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Chiropractic Patients Less Likely to Suffer Drug Reactions

Chiropractic Patients Less Likely to Suffer Drug Reactions

 

Most people experience back pain, and many of these patients use drugs for pain relief. A 2014 study1 found that of older adults with chronic back pain, 72% of them were using some kind of analgesic to help cope with the pain. Another study2 found that 32% of back pain patients in their analysis were using prescribed opiates for relief.

It’s unfortunate that so many patients depend on drugs for musculoskeletal aches and pains, especially when chiropractic is an effective and safe way to not only relieve pain, but also prevent future pain episodes.

Now a new study3 shows that chiropractic also is linked to a lower risk of adverse drug reactions in patients with back pain. In this study, the authors looked at the medical records of over 19,000 adults in New Hampshire who had at least two doctor visits for back pain. 9.810 of these patients used chiropractic care; 9,343 patients used regular medical care. The researchers analyzed the number of adverse drug effects (ADEs) experienced by the two groups.

The authors found:

  • Younger patients were more likely to use chiropractic care.
  • Non-chiropractic patients tended to have more health problems, in general, when compared to those who used chiropractic.
  • Chiropractic patients experienced 51% fewer adverse drug reactions (.4% vs .9%) compared to medical patients.
  • 15 non-chiropractic patients were diagnosed with drug withdrawal, while zero chiropractic patients had drug withdrawal.

This study had some limitations, as the study data didn’t included details about the types of drugs the patients were using or how frequently they were using medications. But the authors conclude that the “utilization of chiropractic care may be associated with reduced risk of ADEs; however, no causal relationship has been established.”

Another study by the same group of researchers found that chiropractic patients were 55% less likely to be prescribed opiates for their pain and had lower health care bills.

With the opiate epidemic in the US, it’s critical that we find non-opiate approaches to back pain treatment. Chiropractic is about restoring health without the use of drugs. By helping the body heal naturally, chiropractic can help you stay well and help you avoid unnecessary adverse drug reactions, too!

  1. Enthoven WT, Scheele J, Bierma-Zeinstra SM, Bueving HJ, Bohnen AM, Peul WC, van Tulder MW, Berger MY, Koes BW, Luijsterburg PA. Analgesic use in older adults with back pain: the BACE study. Pain Medicine 2014 Oct;15(10):1704-14. Doi: 10.1111/pme.12515.
  2. Ashworth J, Green DJ, Dunn KM, Jordan KP. Opioid use among low back pain patients in primary care: Is opioid prescription associated with disability at 6-month follow-up? Pain. 2013 Jul;154(7):1038-44. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.03.011.
  3. Whedon JM, Toler AWJ, Goehl JM, Kazal LA. Association Between Utilization of Chiropractic Services for Treatment of Low Back Pain and Risk of Adverse Drug Events. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 2018 May 26. pii: S0161-4754(17)30136-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2018.01.004.
Health Update: Close-Up on Adverse Drug Reactions

Health Update: Close-Up on Adverse Drug Reactions

medical theme – doctors desk with documents and stethoscope

You can’t switch on a television these days without seeing a commercial for some new pharmaceutical that will cure whatever may ail you (or cure you from an illness you never knew you had). If you pay attention to it, you will notice that nearly half the ad time is taken up with a long list of possible side effects and adverse reactions that may accompany taking the drug. The possibilities often include everything from slight fatigue to death.

An estimated 4.5 million Americans visit their doctor or the ER each year due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs. These adverse side effects are also suffered by an additional 2 million people each year who are already in the hospital being supervised by medical professionals. The CDC estimates that 82% of Americans are taking at least one drug, and 29% are taking five or more drugs.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of approving pharmaceutical drugs for sale in the US. However, their methods for approval are based on the drug companies providing their own scientific studies on the safety of the drug. The FDA does no independent testing. The FDA will usually approve a drug if its benefits are believed to outweigh its dangers. Even assuming the drug companies’ studies have been well-conducted and show that a drug is relatively safe, no drug is completely free from side effects for everyone, even those drugs that are “natural.” A person’s age, weight, gender, overall health and genetic profile have a lot to do with how an individual will respond to a drug.

The most common side effects are gastrointestinal problems, as most drugs are processed via the digestive tract. These problems include nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. Other common side effects are drowsiness, fatigue and mild skin reactions. Although dizziness may not seem like a dangerous side effect, it can be particularly risky for seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls among seniors are the leading cause of injury-related death. A quarter of all seniors who fall and break a hip will die within six months of receiving the injury.

Death is of course the most serious side effect of all. Allergic reactions that cause anaphylaxis can be deadly. Some drugs, such as those that treat type 2 diabetes (Actos and Avandia, for example) can cause a stroke or heart attack. Antidepressants can actually increase suicidal thoughts. Some drugs can cause pain and total or partial paralysis, such as the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Some drugs increase your risk of cancer. Ironically, the drug Tamoxifen, prescribed to treat breast cancer, actually increases the risk of uterine cancer. Memory loss, hallucinations, loss of taste and loss of sight are other common side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Although there is no doubt that some pharmaceuticals are far more useful than they are dangerous (antibiotics, for example), if you want to avoid the harmful side-effects that many drugs may produce, try to keep as healthy as possible. Eat right, get regular exercise and visit your Billings Chiropractor Dr. Greg Oblander to keep your body in top condition.

 

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