Anti-inflammatory Drug Warnings
Anti-inflammatory pain relieving drugs – NSAIDs or non steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs were invented recently. First came ibuprofen and then others and non-prescription versions. What’s been the outcome? Are there alternatives?
First, inflammation is commonly due to poor food intake, lifestyle issues and/or complex but treatable metabolic problems (arachadonic acid, COX-2). Changing your lifestyle often reduces inflammation over time. Second, pain is a signal something is wrong. If you have chronic pain or headaches, you should work with a practitioner who diagnoses and manages the causes. We see people with overlapping headaches taking NSAIDs daily. They often have hypoglycemia headaches, serotonin headaches, migraine headaches, food allergy headaches, sinusitis (especially fungal) headaches, environmental toxin or allergy headaches, etc. Treatments are used to relieve the pain, but addressing overlapping causes is a better solution.
So what are side effects of America’s 30 year NSAID binge? NSAIDs contribute to acid reflux, GERD, ulcers and other digestive problems. Suppression with acid drugs may not relieve symptoms, may cause liver or kidney dysfunction or other problems. There are alternative solutions to acid problems and liver or kidney support may be necessary.
A big shocker is that NSAIDs can contribute to heart disease. I see the pattern with fatigue, high or low blood pressure, fluid retention or heart failure symptoms in patients. Heart failure means treatable heart valve, chamber or pumping problems. Next, documents were obtained from internal medicine at Group Health, imploring their practitioners to minimize NSAID prescriptions because patients on NSAIDs were at risk for developing heart failure, harder to treat and were hospitalized more. Most medical providers do not know NSAID alternatives exist.
We have a letter from the medical director of Pfizer, stating how all NSAIDs (not just Vioxx) may contribute to heart disease. Conventional medicine now knows that arthritis and heart disease overlap. Why? Because the same things (changeable lifestyle issues) that cause degenerative joint disease cause degenerative heart diseases. The public is not being warned that drugs used to treat arthritis may also be causing or contributing to heart disease and that alternative heart treatments exist to avoid or compliment heart drugs.
Medical seminars now flatly state that all NSAIDs may cause or contribute to heart disease and that taking NSAIDs with aspirin both increases the risk for acid reflux and the two together negate any heart protection of aspirin! The solution proposed in one seminar? Keep the patient on NSAIDs or aspirin for pain relief, add acid suppression drugs, then add heart drugs if needed. They also showed data that some acid suppression drugs increase the risk for pneumonia and C difficile (an infection) – both areas of growing concern and drug resistance- and acid suppression drugs increase hip fractures – another profitable drug problem typically solved with alternatives.
We offer alternatives, such as lifestyle changes and supplements that have anti-inflammatory and acid relieving properties. We change drugs if needed and recommend early and thorough heart testing to diagnose and manage heart disease and other NSAID side effects.
David Overton, PA-C works at Natural Medicines & Family Practice combining conventional and alternative medicines under the supervision of Richard Faiola, MD, ABFM. 360-357-8054.