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Cures for Just About Everything
Posted: 30 March 2012 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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mckenzievmd - 29 March 2012 09:29 PM

Interestingly, while proscar reduces BPH and prostatitis symptoms in dogs, neutered males are actually more likley to develop prostate cancer than intact males. Might be a different relationship between testposterone and cancer risk in humans than in dogs, but casts at leat a little doubt on the idea that removing testosterone is protective against prostate cancer.

I agree completely. There are many examples in medicine where logic would suggest that connecting the dots from A>>B>>C would make you think that by increasing A you could get an increase in C. The problem is that there are other steps along the way and other factors that modify the interactions that we may know little or nothing about so that A ends up not affecting C at all or in a very different way than the one we would predict.

Antioxidants are a great example of this. In the test tube oxidizers (A)  like hydrogen peroxide can cause gene mutations (B). We know that gene mutations can lead to cancers and cell aging (C) so in theory if you use an antioxidant you will decrease gene mutations which will slow the aging process and reduce cancer. In real life that doesn’t happen at all. Despite all the hype antioxidants have never been proven to do any of those things and in some cases they have actually increased cancer rates. Obviously there is are steps and actors in this process that we are completely ignorant of at the moment.

No matter how much we think we know there always has to be a certain sense of humility that we may not have all the facts.

[ Edited: 30 March 2012 05:42 PM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 30 March 2012 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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asanta - 29 March 2012 11:07 PM
Coldheart Tucker - 29 March 2012 09:50 PM

Not to mention that as a result of taking another drug to improve the effectiveness of the Avodart, I’ve developed an ulcer, so I’m forced to take acid reducers and eat a very bland diet.)

I sure hope your Doc tested you for H.Pylori and has prescribed a course of antibiotics for that ulcer…

Nope.  I discussed that with two different docs and both of them agreed that the likelihood of it being caused by the doxazosin is overwhelming and that I should just keep swallowing acid reducers.  I’ve noticed some improvement since I started taking them, so presumably its the right course of treatment.

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Posted: 30 March 2012 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 07:43 PM

]Nope.  I discussed that with two different docs and both of them agreed that the likelihood of it being caused by the doxazosin is overwhelming and that I should just keep swallowing acid reducers.  I’ve noticed some improvement since I started taking them, so presumably its the right course of treatment.

Since H. Pylori also causes stomach cancer in the long term, why wouldn’t they test you? There is no reason why you can’t have an H.Pylori ulcer while taking doxazosin, and it is easily cured with a short course of antibiotics.

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Posted: 30 March 2012 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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asanta - 30 March 2012 08:30 PM
Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 07:43 PM

]Nope.  I discussed that with two different docs and both of them agreed that the likelihood of it being caused by the doxazosin is overwhelming and that I should just keep swallowing acid reducers.  I’ve noticed some improvement since I started taking them, so presumably its the right course of treatment.

Since H. Pylori also causes stomach cancer in the long term, why wouldn’t they test you? There is no reason why you can’t have an H.Pylori ulcer while taking doxazosin, and it is easily cured with a short course of antibiotics.

I would imagine that they’re concerned about overuse of antibiotics (which is rampant in this area).  As I said, there’s some improvement, so I’m guessing that its working.

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Posted: 30 March 2012 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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macgyver - 30 March 2012 08:56 AM
Coldheart Tucker - 29 March 2012 09:50 PM

Why are you doing this?  Seriously.  You have latched onto a minor comment of mine, misinterpreted it (nowhere did I say anything about Proscar or Avodart being approved by the FDA for prevention, that’s all on you), and are flogging it as if it somehow changes the larger issue.  The point was that we don’t always get things right when it comes to drugs and their uses.  Change what I said about Avodart and Proscar to Cox-2 and how it was originally thought that the drugs could be safely given to people with no danger of stomach irritation or other problems, only to have it discovered that Cox-2 drugs (more specifically Vioxx) do, in fact, cause various medical problems (some times fatal), and the point remains the same.

As for Avodart and Proscar and prostate cancer, I’m not going to dig for the links which I read on the subject when I was first prescribed Avodart, but there was, indeed, thought that by giving it to people who were at risk for prostate cancer it might reduce (which is different than prevent) their risk of developing the disease, but studies have shown that this doesn’t appear to be the case.  And the reduced libido and impotence are really minor side effects when compared to the depression side effects (which are unrelated to any performance issues).  Personally, I’d prefer to have the “roto-rooter” treatment instead of Avodart, but without insurance, I’m stuck taking the meds, and even with insurance, the doctors are loathe to okay the surgery.  (They seem to think that the potential for “nerve damage” is somehow a worse outcome than spending ones days wanting to swallow the barrel of a gun for no reason other than your medication is screwing with your brain chemistry.  Not to mention that as a result of taking another drug to improve the effectiveness of the Avodart, I’ve developed an ulcer, so I’m forced to take acid reducers and eat a very bland diet.)

