Prescription Drugs & FDA

  1. Diet drug Saxenda comes with serious risks

    Ditch this dangerous diet drug and watch your pounds melt away

    If you've run into a wall with your weight-loss resolution, you're hardly alone. Barely two weeks into the New Year, willpower is already starting to fade fast.

    By next week, many will have quit completely, which is why mid-January is a graveyard for New Year's resolutions.

    Don't worry; you CAN get your diet back on track quickly and easily, and I'll share with you how to do just that in a moment.

    But first, a warning -- because Big Pharma is also offering to "help" you lose weight.

    And this is one offer you SHOULD refuse.

    It's an injectable drug called Saxenda, approved just in time for Resolution Season. It mimics the hormone that climbs into your brain to tell it when your stomach is full.

    In theory, you eat less. In reality, a full year of injections -- plus required diet and exercise -- won't do much to help you achieve your dreams of a trimmer, fitter you.

    In one clinical trial, nearly 70 percent of folks failed to lose 10 percent of their body weight, and nearly 40 percent didn't even lose 5 percent.

    With "success" like that, who needs failure?

    But while this drug is unlikely to help you to lose much weight, it could hurt you -- because Saxenda isn't some new kid on the block with unknown risks. It's been around for years under another name: Victoza.

    That's a diabetes drug so dangerous that Public Citizen has been trying for years to have it banned. Using FDA data, the organization has linked Victoza to more than 1,000 cases of pancreatitis and 332 reports of acute pancreatitis.

    It's also been linked to thyroid tumors, to the point where Victoza has a black-box warning and Saxenda is expected to carry the same. And if that's not enough, expect the usual side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and more.

    Yes, you have to face all of those risks and more for a drug that at best might help you lose about half a pound a week IF you're lucky.

    I don't know about you, but I've got a different definition of success -- one where you lose weight faster and without facing any of those risks.

    If you're just looking to lose that spare tire you've been carrying around, then forget drugs and other short cuts and just commit to a delicious and heart-friendly Mediterranean diet.

    And if you need to lose a little more weight, I've found that a brief period of very low calorie dieting can help stimulate weight loss so that you shed pounds faster even after you begin to add more food back to your diet.

    Don't try this alone, as you need to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need. Work closely with a holistic medical doctor.

    And for a weight-loss plan customized to meet your needs, make an appointment to see me at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in the San Diego area.

    Not in Southern California? I can also help by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to learn more.

  2. Diabetes drugs don't protect the heart

    Diabetes drugs don't improve OR save lives

    What do you call a drug that's more likely to hurt or kill diabetics than to save their lives?

    I'd call it a FAILURE, but the FDA has another word for it: APPROVED.

    That's right, friend -- the very agency that's supposed to make sure drugs are both safe and effective has failed in its most basic responsibility to millions of American diabetics.

    Not once... not twice... not three times... but at least 30 TIMES.

    Of the 30 major new diabetes drugs approved by the FDA over the last decade, not a single one has actually proven to save lives, prevent heart attacks or ward off other major disease-related complications such as blindness, according to an investigation from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today.

    How do they get away with it?

    Easy: It's a semantics game. Instead of proving the drugs save or improve lives, all they have to do is prove the drugs help with "surrogate" measures such as glucose control.

    If the drugs improve blood sugar, then the FDA assumes the real-world benefits will follow.

    You know what happens when you assume, right?

    It turns out most of these drugs have never passed any real-world tests and one has even flat-out flunked in follow-up studies.

    But even that's not enough to get a drug pulled. In fact, those follow-up studies can find a diabetes drug increases the risk of heart problems by as much as 30 percent and the FDA will happily look the other way as long as it meets glucose control targets, according to the investigation.

    Don't get me wrong; glucose control is critically important for all of us, especially diabetics -- but only if it comes with other real-world improvements such as better heart health or improved longevity.

    Instead, the feds have created a system based on paper targets and lost sight of the bigger picture.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in a different measure of success -- and it's not to simply cut your blood sugar to meet some pie-in-the-sky target and forget about everything else.

    No, the goal is to stay alive, improve your health, protect your heart and make sure you don't join the 80 percent of diabetics who ultimately die of cardiovascular disease.

    And you can do that without drugs, starting with natural therapies such as berberine sulfate, turmeric, cinnamon, chromium and resveratrol along with specific dietary and exercise regimens.

