couplins to raise testostrone levels to boost the immune system. THis seems to have a minor effect. Although i recover quicker so i guess it aint so bad.

But valid comments bruce, FTR do you have any more comments on this thread.

01-08-2003, 05:49 PM
Yes. I think it\'s good to find a middle way. You should be an aggressively informed consumer of health care. If something\'s the matter, you should read everything you possibly can and go to the doctor armed with knowledge and some ideas of your own. It\'s not good to be passive in any arena that has to do with taking care of yourself. You should know as much as you can about what you\'re doing in any endeavor. But I don\'t see that the so-called natural way is definitively better. There is no substitute for traditional health care for some diseases, and ADHD is brain damage. In some cases, it can be helped with non-drug therapies. But while you\'re screwing around with this that and the other theory from the naturalists, the child is suffering real damage. In my opinion, it\'s better to use the medicine to get it under control quickly, and then use adjunctive therapies to reinforce the medicine, and then see if you can do without the medicine. People have huge misunderstandings about mental illnesses in general. Talk therapy will not help a schizophrenic, for example. Should he be plagued by auditory hallucinations and have to question constantly whether what he experiences as real IS real, when there are drugs that can help him almost immediately? one example -- there are many, many such examples. People think that psychotropic medications are just about making someone listless and manageable. That\'s not true anymore. Those medications do things more effectively than any health food store remedy or adjustment in diet can accomplish. With respect, I don\'t see that the drug companies are attempting to take over anything. I work with several of the largest drug companies and their patents. These are sincere people, too, whose inventions are the result of years and years of effort conducted to very high standards in an attempt to alleviate suffering. Would you rather have that pill, or the pill you buy from the health food store, with no regulation on its production and no guarantee of its effectiveness? For people in real trouble, whether it\'s mental or physical, I would think the choice would be the tried-and-true pharmaceutical. There ARE some things, many things, that good diet, clean living, plenty of sleep just will not cure. We\'re fortunate to have effective remedies. Better label a child an ADHD sufferer and medicate him than punish him for things he can\'t help, tell him if he\'d just try, he could do better, if he would just be responsible, he wouldn\'t fail so often, if he would do what he was told, he wouldn\'t have so many privileges taken away -- when he CAN\'T HELP IT. That\'s worse abuse than giving him medication, in my opinion. And while it\'s true that physicians don\'t spend enough time with their patients and are too quick to write script, on the other hand -- some things are obvious on the face of them and have a quick cure, so why not prescribe the appropriate medication and be done with it. I spent the afternoon researching ADHD and reading support websites for parents of ADHD children. It\'s a form of brain damage and it\'s suspected many of the causes occur in vitro; specifically mentioned was drug, alcohol, and tobacco use by the mother when pregnant. It\'s an organic disease that has been shown to be fairly easily helped or corrected through use of drugs designed to help the brain function in those certain parts where a PET scan shows it is not functioning as a normal brain would. There is no indication that medicating for ADHD causes future addictive behavior. In fact, the reverse is true. The social consequences of ADHD, constant failure experiences, problems making and keeping friends, etc., lead to a self destructive behaviors in adolescence. The so-called natural way has its propaganda ministers as much as the AMA approved way. Just because something is a prescription drug does not mean it was created solely for profit and for the purpose of making one addicted. And those capsules you take from the health food store are just as artificial as any drug you get from the pharacy. There are just as many fads and I would venture to say at least twice as much quackery in the realm of natural healing as there\'s ever been from AMA approved medical practioners. I guess it comes down to caveat emptor -- but use what works for you, without letting yourself be prejudiced by people with agendas either way, and ... I don\'t have a degree in medicine. While doctors may not know everything or be familiar with every alternative therapy available, they still know a hell of a lot more than I know, and they\'re not all charlatans out to addict people to prescriptions, and all prescriptions are not harmful nor inferior to \"natural\" remedies.

01-08-2003, 06:00 PM
Good points thanks FTR, does anyone else have any comments. Either drugs or natural treatments they are all compounds one way or another.

One thing is for sure, xtra research needs to be done into many medical conditions with one treatment quite often being used successfully for another condition and especially with ADD as it is a very serious disorder which deserves additional R and D money from the biomedical industry.

