Jul 09, 2017 Chris Foley

The new opiate…but it’s not a controlled substance…

The substance above is commonly used to treat “nerve pain” but is also prescribed and used for just about every kind of pain — muscle, joint, headaches, you name it — is the new “companion” drug for opiate users to gain a better “high”.  Gabapentin, aka, Neurontin, is the de rigueur new designer drug to go into your opiate sandwich.  In fact adding some gabapentin — or it’s much advertised cousin, Lyrica — to the treatment mix is frequently the quickest way to end a visit with a chronic pain sufferer whose diagnosis continues to be frustratingly ambiguous.  Hmm.

 

Last December, Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy began reporting sales of gabapentin prescriptions in its regular monitoring of controlled substances. The drug, which is neither an opioid nor designated a controlled substance by federal authorities, is used to treat nerve pain. But the board found that it was the most prescribed medication on its list that month, surpassing oxycodone by more than 9 million doses. In February, the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network issued an alert regarding increasing misuse across the state.  (Internal Medicine News 7.6.17)

 

Just like the laws of thermodynamics, for every action there is an equal an opposite re-action.  Here, my detective nose is once again going down that road that begins with asking the question, “What is REALLY happening here?”  So often I see patients who have been bounced around from clinic to clinic, specialist to specialist, Mayo to Mayo.  Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.  We live in a medical world increasingly dominated and frustrated by ill-defined, chronic, painful, and dysfunctional conditions for which we have seemingly continued to add one Band-Aid drug after another. Very little gets resolved. Did I mention Lyme disease? Now, we have created a new Pharnkenstein, and there will be more. Until the medical system begins to honestly address underlying causes and reasons for these chronic conditions, the drug industry will continue to spawn new black market epidemics.

So, what could be the harm in this seemingly innocuous add-on medication?   There is strong evidence that gabapentin and its cousin, pregabalin (Lyrica), actually inhibit dendritic plasticity and may also adversely affect reproductive functions. In other words long-term use of these two drugs will create infertility and inhibit one’s ability to learn. One might even say that it would accelerate brain aging and limit cognitive function.  The apparent benefit of these drugs in their use for chronic pain seems to largely come from limiting new “pain synapses”. That is certainly not a bad thing. However, unless the underlying reason for the pain is more aggressively sought, the patient is left to a future of simply covering it all up. Eventually, the brain is affected adversely. But also, eventually, novel and abusive uses of these drugs are discovered. This seems to be just the beginning.

 

 

 

May 23, 2016 admin

The great cholesterol myth dies a slow death

gty_lipitor_tk_111129_mnOne would think that the $Bs spent on “getting my cholesterol checked” would have purchased an ounce of truth or benefit. What would an afternoon of football be without that commercial break with the typical stressed middle aged male trying to act out the role of the vulnerable victim of heart disease. »

May 23, 2016 admin

MS by any other name

Apparently a neurologist took a look at the number of patients who are being “misdiagnosed” with MS at 4 academic health care centers including the Mayo Clinic. This “study” revealed that half of these patients had been treated for more than 3 years with very dangerous drugs that can cause even more serious illness, and a third for more than 10 years!   »

May 23, 2016 admin

The FDA and the unsuspecting American consumer

Most people are now aware of the medical benefits of constituents in the marijuana plant.  But not too many people in the US understand the diference between “THC” (tetrahydrocannabinol), the mood altering and occasionally hallucinogenic part of marijuana that is the source of being “stoned”, and canabidiol, aka, “CBD.”  Many a songwriter and lead guitarist might owe some of that creative artistry to the former substance.  But both are involved with the so-called “endocannabinoid” system — a complex network of long chain fatty acids, receptors, and enzymes that influences many processes such as appetite, carcinogenesis, cardiovascular diseases, fertility, immune functions, memory, neuroprotection, and pain sensitivity.    A graphic might look like this (credit to Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience): »

May 23, 2016 admin

Chicken pox is less common, but we have an epidemic of shingles

….and it is not just the “aging population” here.  Since the advent of the chicken pox vaccine, kids don’t get the illness as much anymore (almost always a mild, flu like illness with the old “badge of honor” rash.  But that granted lifelong immunity from a virus that likely would never rear its head again — except for that terrible, painful rash that can reemerge as “shingles”.   And there is a shingles epidemic since the era of the chicklen pox vaccine has dawned that is seemingly “hard to explain” — or so say the experts tht want everyone vaccinated.  But a closer look shows that the chicken pox vaccine is a live virus that is actually only 44% effective for all forms of the illness and only 86% effective against severe illness.  What this says is that having the illness naturally confers a superior type of immunity compared with the vaccine.  And the vaccine may actually make one MORE vulnerable to shingles — which requires…wait for it…another vaccine.  And THAT vaccine is not what it seems in the Terry Bradshaw commericals.  Thank you to the National Vaccine Information Center: »

May 23, 2016 admin

Robert de Niro not such a tough guy after all

…yes, the big shot of Ronin, Casino, and Heist.  The Raging Bull got castrated by the vaccine industry who are the REAL heavies.  It’s not the movies, anymore, Robert…these folks play for keeps.  And you caved.  Please stick to comedies from now on. »