    Work closely with a holistic medical doctor who knows when you need drugs and when you don't. More importantly, work with a doctor who focuses on you and not paper targets.

  3. New drug Hysingla may be the most powerful opioid yet

    Will newly approved opiod Hysingla put the "killer" in painkiller?

    As a nation, we have a huge drug problem -- but it's not marijuana, cocaine, heroin or crack that's our biggest threat.

    Opioid prescription painkillers are responsible for half the country's overdose deaths and for sending 420,000 Americans to the emergency room every year.

    We need to find a way to get Americans off of these addictive and dangerous drugs -- and fast. Continue reading

  4. Digoxin ups the risk of death

    Heart drug sends your death risk soaring by 71 percent!

    There's a heart drug out there that's so dangerous even many mainstream docs won't touch the stuff. But others still give it out left and right to patients with atrial fibrillation, either because they're so clueless they don't know the risks or they're too lazy to find something better.

    Whatever the reason, these doctors aren't helping their patients. They're hurting them... and as a new study shows, they might be killing them too.

    The drug is called digoxin, and the study of 15,000 people with a-fib finds that it increases the risk of death by 71 percent in patients with no history of heart failure.

    That's almost identical to a study last year, which focused on patients with heart failure and found the drug increases the risk of death by 72 percent. Continue reading

  5. Industry wants to remove black-box warning on antidepressants

    Industry lapdog tries to sweep antidepressant dangers under the rug

    It's the dynamic duo of doom. A major publisher has joined forces with Big Pharma to demand that the truth about deadly antidepressants be swept under the rug.

    Why? Simple. As they say in the movies, they think you can't handle the truth!

    In one of the most incredibly biased, one-sided and outright dangerous bits of misinformation I've ever seen published in the media, Time magazine is practically begging the FDA to yank the black-box warning on antidepressants. Continue reading

  6. New blood thinner packs new big risks

    Taking blood thinners? Here's a warning you can't afford to miss!

    A choice between "bad" and "worse" isn't much of a choice at all, especially when it's not always obvious which is which.

    Yet right now, millions of Americans are making that choice whether they know it or not.

    They've been given a "choice" between the blood thinners warfarin (aka Coumadin), a drug so dangerous that it's been used as rat poison, or dabigatran (aka Pradaxa), the newer drug that's supposed to be safer. Continue reading

  7. Statins linked to diabetes again

    Is your cholesterol drug giving you diabetes?

    Once upon a time, docs were so enamored with statins that there were calls to give them to everyone over the age of 40... hand them out in fast food joints... and even dump them into the water!

    Good thing we put those "experts" on ignore.

    Think of the public health disaster that would have unfolded now that the true risks of these meds have been exposed -- including the very real chance that statins could leave you with life-threatening diabetes. Continue reading

  8. Painkillers can cause blood clots

    Common painkillers could increase deadly clot risk

    The commercials promise almost instantaneous pain relief -- just pop a couple of pills, sit back and make that "ahhhhh" sound the actors use to show they're feeling better.

    But there are a few things you won't learn from those commercials, and that's the risks -- because these drugs aren't nearly as safe as most people believe. Even over-the-counter painkillers, including some of the most commonly used drugs in the country, can turn dangerous and downright deadly in a flash. Continue reading

  9. Benzodiazepines increase Alzheimer's risk

    Are your sleeping pills giving you Alzheimer's?

    A little rest, and a little relaxation. That's the promise of benzodiazepines, a class of medication used primarily for anxiety and sleep disorders.

    Who can resist that? Not many of us, which is why more than 110 million prescriptions for these drugs are filled each year in the United States alone.

    But the promise is a false one, because even when these drugs seem to work -- even when you get that rest, or your anxieties seem to melt away -- you're paying a terrible price. Continue reading

  10. Deaths due to narcotic painkillers skyrocket

    Painkiller deaths quadruple! Don't be next!

    The deadliest drug in America isn't what you think it is.

    Prescription meds kill more of us than illegal street drugs -- and the bulk of those deaths are from a single class of medications: narcotic painkillers.

    And now, the newest numbers from the CDC show the problem is getting a whole lot worse.

    Between 1999 and 2011, the number of Americans killed by accidental overdose of narcotic painkillers nearly quadrupled, from 1.4 per 100,000 to 5.4 per 100,000. And among white Americans, the number of deaths skyrocketed by more than 450 percent in that time. Continue reading

  11. Antibiotic overuse in children

    50% of kids on antibiotics don't need them

    Pediatricians are in the habit of treating just about everything -- especially earaches and sore throats -- with antibiotics, whether kids need them or not.