Coldheart I’m sorry, I know its often difficult to read intent on a message board but no offense was meant by my comments. As a physician I was simply trying to make sure the information presented here was accurate since there are others who read these comments besides you and I.

Well, for starters, I have no idea if you’re a physician or a dog, what with this being the internet and all.  (I could be Jimmy Stewart’s friend Harvey, for all you know.)  As for accuracy, I don’t think that anyone who would take medical advice from random strangers off the internet is going to be swayed to rationality (or the correct decision) by anything you or I post here.

In general with a few exceptions, physicians should not use a drug to treat conditions for which it has not been approved especially when we are talking about preventative treatments. If a physician was giving it to you for this purpose I was simply trying to point out that it is not standard of care in the medical community to do so. It seems you were given the drugs to treat BPH though if I’m interpreting your comments correctly and that is the intended and approved use for them.

While random pill-popping and sleazy drug reps pushing medication which is ineffective or for uses that they know won’t do the patient any good are all bad, I can’t say that I find the concept of off-label use to be wholly evil.  The method of drug testing and licensing in the US is lacking in many areas (for example, there’s no real long term follow up, so we’ve no idea how patients do decades later after taking a medication in many cases), and in my view, American doctors are entirely too cautious when it comes to serious medical issues.  In the early 90s I watched a friend die from AIDS, and I became acquainted with the ACT UP movement and saw how doctors were often unwilling to try something, anything, to treat people.  Certainly, one can understand the hesitation to experiment in cases where the disease isn’t fatal, but when you’re dealing with a medical condition which is terminal, throwing stuff against the wall to see if any of it sticks, doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me.  Granted, there’s the risk of making things worse or shortening the patient’s life, but rarely does one find themselves close to death and thinking, “Yeah, I lived the right number of years, I don’t want to live any longer, even if I was healthy.”

PBS had a documentary about ebola in Africa and they showed the efforts by WHO to control the outbreak of the disease.  During the course of filming, one of the African nurses came down with ebola.  The African doctors elected to give the nurse a transfusion from someone who’d survived ebola (and thus had antibodies to the disease) in hopes of saving her life.  They were forced to do this in secret, because the WHO doctors were opposed to this and would have stopped them.  The nurse survived, and the African doctors tried the same technique on the other patients who had the disease.  Something like 19 out of 20 of them survived (as opposed to a fatality rate of 50% or so).  The WHO doctors still objected to this, despite being witnesses to its effectiveness.  Again, caution should be the watchword when it comes to something like acne, but a nasty disease like ebola?  I say go at it with everything you’ve got.

I realize that there’s legal litigation issues when it comes to such things, but France seems to have a decent model when it comes to experimental drug treatments.  (Of course, they also have socialized medicine, and we can’t have that.  Because if we did, it’d soon lead to us all being rounded up and put into camps so that the government could harvest our organs and sell them to space aliens as aphrodisiacs.  wink )

I’m sorry to hear you’re not doing well with the treatment you were given. Depression is a very rare side effect with these drugs. In fact it occurs no more often in patients on the drug than in those who take placebo,

Actually, there seems to be a growing number of patients who are saying that the levels of depression are much higher than have been reported by the studies.  I do know that the intensity of depression is far greater than anything I’ve ever experienced before in my life, by a wide margin.

but if you are having that problem you should make it clear to your physician that it is seriously affecting your life, and that you need an alternative.

Will not do me any good, I’m afraid.  I have no health insurance and am reliant upon charity to pay for the cost of my meds, and the only thing covered is Avodart, so since I can’t afford to pay for better meds out of pocket, I’m stuck with what I currently have (I’m too young, it seems to get into any of the test programs, despite having a family history of BPH and prostate cancer.)

I mentioned the decreased libido and impotence because they are very common side effects. To the men who suffer from them they are not minor, especially if the reason they are on the drug is dubious ( ie. to try and reduce their chances of dying from prostate cancer). The “roto -rooter” procedure also known as a TURP is not usually offered as first line therapy for several reasons. Its invasive with all the associated risks of invasive procedures. It also comes with significant risk of urinary incontinence and impotence which can be permanent. It does not always relieve the symptoms and even when it does it may only be for a limited period of time, but when medications don’t work its an alternative worth considering assuming the person is a good surgical candidate. Only your doctor can determine that though.

At least one study has found that people treated with the TURP procedure are more satisfied with the results than folks are with medication.  (Think I read about the study on Science Daily.)

