The Truth of the Matter Pt VI — The Nasty Truth about Prescription Drugs

The AARP news bulletin continues to offer interesting facts about the myths and truths in the health care field.

One that received my recent attention is “The 50 Most Prescribed Drugs”1. It starts with this statement by Betsy Towner, “Prescription drugs …. consume more than 10 percent of the nation’s annual health care costs…. Though brand-name drugs make up only 22 percent of the names on the list, they represent 62 percent of the $53.2 billion cost.”  Now we are talking big money here but worst than this, the drugs are not a means to an end! There is no end to drug consumption, outside of death, so it never gets better.

The number one drug most prescribed is (drum roll please) hydrocodone with acetaminophen for PAIN with 121.3 million prescriptions and a retail cost of $1.78 billion. This is just for pain relief, not corrective medicine. (If there is such a thing). The next in line is Lisinopril for hypertension at 69.8 million prescripts at $686 million in cost.

What really got my attention was that out of the top 50: ten were for depression and anxiety; 9 for hypertension; 6 for bacterial infection; 4 for high cholesterol; and 4 for pain. That counts for 82% of the top 50 most prescribed drugs!!!  This means that the major problems we are facing are depression and anxiety, hypertension, bacterial infection, cholesterol and pain.

Has anyone even asked “WHY” we are challenged with these problems? All of this drug use is directed toward symptom control, not cause reduction. How about asking the question, “How did we all get so focused on symptom based care?” Look at the mess with bacterial infection drugs. The use of antibiotics has only lead to increased resistance to the drug by the bacteria. How many people are either addicted to pain reduction drugs or have used them to cover a more serious problem until it is too late for more effective care?  Once people start on drugs to control hypertension, cholesterol, anxiety or depression, will they ever be able to get off the drug? Not likely!

This is the nasty truth! Now please answer this, “Why has the chiropractic profession bought into the concept of symptom based care?” Is it because we have been very carefully taught that this is the only approach in health care? – or is it motivated by MONEY? (Insurance will pay for x number of visits, so just go with the flow and take the money.

Health research today continues to direct our attention toward “cause” rather than symptoms.  This attention goes all the way up to and including cancer2 (the ugly of the ugly), as well as other nasties such as A.L.S., fibromyalgia and other autoimmune system killers. When we look down to the other end of the scale, we find pain and depression/anxiety. The message is becoming clear that in the search to rid the world of pain and suffering, somewhere we missed the boat. Many years ago Hans Selye3 talked about the effects of stress on health and while we knew that stress was a factor, we had no idea that it was the door to understanding the human condition.

Each of the conditions listed in the 50 most prescribed drugs are the result of a breakdown in one or more systems of the body due to abnormal neurological responses to stresses in our lives. The nervous system becomes less able to adapt to a stressor and/or to reset to normal once the stressor is removed. It seldom happens suddenly; but usually, over time, the controls in the body shift and an imbalance within the body occurs. As time goes on the imbalance will create symptoms and at this point drugs are prescribed. The real heartbreak is that these drugs will create further imbalances (known as side effects) and further failure is inevitable.

It is beyond time that change take place in the health care field. $53.2 billion cost in the top 50 prescribed drugs alone to deal with “after the fact care” and not one of them addresses the cause of the problem! This is either criminal or a case of mass stupidity!

Today the role of the Stress/Recovery response has become the new direction for optimizing our ability to be healthy. Today the medical research has provided the link between stress and the neurological response. Today the role of chiropractic care to improve neurological function is fact4,5. Today is the time for the real chiropractic message to be told!

Click HERE for the next article in the series.

 

  1.  Betsy Towner – AARP Bulletin October 2009 Volume 50, No 8, page 39 bulletin.aarp.org
  2. Meisel et al., Nature Rev. Neurosci. 6:775-786, 2005
  3. “A Syndrome Produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents” – 1936 article by Hans Selye from The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
    • The Stress of life. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956.
    • Selye, H. “Stress and disease”. Science, Oct.7, 1955; 122: 625-631.
    • From Dream to Discovery: On Being a Scientist. New York: McGraw-Hill 1964
    • Hormones and Resistance. Berlin; New York: Springer-Verlag, 1971.
    • Stress without Distress. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., c1974.
  4. Cervical spine manipulation alters sensorimotor integration: A somatosensory evoked potential study Heidi Haavik Taylor – Bernadette Murphy – Clinical Neurophysiology 118 (2007) 391-402
  5. A Four Case Study: The effect of the Chiropractic adjustment on the brain wave pattern as measured by EEG. Richard Barwell, DC; Annette Long, Ph.D.; Alvah Byers, Pd.D; Craig Schisler, B.A., M.A., DC. Sherman Chiropractic College, International Paper and Research Symposium, 2005

This post was written by Richard Barwell, D.C.

Dr. Barwell is the Founder and President of the Chiropractic Equity Offices, Inc. program, and has more than thirty years of experience in chiropractic practice. After graduating from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College with clinic honors in 1964, he started a family Wellness Practice in British Columbia. He has since established numerous successful practices, won several awards and guest lectured at various chiropractic institutions. Before establishing CEO, Inc. Dr. Barwell was the Director of Seminars and Programs at Quest and Executive Director of the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance.

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