01-08-2003, 06:25 PM
Regarding the rise in prescriptions for heart burn and gastrointestinal upset - I\'m sure a lot of that is related to the epidemic of obesity in children, which is unfortunate and avoidable. HOWEVER. The more you have acid reflux, the greater your chances of damaging your esophagus. The muscle that holds back stomach acid in your esophagus gets progressively weaker until there is no barrier from stomach acid coming up in your throat, and the pain is searing. While you\'re getting the weight problem under control in the child, is he supposed to suffer with acid reflux, risk permanent damage to his esophagus, and deal with other gastrointestinal upset? ... how many over the counter health food store remedies will you try before you find one that works to keep him out of pain and from further harm -- rather than go to the doctor and get a prescription.Just an alternative point of view to alternative medicine.

01-08-2003, 06:39 PM
I personaly dont think theres very many doctors who really understand what the world there even treating, ADD runs in my family and my one daughter was told she has it and was put on Ritalin , yeah it help alittle but she always had bad side afects from it when commin down off it so i took her off it and she has been doing fine sure she can be a real pain sometimes but there are many ways of dealing with a ADD child to where you dont have to use drugs or vitamins, she now is in the health field and is a nurse and helping other people and is doing very well..Then theres the doctors who dont care at all what your problem is and give you scripts for nothing and what does that do make things alot worse..i lived with a guy for 17-18 years with very bad depression and what happens his doctor puts him on 6 diffrent meds and sure enough he got worse,, multipul personalities and he wanted to kill him self all the time, talking in his sleep super bad dreams and just not liveable with no more..took him off all his meds for few weeks and sure enough he got cheery was able to cope with life and was no longer haveing suiside tendencies, let alone he got along with us so much better.. but sure enough the doctor put him back on several other kinds antidepresents and voom right back to the awful person he was when on them befour..Ritalin now en days are not for helping kids they are for snorting to get high as sooooo many school kids are doing. Antidepresents are killing people not helping them, ADD medications are getting people high not helping them to control the problem..I had a doctor put me on 13 diffrent meds just because i have Fybromyalgia, few of them helped most just turned me into a person i didnt want to be and i sure hated taking all those pills and being doped up all the time..now i take 2 pills and deal with the rest of symtoms the best i know how. 6 doctors tell me my child has asthma, one good real doctor tells me no she dont she has Right Middle Lobe Sindrome, ok now we know the truth on that, then theres 4 doctors in a emergancy room who tell you over and over your kid only has the flu, go home stop commin in here full of lies about your childs symtoms and hey sure enough she almost dies due to the fact they didnt want to do there job and do a cat scan and a MRI just because there out to make a buck and miss diagnose for the heck of it or to rush people thru the ER..Bingo threaten to sue and wow ya get a real doc and bingo again a cat scan and MRI show wow my daughter has a brain tumor thats killing here and she should have been treated the first night she was seen...then theres the docs who say hey put her on Oxycotin just to see if it will make her awful symtoms go away, well hey wake up that medication is killin people..give it to my kid in super high doeses NO WAY!!!!! Make the prices of perscription drugs higher to see if that stops people from getting them so much NA!! dont work let alone most insurance companies wont pay for them anymore even if you do need them,, mine wont cover certian perscription drugs no more, let alone i sure wont pay over a hundred bucks out of my pocket for a meer 8 pills that could kill ya...

01-08-2003, 08:34 PM
*Mental Health problems are grossly untreated for school kids.

*Diagnosis by a mental health pro, not just a family doctor, is key for ADD.

*ADD is a brain disease in which the prefrontal cortex is underactive. You can give stimulants and watch the brain activity go to normal on a PET scan. They are invaluable.

*For milder ADD, Masqelier\'s OPC Blend, and l-tyrosine, and to a lesser extent EPA/DHA and b-vits, are the preferred supplements. But it\'s often not enough.

01-08-2003, 08:35 PM
Concerta avoids the \"coming down side effects\".

01-08-2003, 08:58 PM
DrSmellThis, what\'s your opinion about taking medications continually for such things as ADD? In other words, if you have ADD, and it is corrected by medication, what is there to be gained by going off the medication? Why not stay on it. Or if you have schizophrenia and see and hear things no one else sees and hears, and that is corrected by medication. Why stop taking the medication and return to being \"crazy.\"Is this not another fallacy about medicines used to correct disorders of the mind -- they\'re all addictive, they\'re all harmful long-term, better to get off them as soon as possible ... -- it would seem better to stay on them, if they\'re correcting the disorder. What\'s the advantage of discontinuing the medication?

01-08-2003, 11:11 PM

Yes, I see that 1 out of the 7 stats quoted did not refer to spending. My mistake.

The \"3% increase\" thing was an example, and I introduced it by saying, \"suppose for a moment that the full context is as follows\". That may not have made it perfectly clear, but when I asked you right afterward, \"WOULD\" it make a difference to you, instead of \"DOES\" it make a difference to you, I assumed you would realize it was a hypothetical.

