The Human Body is not meant to be taking ‘stuff’ all the time, whether medicines or biohack stuff or whatever.
Forget the image of a magic bullet that flies to the one spot where it is needed and causes no collateral damage, every medicine poisons. The trick is to use medicines only when the damage being caused by some condition outweighs the inevitable harms of the poison that might be used to counteract it.
Taken for too long, or when the harms of the drug likely outweigh the harms of the condition, we may end up paying a price.
Alcohol and nicotine are good examples of what can happen – and medicines are on prescription because they are thought to be more dangerous than alcohol and nicotine.
A price like having our hair turn grey prematurely and getting brittle. What’s the evidence for this – smoking is a great example. Everyone who smokes is likely to turn grey earlier than they would otherwise have done.
It may be that drugs delivered in a way that reduces oxygen may make greying more likely but a very large number of drugs, possibly most of them, end up in hair. While finasteride and bimatoprost can cause hair to grow, RxISK regularly gets reports from people complaining about hair falling out, not taking colour the way it should, changing texture and more on various treatments.
This is not something your hair stylist will ever warn you about – although it would be the easiest thing in the world for salons to install something like RxISK which would let them begin a discussion with their clients that could then be continued with their doctor.
From the first days of the oral contraceptives it has been clearer that women and their hairdressers can be quicker at spotting drug issues than doctors.
A price like rotting teeth. Antidepressants and antipsychotics seem particularly bad for this – After the Rot sets in – but its likely that any drugs taken for too long can cause problems.
This is not something dentists warn us about but it is something they should know something about and perhaps along with telling us to floss might tell us about whether there are any risks linked to any of the meds we are on – risks they can often spot but don’t usually mention to us.
A price like visual snow, astigmatism, blurred vision, cataracts, central vision loss, double vision, dry eyes, night blindness, flashes, glaucoma, hallucinations, halo vision, floaters, light sensitivity, reduced visual acuity, scintillations and tunnel vision.
Most drugs end up in our eyes. Anyone on several drugs every day, especially the newer MABs like Humira, used for a range of inflammatory conditions mostly, likely has eyes popping with drugs. Among antidepressants the SSRIs especially duloxetine are among the worst – which might help explain the high rates of nightmares both on these drugs and on stopping them. Note also that these drugs including the antipsychotics can cause visual hallucinations.
A 33 page list of visual reports sent into FDA for all leading drugs is Attached HERE.
Almost no doctor will ever tell you anything about these risks. In the case of the antidepressants, and the psychotropic drugs more generally, the usual story is pretty well all problems stem from the anti-cholinergic effects of the older drugs – this apparently causes urinary retention, constipation, blurred vision, dry mouth leading to teeth problems, and cognitive problems predisposing to dementia.
This is baloney.
Without a hint of an anticholinergic effect in sight, the SSRIs and SNRIs cause all these problems – eye problems, teeth problems and cognitive problems. The most common things anticholinergic drugs cause is a certain euphoria and if given with antidepressants and antipsychotics they usually make these more tolerable.
The place where dementia is becoming most obvious this month is with the antipsychotics. For decades, particularly in North America the story was that psychosis causes brain damage and antipsychotics prevent brain damage and even cause brain cell growth. This story got louder with the first brain scan studies that raised the possibility that it might be the drugs people were put on that led to the brain cell loss that was showing up on scans.
The evidence has been steadily accumulating however – with the most recent study appearing in JAMA this summer pointing strongly to the role of antipsychotic treatment in leading to brain cell loss – article here and see article HERE.
To get published, however, the authors had to add in what seems like a crazy rider – that even though antipsychotics cause brain cell loss, it still make sense to take them in order to ward off the brain risks of untreated psychosis.
There is no evidence that schizophrenia or any untreated psychosis led to brain cell loss before the antipsychotics.
It was recognised early on that antipsychotics lead to very obvious neurological damage in the form of tardive dyskinesia.
Antipsychotics may have a number of direct toxic effects but in addition to direct effects, by causing a profound lack of motivation, antipsychotics mean that people taking them daily vegetate physically and mentally. The akathisia they cause also drives many to drink, which in its own right will cause brain cell loss.
It may make sense to take these risks in the case of someone who has a severe psychotic disturbance and where the meds really have a transformative effect. It makes much less sense when their effects are primarily sedative.
It makes no sense at all:
When pharma is trying to replace a drug, one of the typical scare stories they come up with is that they cause dementia. This story was developed for the anticholinergics in the 1970s, and for the benzodiazepines in the 1990s.
There are a series of recent studies linking SSRI antidepressants to memory problems and dementia. There are several ways SSRIs can cause dementia – one is through their ability to lower sodium levels our blood. This causes fluid to migrate into our cells, and seemingly to mid-brain cells in particular, causing an osmotic demyelination syndrome ODS.
This may not be the only cause of problems but what seems clear is that SSRIs are linked to a number of neurological syndromes presenting in atypical form.
There is also growing evidence that stimulant use can lead to early Parkinson’s disease – see Could your Stimulant Cause Dementia.
These studies along with the fact that brain scan studies linking cell loss to treatment can now be published makes you wonder if there are new drugs in the offing waiting to sweep in which pharma promise will save us from all these poisonous effects.
A big part of the problem is that most psychotropic drugs come with withdrawal effects that are worse than nicotine and alcohol. Once on, never off.
Everything else you are put on gets added into these so that heading toward 50% of us over the age of 45 are on 3 or more drugs every day of the year and heading towards 50% of us over the age of 65 are on 5 or more drugs every day of the year.
Unless one of these drugs has some hidden anti-dementia effect, an earlier brain failure than would otherwise have happened seems likely.
Of course its all okay if I’m putting the poison in your mouth rather than my own.
It could all be so different – if we levelled with people.
The image above is from Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady. The Full Story is about What do Women Most Desire. The denouement is in image form below. The Answer is Control over our Own Lives.