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The Case Against Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS)

by James Barger on 2011/07/22



Got a chronic pain in the neck or back? Headache since the early morning conflict with the kids? Why not just reach for the magic pill advertised on TV that will erase all your aches and pains? Keep reading to see some of the consequences of using Western medicine’s answer for pain control.

According to a 1998 American Journal of Medicine article, more than 16000 patients with arthritis die each year in the United States from the use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs. Over 100,000 people are hospitalized due to NSAID use, primarily as the result of gastrointestinal bleeding or GI tract perforation. Every day in the U.S., an average of 44 people dies from the direct effects of taking NSAIDS.

The following is taken from the product insert for Celebrex, one of the new and improved NSAIDS:
Serious gastrointestinal toxicity such as bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach, small intestine or large intestine, can occur at any time, with or without warning symptoms, in patients treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs….Borderline elevations of one or more liver tests may occur in up to 15% of patients taking NSAIDS….Long term administration of NSAIDS has resulted in renal (kidney) papillary necrosis (death of living tissue) and other renal injury.

Does this sound like a drug you would want to take, or have a loved one take? American spend over $6 billion annually for analgesic medications such as this. Over 100 million prescriptions are written each year for NSAIDS in the United States.

If that is not convincing enough for you, try reading a Baylor College of Medicine article titled “Camera Pill Reveals Inside Story on Pain Relievers.” A miniature disposable video camera contained within a capsule that was swallowed by 40 patients was used to investigate the condition of the small bowel following the use of NSAIDs such as naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and diclofenac (Voltaren). Color images of the entire digestive tract were relayed by a tiny camera to doctors monitoring the study. Seventy-one percent of the study participants who took NSAIDS daily for at least three months had at least some injury to the small intestine and 23% had “severe damage.” A control group that took either acetaminophen (tylenol) or nothing at all had a five percent incidence of minor lesions and none had the major damage like the NSAID group.

Still not convinced? According to a 2000 article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it has been discovered by researchers at Australia’s University of Newcastle that NSAID use is a significant contributor to congestive heart failure (CHF). They found positive correlation for the dosage of NSAIDs consumed during the previous week to the odds of a first admission to a hospital for CHF.

The final two nails in the coffin comes from the August 2003 edition of the British Medical Journal and pharmaceutical giant Merck. The BMJ study found that prenatal NSAID use increased the risk of miscarriage by 80%. Then, in 2004, company executives from Merck admitted 18 months of Vioxx use nearly doubled the risk of heart attach and stroke.

In the next article, I will detail for you some natural anti-inflammatory substances and practices that have none of the damaging side effects of prolonged NSAID use. Please see my website for references to the above articles.

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