Thursday, December 14, 2006

Guest Article by Gary Craig

The Menacing Mathematics of Multiple Meds

By Gary Craig

There's something scary about drugs that concerns a growing number of
physicians and should wobble the knees of every patient on the planet.It's
obvious to any mathematician but somehow has escaped the general scrutiny of
the health industry.

It has to do with combining meds.

Ever since I can remember I have been fed the perception that drugs are
governmentally evaluated and thus are safe if taken under the guidance of
competent physicians.However, even ifwe accept thepresumed safetyfor the
ingestion of one drug, we must ask ourselves how might thatsafety change if
we take multiple drugs?

For safety assurances, proper testing should be done for every drug
combination we are advised to take. If we take Prozac and Tylenol, for
example, we should be presented with all the possible benefits and
consequences before allowing these two foreign substances to mix with the
chemicals our bodies already create. Same thing goesfor combining Paxil
with Viagra or Interferon with Lipitor.

The list of possible problems here is monstrously long because there are a
b'zillion drugs and mega b'zillions of combinations. Nonetheless, I've
never seen or heard of anystudies that test any of these combinations ...
have you?

Thus, if you take two drugs, the odds of their combination having been
adequately tested for safety are skimpy at best. But if you take 3 or more
drugs the danger possibilitiesmultiply even faster.

Here's how the mathematics work: If you take 3 drugs then adequate safety
testing of the various combinations require 7 separate tests. If you take 4
drugs the combinations require 25 separate tests. If you take 5 drugs it
amounts to 121 tests. If you take 10 drugs the number of required safety
tests total 362,881.

The conclusion here should be obvious. Namely, there is questionable safety
testing if you take 2 drugs and nominal, if any, safety testing if you take
3. Beyond that you are clearly into the land of,"I have no idea what these
combinations of drugs will do."

To me, this tosses our dedicated docs into a tenuous position. They have
patients with problems who aren't willing to exercise, eat right, do EFT for
emotional issues( ) or much of anything
else to help their own health. Instead, the patients hope the physicians
will produce a magic pill (or pills) to make their problems go away.

I have met many patients who are on several drugs and take some drugs to
counteract the effects of other drugs. As a non-physician I look at this
with a shudder. These folks are being fed chemical cocktails with little or
no safety testing behind the combinations. Maybe I need some help with my
perceptions here but, to me,they are playing drug roulette.

I don't know if lawyers have picked up on the simple, but compelling, math
here. But I do know that I wouldn't want to be a doctor in court facing
these clear facts.

In the 15+ years I have been involved in the health field, I have had the
good fortune to count many physicians as my personal friends. With few
exceptions, they agree that it is our lifestyles, diets and emotional
stresses that cause most of our health problems ... and ... the vast
majority of these problems would vanish if people would live common sense
lives. Yet patients repeatedly abuse their bodies and ask for more and more
"miracledrugs" as the convenient solution. I don't envy the docs at all as
I often hear them complain that this is a highway to NobodyWinsVille.

Maybe what we really need are good salespeople to persuade folks to take
care of themselves. I suspect that, if truly persuasive, they would do more
good than the ocean of drugs at our disposal.

Love, Gary

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