bleeding problems

  1. Pradaxa quickly climbs the list of dangerous drugs

    Lawsuits mount over new blood thinner

    New and improved? When it comes to blood thinners, they got the "new" part right... but they're definitely not improved.

    Pradaxa, first in a new generation of blood thinners, was supposed to be safer than warfarin -- a blood thinner so dangerous it's been used as rat poison over the years.

    As you can imagine, patients couldn't wait to get off warfarin -- so Pradaxa sales quickly shot past the $1 billion mark, making it the newest blockbuster drug. And now, it looks like it might be on the wrong end of the next blockbuster lawsuit, too -- because Pradaxa has been linked to thousands of serious problems, including bleeding problems, and hundreds of deaths.

    Last year, Pradaxa was responsible for more reports of adverse events than any other drug -- including 542 deaths, 2,367 cases of hemorrhaging, 644 strokes, and 291 cases of acute renal failure.

    If that's not enough, it was also a suspect in 15 cases of liver failure, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

    That's quite a long list of problems for a drug that's barely been on the market for two years -- and since up to 99 percent of all drug side effects go unreported, the real numbers could be much higher.

    As a result, there are attorneys ready to make a career off this. According to USA Today, one major firm has 70 lawyers devoted to Pradaxa litigation

    It's tough to choose between rat poison and becoming the next potential client in a lawsuit, which is why it's important to know about preventative approaches that can thin the blood naturally.

    And it starts with learning why your blood has thickened in the first place.

    In many cases, I've found that thick blood is the result of excess levels of a protein called fibrinogen. One way to reduce those levels is with fish oil, as the omega-3 fatty acids can help thin the blood. The enzyme nattokinase is another excellent natural blood thinner.

    Don't fly solo on this one, and don't start swapping fish oil for meds on your own as there are certain conditions that require medication to thin the blood.

    Work with a holistic doctor who can run some tests to help determine why your blood thickened and then help you figure out the best -- and, just as importantly, safest -- natural solutions.

  2. The peanut butter cups of bad meds

    For drug makers, it must have been a "you got your peanut butter in my chocolate" moment -- but instead of "two great tastes that taste great together," you're about to get two bad meds that are even worse together.

    The "peanut butter" in this case is the daily aspirin millions of heart patients are told to take -- and taken by millions of others in the mistaken belief it can prevent those heart problems from happening in the first place.

    The "chocolate" is omeprazole, aka Prilosec -- part of a badly overused class of heartburn meds called proton pump inhibitors.

    Now, I don't have a problem with someone eating a little fresh-ground peanut butter, or even an occasional snack of dark chocolate.

    But I have a big problem with people taking daily aspirin or proton pump inhibitors on a long-term basis -- because both of these drugs come with huge health risks and minimal... to no... benefits.

    Daily aspirin use isn't nearly as beneficial as years and years of relentless marketing would have you believe. What's more, it comes with a host of serious side effects such as bleeding problems, including ulcers, and even bleeding in the brain.

    One of the milder but more immediate side effects, however, is heartburn -- and that's why the new peanut butter cup of pills mixes 325 mg of aspirin with the PPI omeprazole.

    It's supposed to prevent that heartburn and make it easier for people to take the daily aspirin. And to that extent, you could say it "works" -- because PPIs are great at hiding the symptoms of heartburn and other stomach acid problems.

    But PPIs also bring stomach acid to dangerously low levels.

    In fact, the levels are so low that when you stop taking the drugs, the stomach tries to overcompensate and produces more acid than ever. Most people think it's their acid problem coming back with a vengeance.

    In reality, this "acid rebound," as it's called, is caused by the drug itself -- and a reason many people can't stop taking a PPI once they start.

    PPIs can also block the absorption of key nutrients, leaving you seriously deficient in calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and other essentials and putting you at risk for everything from bone breaks to death.

    Pain, heartburn, and even cardiovascular health all have better and more natural answers. Work with your doctor to find them.

  3. A choice you don't have to make

    Millions of seniors facing heart problems are forced to choose between bad and worse -- they're told to pick between aspirin and warfarin.
  4. New blood thinner boosts heart risk

    Blood thinners are supposed to reduce the risk of the blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke -- but a new drug that's intended to slash the risk of stroke can actually increase the odds of a heart attack.

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