You are correct that we “don’t always get it right about drugs and their uses” because of the simple fact that we never have all the facts about how things work. That same philosophy applies to virtually everything in life though, not just drugs. You can only act on the information you have at the time. We can chastise the makers of COX-2 inhibitors for selling a drug that caused a small increased risk of cardiovascular events but the fact is that they didn’t know that when they were developing the drug. The rationale behind COX-2 inhibitors was a good one. In theory and in practice a drug that targeted prostaglandins involved in inflammation but not the ones that protect the lining of your stomach should provide a significant safety improvement over more broad spectrum prostaglandin inhibitors like naprosyn, ibuprofen, and aspirin.  Unfortunately the companies making these drugs didn’t realize that some of them slightly altered the finely tuned balance between thrombosis and thrombolysis that occurs continuously throughout our blood vessels. Altering that balance resulted in a higher rate of coronary thrombosis going to completion in patients who took these drugs and hence more heart attacks. Like I said though, you can only make decisions based on the information you have.

I think that after the news broke about the COX-2 problems, one of the makers was found to have covered up information about problems with the drug during testing.  We clearly need a system with more transparency and better ways of following patients after they’ve been taking a drug for a long period of time.

And as somewhat related to the OP (though from the AAAS and not some glurgy email) It looks like the herb thyme might be better at controlling acne than prescription meds.

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Posted: 31 March 2012 01:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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The problem with using a herbal remedy is dosage. There is no way to regulate a dosage in a plant leaf. The amount of whatever chemical produces the effect depends on many different variability such as sunshine, soil, variety, mutations etc, which is why digoxin glycosides were useless until they could be synthesized in the laboratory. On top of that, do you know the effect of a thyme overdose? Many herbs we tolerate in small amounts may be deleterious or lethal in large amounts.

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Posted: 31 March 2012 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:33 PM

Well, for starters, I have no idea if you’re a physician or a dog

You’re correct to be a skeptic and careful but you’re new here. The long term participants on this board will back me up on this. I do not bark.

Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:33 PM

PBS had a documentary about ebola in Africa and they showed the efforts by WHO to control the outbreak of the disease.  During the course of filming, one of the African nurses came down with ebola.  The African doctors elected to give the nurse a transfusion from someone who’d survived ebola (and thus had antibodies to the disease) in hopes of saving her life.  They were forced to do this in secret, because the WHO doctors were opposed to this and would have stopped them.  The nurse survived, and the African doctors tried the same technique on the other patients who had the disease.  Something like 19 out of 20 of them survived (as opposed to a fatality rate of 50% or so).  The WHO doctors still objected to this, despite being witnesses to its effectiveness.  Again, caution should be the watchword when it comes to something like acne, but a nasty disease like ebola?  I say go at it with everything you’ve got.

Something is clearly missing in this story. Documentaries often report the viewpoint of the filmmaker and not necessarily an unbiased presentation of the facts ( Michael Moore anyone?). It doesn’t make sense that all the physicians involved would completely ignore what appears to be a dramatically effective treatment for an otherwise untreatable and fatal disease. It makes a good story but i guarantee if you are accurately portraying what the documentary said then the documentary was going for emotional effect rather than journalistic accuracy. Were the WHO doctors interviewed? What was their rationale for objecting to the treatment? If the filmmaker didn’t ask those questions then he/she wasn’t doing their job. Do you have a link to the video or at least the title of the documentary?

Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:33 PM

I realize that there’s legal litigation issues

Its not just legal issues. Doctors are scientists and as scientists we try to adhere to the scientific method which means you don’t use treatments that are not objectively tested unless there is a good reason. The ebola case you describe above would be a good reason to try an unproven treatment which is why I think some of the facts are missing. In the U.S. there is a program whereby drugs that are still in the investigational stages can be released for compassionate use to patients who are facing a fatal illness and who have no other effective treatments available. That doesnt mean that it’s OK to try anything that anyone asks. Even if a patient has a fatal illness it is still possible to do harm and the physician is ethically obligated not to do that.

There are legal issues of course and the American public can blame themselves for that. I used to blame the lawyers but the fact is that we live in a country where people think that every misfortune perceived or real requires payment. That applies in and outside the medical world. Doctors are justifiably reluctant to offer treatments that can not be supported with studies and support from professional society recommendations.

Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:33 PM

At least one study has found that people treated with the TURP procedure

Even if true, that’s not reason enough to ever recommend TURP except as secondary treatment for the reasons i originally outlined.

Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:33 PM

I think that after the news broke about the COX-2 problems, one of the makers was found to have covered up information about problems with the drug during testing.  We clearly need a system with more transparency and better ways of following patients after they’ve been taking a drug for a long period of time.