    We're at the point now where more than half of all antibiotic prescriptions given to kids and teens are completely unnecessary, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

    That adds up to 11 million unnecessary prescriptions every year. Continue reading

  12. Painkillers pushed on osteoarthritis patients

    Drug epidemic among osteoarthritis patients

    It's the worst thing in medicine if you ask me, and it's all too common.

    It's a treatment that's worse than the very condition it's supposed to treat -- and in the case of osteoarthritis, millions of patients are being given just that. They're being put on painkillers, which not only do little to ease the pain, but also do nothing to stop the source of that pain. Continue reading

  13. Chiropractic care won't cause a stroke

    Chiropractic care proven safe

    The most effective possible treatment likely to do the least amount of harm -- that's the common-sense philosophy that guides my advice.

    But sadly, it's not all that common these days.

    Mainstream docs routinely dismiss safe and effective nondrug treatments and push ineffective and potentially dangerous medications and surgeries instead. And if you've ever seen a doctor about pain -- especially back, neck and shoulder pain -- you might already know what I'm talking about. Continue reading

  14. New sleep drug comes with big risks

    New sleep med isn't worth the risk

    There's a new sleep drug on the market -- but if you think it's safer or better than what's out there now, all I can say is: Keep dreaming.

    This drug suvorexant (to be marketed as Belsomra) is so risky that the FDA actually rejected it last year.

    Now, the second time around, the agency approved it -- but the drug didn't get any better over the past year. They didn't go back to the drawing board and improve it.

    No, the drug hasn't changed at all. All that's changed is the dose. Continue reading

  15. Faster new drug approvals mean more dangerous meds

    New drugs and newer risks

    If you've been to the airport lately, maybe you've noticed that extra line at security.

    It's like an express lane. People who pay more can get through quicker.

    Imagine the outrage if we found out later that a third of all passengers in the express lane were carrying bombs.

    As it turns out, we have an agency allowing just that -- but it's not the TSA. Continue reading

  16. Curcumin can beat depression

    Real solutions for depression

    I'm going to come right out and say it: The death of Robin Williams is being exploited.

    The mainstream is using this tragedy as an excuse to urge people facing depression to "seek treatment."

    What could I possibly have against treatment for the depressed? Nothing... if we're talking about real treatment. Continue reading

  17. MMR vaccine again linked to autism

    CDC researcher admits to vaccine cover-up

    It's a shocking confession straight from a CDC researcher: The agency has been hiding the truth about vaccines.

    William Thompson, one of the authors of an often-cited 2004 study that claims to find no link between vaccines and autism, admits he and his fellow researchers omitted "statistically significant data" and didn't follow the study protocols.

    Now, a new study in Translational Neurodegeneration using the full dataset finds that African-American children given the MMR vaccine have a much higher risk of autism. Continue reading

  18. Women face bigger asthma risks

    Asthma hits women harder

    Asthma is bad news for anyone at any age -- but new research confirms something I've seen right here in my own clinic: It can be especially dangerous for older women.

    Women don't suffer from asthma more often than men. But they do have a higher rate of complications from it, and it's for a variety of reasons.

    For example, the hormonal changes that kick in after menopause can lead to worsening asthma. Continue reading

  19. Capsaicin can block gut tumors

    Chili pepper power can beat cancer

    Some chili peppers are so hot they can practically set your mouth on fire. And now, new research finds they can burn through something else, too.

    They can incinerate tumors in your gut.

    Capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers so hot, can activate an ion channel in the lining of your intestines called TRPV1, according to the new study on mice.

    What that does is help control something called epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR. In plain English, EGFR helps the lining of your intestines to regenerate and renew, a process that happens in your gut every four to six days. Continue reading

  20. Sleep drug Ambien sends seniors to the hospital

    Ambien can send you to the ER

    Ebola is in the news every single night despite the fact that it's no threat to the United States, at least as of now (and I pray it never becomes one).

    I'm not saying we should ignore it. But maybe we should devote some of that time to a real health crisis that sends 90,000 Americans to the ER every single year, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.

    That's more than 10 people per hour, every hour, every day of the year -- all being rushed to the hospital for the same reason.

    And it's completely preventable. Continue reading

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