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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.
Unintended Consequences: Marijuana Use Tied to Changes in the Brain

Unintended Consequences: Marijuana Use Tied to Changes in the Brain

Over the past few decades, growing numbers of people in the U.S. have come to think about marijuana as harmless. Others have even embraced it as beneficial under certain circumstances, pointing to its purported medical value. So it’s not too surprising that long-running legalization efforts in some states have recently led to marijuana’s decriminalization and increased availability.  However, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience sheds new light on the subject—and its findings come out against the commonly held belief that marijuana use is completely innocuous. Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have found that even casual use of marijuana can cause structural changes to areas of the brain that control emotion, motivation, and reward.

The study analyzed 40 students between the ages of 18 to 25 in the Boston area. Half of the subjects used marijuana recreationally—at least once a week—and the other half did not use it at all. Psychiatric interviews and tests revealed that none of the students met the criteria for drug dependence, and their cannabis use did not interfere with their studies, work, or social habits. However, when using MRI scans to study the students’ brains, the researchers found changes to the volume, shape, and density of the neurons in two important areas: the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens. The changes were found to be more pronounced in people who reported using marijuana more frequently during an average week. Study leader Dr. Hans Breiter said of the findings, “There was a direct, consistent relationship between how much marijuana they used and the abnormalities we saw.”

While the brain abnormalities and their relationship to marijuana use are clear, it’s less clear what these changes to the brain’s structure might actually mean for these individuals. Breiter continues, “These are two brain regions you do not want to mess around with. All parts of the brain are important, but some, like these, are more fundamental. It raises a very serious issue, given that we saw these changes in casual marijuana users.” Previous studies had revealed similar changes in brain structure among heavy users of cannabis, but this is the first study that indicates that even casual use can alter a person’s brain.

“The earlier the onset of marijuana use in a kid, the worse potential implications you could be seeing,” Breiter said. Another study author, Jodi Gilman of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine, says, “We just don’t know how much is safe. It’s not harmless. We don’t know the harm, but it’s not free from harm.”

Breiter also commented that the concentrations of THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) are not the same as they used to be: “Levels of THC are about sevenfold what they used to be. That’s a substantial change in the dosing of THC that these young people are getting. The experience of people in the ’60s and ’70s may not be the same experience as people today.”

Interestingly, some proponents of cannabis decriminalization have welcomed the research findings. Paul Armentano, deputy director of the pro-marijuana advocacy group NORML, says that his group presents an argument for legalizing marijuana but tightly regulating it, as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs are. He says, “It’s precisely because of these consequences that these products are legally regulated, and their use is restricted to particular consumers and specific settings. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the legal, licensed commercial production and retail adult sale of marijuana but restricts its use among young people—coupled with a legal environment that fosters open, honest dialogue between parents and children about cannabis’ potential harms—best reduces the risks associated with the plant’s consumption or abuse.”

Marijuana consumption in the Netherlands—where cannabis use has been condoned but controlled since the 1980s, just as Armentano recommends for the U.S.—certainly supports his case. Despite its availability, fewer than 26% of the Dutch population has ever tried marijuana, compared with 41.9% of Americans, and the Netherlands has the lowest problem drug rate in Europe.

But this is a touchy subject, with scientific and humanitarian arguments often clashing with economic interests and many people’s moral judgments about any type of drug use. The trend toward marijuana decriminalization in America—for both medical and recreational use—seems at this point to be irreversible. The one new issue this study brings to the already heated debate is that cannabis use is NOT necessarily without long-term impact, especially on young people. More studies are needed to determine exactly what the effects of this drug actually are so that society can balance the risks and manage the costs that will inevitably come with decriminalization. Whether it’s legal or illegal, though, it’s critical for people to understand the potential consequences of marijuana use.

 

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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Spotlight on Drug Interactions: What You should Know

Spotlight on Drug Interactions: What You should Know

drug-interactions
drug-interactions

Medications—prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal/nutritional­—are used every day by millions of Americans to treat illnesses and to help them stay healthy.  There is no question that these medications have improved our lives: Just try to imagine a world without antibiotics or without the tens of thousands of other medications that we rely on to save lives and prevent serious diseases.

At the same time, because Americans take so many medications—often simultaneously—a growing health risk has emerged in the form of drug interactions. Drug interactions are the negative side effects that can occur when we combine medications with other medications or with certain types of food or drinks that we also consume. For example, you have probably received a prescription at some point and been told by your doctor or pharmacist not to drink alcohol while taking it, because that could cause negative drug interactions. But did you know that a simple thing like grapefruit juice could also cause negative interactions? In a review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers identified 85 different medications that interact negatively with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. Of these medications, 43 pose a risk of serious side effects, including severe symptoms like respiratory failure, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, and even sudden death.

The growing possibility of serious—and even deadly—drug interactions places an increasing burden on physicians, pharmacists, and the public to become more aware of this problem and to take steps to prevent it. The risks of negative drug-to-drug and drug-to-food reactions are numerous and can be affected by factors such as the age and gender of the patient as well as his or her medical history, general health, body composition, and the number of medications used.

It is virtually impossible for a layman to be aware of all of the possible negative drug-to-drug and drug-to-food interactions, so the most important piece of advice to take to heart is to never leave your doctor’s office after having been prescribed a drug without asking when to take it, how much of it to take, and whether there is anything it should not be taken with.

This should be considered a basic health safety procedure, and you should practice it with scrupulousness. For example, if you are meeting with your doctor and are about to be prescribed medication, be sure to tell him or her if you are using any other medications, nutritional supplements or herbal products. Your doctor needs this information to safely prescribe the medications you need. Even “small” things that you think may not matter might actually matter a great deal! Remember our grapefruit example? If you normally eat a lot of grapefruit or drink a lot of grapefruit juice, you should mention this. Why? Because one of the chemical compounds found in grapefruit increases the absorption of many drugs. This can enhance their effects and make them more powerful, sometimes dangerously so.

This does not mean, of course, that you need to provide every detail of your diet and lifestyle to your doctor—focus on the aspects that you think may be relevant. You can learn a lot about possible negative drug interactions by reading publications such as this document on common drug interactions, “Drug Interactions: What You Should Know,” available from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Also, if you want to be proactive, you can consult the online Interactive Drug Checker at WebMD, which allows you to enter the name of a prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medication and then enter additional medications and find possible negative interactions between them.

Another all-important piece of advice is to always read the label that comes with the medication or supplement. It will contain information about the medication as well as other drugs, supplements, and foods that should not be taken at the same time.

Close Up On Adverse Drug Reactions

Close Up On Adverse Drug Reactions

???????????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 chiropractor to keep your body in top condition.

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