I was afraid this would happen. You can choose to believe that I didn\'t read your post carefully, but I did. And in my posts I did not call into question your motives, or accuse you of being biased, or unreasonable. Or dishonest. Or manipulative. You ascribed some pretty unsavory qualities to me, which are neither true nor deserved.

I regret that you felt insulted by any of my post. That was not my intent. I thought I took great care to preface anything I was going to say that might be offensive.

I\'m sure anyone can see that you have deep, passionate feelings concerning the overuse of prescription drugs. And I know I\'m not the most adept person at validating someone\'s feelings, or acknowledging their concerns before I join a discussion. Someone more astute than myself (better at reading people) might have realized that maybe you just wanted to vent a little bit about the issue, and stayed out of it.

Instead, I waded in and proceeded to provide input that wasn\'t asked for. I thought (and still think) that I had something valuable to add. I just need to develop a better sense of when it\'s appropriate or constructive to volunteer my thoughts or observations. Someday I\'ll get better at detecting those times when people are really just expressing what frustrates or concerns them, and I\'ll refrain from responding with a post that is anything other than supportive, no matter how well-intentioned.

Fair enough?


01-09-2003, 12:07 AM
FTR its a matter of balancing the risks and advantages of staying on it, and then comparing this with the risks and advantages of going off say schizophrenia. If the medication suppresses symptoms so that the person with the condition can function as normal and with possible side effects vs staying off the medication and any disadvantages with having those symptoms coming back vs having no side effects.

It is individual to each case, but some very good points in this thread from all sides. I say it really is up to the individual to educate themselves with all available resources to whatever their medical case is and then consult the experts and make the decision for themselves.

One of the benefits of free choice and democratic societies.

01-09-2003, 06:07 AM
My oldest daughter who is now twenty was diagnosed with ADD when she was in third grade. Rather than immediately give her drugs, I went to several other GPs for their opinions.

One old chinese doctor scoffed at the whole idea of medicating for it and made these recomendations:
Daily exercise, enough to work up a good sweat for about an hour.
A cup of coffee or tea, if needed, to help focus before school or study.

In a few months her symptoms disapeared and she remained an honors student through high school with few problems. I have applied the same method to my other two daughters who are also doing as well in school and socially.

Medication is well and good for many ailments but we over-medicate, there\'s a pill for everything. In many cases, medication has done wonders, such as schizophrenia and depression. But drugging a child to keep them quiet in the classroom is not a solution.

01-09-2003, 08:21 AM
Fair enough.
I never felt you were accusing me of any of the things you just mentioned. What was driving me nuts was being portrayed as a moron. The implicit message was \"Bruce is a nice sweet guy, but let\'s face it, he\'s not a rocket scientist; easy prey for the likes of Dr. Herb\" That\'s why I flipped out like that, which I don\'t think I have ever done on the forum before. I\'m sorry, but that\'s mainly what happened in my mind. The drug abuse discussion I can live with, throw in my 2 cents (see below) and move on.

I do have some deep family tragedies involving perscription drugs. I made up my mind not to throw those around when the gloves came off, because in my mind, that is a pretty weak way to fight your battles, but in a nutshell: I don\'t trust doctors. I have a younger sister who is going through her 7th divorce (yes, I said \"7\"), and the only thing that I can see wrong with her is the collection of bottles in her medicine cabinet. I still remember her giving me samples when I was in college. \"Here, try one of these Valiums, they\'re great!\" I totally agreed. Now she\'s a wreck, but if you met her, you would think she is completely normal. I guess the goal was that she would be \"able to function in society\", and they sort of did that I guess.

When my kids were born, they had 3 great grand parents, all active, 2 grand parents and a boat load of healthy happy aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, cousins and on and on and they are all on my wife\'s side of the family. Everybody on my side of the family is either dead or disfunctional due to legal drugs and bad doctoring.

When we were expecting our first kid, I realized we were going to have to do business with a \"stinking doctor\", so we opened up the yellow pages and phoned... (get ready now) ALL of them in a city of one million. We set up interviews with those that would even allow that and discarded the rest. Day after day, week after week, we interviewed one doctor after the next. Some appointments we got to and the doctor wouldn\'t allow me in the room. \"OK, thank you very much, good bye\" next appointment. We actually became slowly dispondent, as one doctor after the next was unacceptable for some reason or other. When we finally met the doctor who delivered both our babies, I broke into tears right in his office. I couldn\'t control myself. I had to tell him what we had been through, and my wife was obviously in a rather advanced stage of pregnancy. Anyone finding themselves with a baby on the way in Japan MUST contact me. I can save you a LOT of heartaches.

