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Drug-induced side effects: Deadly Medicines & Organised Crime by Prof. Peter Gotzsche, MD
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:26 pm Email this article
I am going to read a section from this wonderful book Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare by Prof. Peter Gøtzsche, MD.
The section is about drug-induced side effects in the elderly which doctors are often BLIND to.
The reason that I am telling this story is that the SAME THING happened to my mother.
My mother suffered from drug-induced side effects for 40 years, and tragically for the last 3.5 years of her life, and yet my mother’s doctors were blind to this.
This section is from Chapter 10 titled “Impotent drug regulation”, and the section is titled:
“We know very little about polypharmacy”
Prof. Peter Gøtzsche, MD says:
“Most patients are in treatment with several drugs, particularly elderly patients.”
“A Swedish study of 762 people living in nursing homes found that 67% were prescribed 10 or more drugs.”
“One-third were in treatment with three or more psychoactive drugs; around half received antidepressants or tranquillisers; and anticholinergic drugs (e.g. for urinary incontinence) were used in one-fifth.
“All these drugs may create cognitive impairment, confusion and falls, which carry a considerable mortality among the elderly.”
“The symptoms are often misinterpreted by the patients and their carers as signs of old age or impending disease, e.g. dementia or Parkinson’s, but when doctors stop the medicines, many of the patients apparently become many years younger… and become active again.
“A US study found that almost 18% of Medicare patients took drugs that aren’t safe for older people.”
“Just like regulators, doctors see one problem at a time and usually start drug treatment every time.”
“They very often forget about stopping a drug when it’s no longer needed.”
“My most important contribution to internal medicine was to stop drugs in newly admitted patients, only to realise that, quite often, the patients arrived doped with the same drugs by their general practitioner next time they were admitted.”
“It is surely an uphill battle.”
“We know very little about what happens when patients take many drugs…”
“Every one of them may affect many bodily functions, apart from the intended one, and they may interact in unpredictable ways.”
“We also know that old people are much over-treated, with harmful consequences.”
“A randomised trial showed that drug reduction [reducing the number of drugs that a person is taking] lowered both mortality and admission to hospital…”
“... a subsequent study in 70 patients where number of drugs was reduced from 7.7 to 4.4 per patient showed that 88% reported global improvement in health and most had improvement in cognitive functions.”
“Here is a typical story, apart from the fact that few elderly people are that lucky:”
“When my father was 88, he was hospitalised for dizziness, which occurred after his medication was increased.”
“In the hospital, he was given more medication which made him confused, frightened, and incoherent.”
“Then his doctor transferred him to a nursing home, where he was dirty, crying, begging people to hold his hand, and listed as DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) – and given still more medication.”
“I convinced the doctor at the nursing home to discontinue all medication, and I hired a private nurse to give my father an organic diet – rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.”
“In 3 days, my father made such a miraculous recovery that the nurses on the ward didn’t recognise him.”
“When I called to speak to my father, he was back to his old self, and told me that he was bored and looking for a card game.”
“My father was discharged the next day, and died several years later, while relaxing peacefully at home.”
The SAME THING happened to my mother!
My mother suffered from drug-induced side effects for 40 years.
My mother suffered tragically from drug-induced side effects for the last 3.5 years of her life.
I watched this happen to my mother for the last 17 years of her life.
I watched my mother spiral downhill for the last 3.5 years of her life as doctors gave her more and more drugs which only caused my mother to get worse and worse and worse.
Literally EVERY problem my mother had over the last 17 years of her life was due to a drug-induced side effect.
You may think that surely I am exaggerating, but I am not.
I can tell you every problem that my mother had and every drug that caused this for the last 17 years of her life.
...and yet my mother’s doctors were completely and total BLIND to this!
I told my parents this for 17 years… and I SCREAMED it for the last 3.5 years of my parents’ life…
... but I could NOT convince my parents of this…
... because my mother’s doctors were saying THE EXACT OPPOSITE!
My mother’s doctors told my parents that if they could just find the right drugs or find the right combination of drugs or find the right dose of drugs, that they could solve my mother’s problems.
But these psychiatric drugs had failed my mother for 40 years!
My mother saw at least 17 doctors over the last 17 years of her life, and every one on them were completely and totally blind to the fact that my mother was suffering from drug-induced side effects.
It is a systemic problem with doctors — that doctors are BLIND to drug-induced side effects.
It is not my intention to insult doctors by saying this, but I must tell the truth about this in order to try and save anyone I can from the same suffering that my mother went through for so many years.
I’ve learned 9 things about doctors over the past 20 years.
The first thing I learned is that doctors are blind to drug-induced side effects.
I think I know exactly why this is.
I think it is because of the way doctors are taught in medical school.
In medical school, doctors are taught how to diagnose various conditions, let’s say they are taught how to diagnose 100 things.
This is what medical school focuses on — teaching doctors how to diagnose these 100 things.
Therefore, doctors try to diagnose everything as being caused by one of those 100 things.
Medical school does NOT teach doctors to look for drug-induced side effects.
And this is why doctors are blind to drug-induced side effects.
The point of this is that patients must realize that doctors are blind to this, and patients must look for drug-induced side effects themselves.
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