Come to think of it, I don\'t trust professionals of any kind. Lawyers, doctors, you name it. You have to \"cherry pick \'em\" as an old friend once said. Interview, interview, interview, and then interview some more, and that goes for insurance agents and CPAs too. Like spouses and best friends, you don\'t find a good one overnight.


01-09-2003, 08:26 AM
**that goes for insurance agents and CPAs**

Pheromone providers, too! That\'s why we all do business here.

01-09-2003, 08:30 AM
It\'s amazing how when you wait to hear the entire story, the other person\'s reaction suddenly makes perfect sense.

I\'m so sorry for all your trouble.

01-09-2003, 08:43 AM
didnt really want to get into this one but maybe should share couble things that made me truely distrust doctors.
One was personal when i had a swollen prostate gland, the doc gave me a new drug that had been givie him by a drug comp to try..it damn near killed me.
second was when once i took my youngest son to a doc with a bad ear infection(running 103 temp) and the doc gave him anti-bodies to take, now i gave them to him several days as perscriped -during that time he was totally zombied out of his mind- but i gave them to him as told too. now where i got scared is when two weeks later i got same infection in my ear, considering i had like 6 of those anti\'s left i decided to take them over the next few days..oh man no wonder the poor little guy was zonked- they put me out like a light, now he weighed like 30 #\'s and i\'m 8 times that weight..if they did that to me..he was major overdosed. That scares me

01-09-2003, 08:47 AM
I thought in the USA doctors could get sued for everything (at least it is a lot more easier and \"profitable\" than in Europe). Isn\'t that a reason for doctors to be very careful with what they prescribe their patients??

Franki /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif

01-09-2003, 08:49 AM
It costs a FORTUNE to sue. I used to work for an attorney whose mother went to the doctor because she was having trouble breathing -- he was dismissive, told her it was bronichitis and sent her away. It was lung cancer and she suffered and died in six months. It\'s such a pain in the ass to sue a doctor that my ATTORNEY didn\'t even try, and she was working in insurance litigation at the time.

01-09-2003, 08:54 AM
I think this drives home the fact that you have to do what Bruce did. You have to get out and look for a competent professional. Don\'t just take one doctor\'s opinion on things, but shop around and get multiple opinions. I have doctor horror stories I could tell as well, and I\'ve kissed several frogs before I finally found a prince (or in my case she turned out to be a princess!)

01-09-2003, 09:05 AM
that gets expensive, not to mention todays health insurance comps don\'t allow you to do that and recieve repayment under your coverage. In fact the insurance company ( that covers the whole family)providing my ex\'s insurance INSISTS that you pick 1 doctor from a list of doctors they will cover and once you do..thats it, you go to another it is at your expence.

01-09-2003, 09:14 AM
Well, it\'s your health, and you have to determine what it\'s worth to you. Yes, it CAN be expensive, and I\'ve paid for a few extra doctors out of my pocket over the years. But, in the end I was glad that I did.

01-09-2003, 09:22 AM
Wolfe, usually they will let you change but you have to notify them that you are changing to a new Preferred Provider. You can go to another doctor on most plans, you just have to know how to work the plan. And most plans will pay for a second opinion. You sure this isn\'t true with your plan, too? Curious if you\'ve read the fine print.

(I know, I know, I\'m not your mumma....)

01-09-2003, 09:27 AM
not being married to the lady any more i\'m not covered at any rate . i provide my own \'insurance\' with cash ,IF and when i need it..last i went to a doc was 10 yrs ago when i had the prostate prob. (that was 1st time i\'d been to a Doctor in 25 yrs anyways)-Dentist not included of course ..believe some1 once said \'only the good die young\" --that being the case i\'ll live forever

01-09-2003, 10:55 PM
All-in-all, I\'m certain most forum members found our exchange to be quite revealing~

01-10-2003, 02:15 AM
Quite revealing but helpful and presents new points of view for others to go through.

01-11-2003, 04:36 AM
*some grow out of ADD to a significant degree.
*Many develop new habits, confidence, and self-esteem while on medication, and their brains respond to the new positive habits. This is a worthy goal.
*Some do stay on it; some change medications periodically.
*Some can find a minimum dose and change the rest with nutrition and lifestyle.
*Mental health problems can often be secondary to stressors and trauma. The brain can heal from these to a significant degree.
*sometimes MH problems are in the form of episodes that just don\'t last forever.
*sometimes counseling takes care of it.