There is a process in place for post marketing monitoring of drugs. I agree it would be better if there was more transparency although I think overall they do a pretty good job. One of the problems with post marketing analysis is that its all anecdotal with no control group so reports of side effects have to be looked at with a little bit of skepticism. Complaints of things like fatigue, headache, back pain, dizziness and virtually every common ailment often times get reported for every drug after it goes to market. Not because these drugs cause these side effects but because they are common human complaints and the “Nocebo” effect is at least as powerful as the placebo effect.

Its one thing to say there is a problem with the system and quite another to propose a reasonable solution and to come up with a sensible way to pay for it. If you charge the drug companies for the post marketing analysis system that you devise eventually it will come back to all of us in the form of more expensive drugs. Its easy to complain about a problem but much harder to solve it.

[ Edited: 31 March 2012 06:01 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 31 March 2012 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:53 PM

I have no health insurance and am reliant upon charity to pay for the cost of my meds ...

I’m very sorry to read that. It’s shameful that this should happen to anyone in a country rich enough to provide for all.

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Posted: 31 March 2012 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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asanta - 30 March 2012 08:30 PM
Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 07:43 PM

]Nope.  I discussed that with two different docs and both of them agreed that the likelihood of it being caused by the doxazosin is overwhelming and that I should just keep swallowing acid reducers.  I’ve noticed some improvement since I started taking them, so presumably its the right course of treatment.

Since H. Pylori also causes stomach cancer in the long term, why wouldn’t they test you? There is no reason why you can’t have an H.Pylori ulcer while taking doxazosin, and it is easily cured with a short course of antibiotics.

I agree with asanta on this point, especially since ulcer disease is not a common side effect of this particular drug.

dougsmith - 31 March 2012 05:54 AM
Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:53 PM

I have no health insurance and am reliant upon charity to pay for the cost of my meds ...

I’m very sorry to read that. It’s shameful that this should happen to anyone in a country rich enough to provide for all.

Agree completely

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Posted: 31 March 2012 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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asanta - 30 March 2012 08:30 PM

... why wouldn’t they test you?

Maybe

Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:53 PM

I have no health insurance ...

... is the reason.

blank stare

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Posted: 31 March 2012 11:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 30 March 2012 08:53 PM

I have no health insurance and am reliant upon charity to pay for the cost of my meds ...

I’m sorry to hear that. That this should happen to anyone, in one of the richest countries in the world, is deplorable.

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Posted: 01 April 2012 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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And at this moment, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas are doing all they can to ensure fewer people have available healthcare. They are a cancer.  downer

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Posted: 01 April 2012 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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traveler - 01 April 2012 07:03 AM

And at this moment, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas are doing all they can to ensure fewer people have available healthcare. They are a cancer.  downer

...a lethal cancer.

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Posted: 04 April 2012 06:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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asanta - 31 March 2012 01:10 AM

The problem with using a herbal remedy is dosage. There is no way to regulate a dosage in a plant leaf. The amount of whatever chemical produces the effect depends on many different variability such as sunshine, soil, variety, mutations etc, which is why digoxin glycosides were useless until they could be synthesized in the laboratory. On top of that, do you know the effect of a thyme overdose? Many herbs we tolerate in small amounts may be deleterious or lethal in large amounts.

And 100K people a year contract illnesses caused simply because they’re hospitalized, with something like 10% of them dying or suffering permanent harm as a result.  Clearly hospitals are dangerous places.  Thousands of people are given the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage because of pharmacy mistakes.  Looks like those are bad as well.  Thousands of other people discover they’re allergic to a particular medicine the hard way.  Wow, that looks bad too.  Maybe we should just stay away from that as well.  Of course, then you’re liable to get hit by a bus, fall on a dirty soup spoon and catch AIDS, so I guess staying at home is the best course.  Wait!  Then you end up like the Collyer Brothers!  That’s bad, too!

Life is a messy business, and no matter what happens, we run risks of things going horribly wrong at any moment.  While having medication produced by a reputable company is the ideal (and lets be honest, mistakes as well as fraud, happen in all industries, so even there, we have risks), one shouldn’t be dismissive of alternative/herbal medicines automatically.  If there’s legitimate science (i.e. published in respectable, mainstream journals, and not quack medicine ones) that says XYZ alternative/herbal item helps with a medical condition I have, then I’m certainly going to look into it.  If it’ll treat something minor (say a cold) at price lower than anything a doctor could prescribe me, I see no reason why I shouldn’t opt for that instead of seeing a doc.  If it’ll treat something major (ex: high blood pressure) and is inexpensive, I’ll take it and what my doctor prescribes (provided it doesn’t screw up the prescription medication, in which case, I’ll stick with the prescription).

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Posted: 04 April 2012 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Coldheart Tucker - 04 April 2012 06:34 PM
asanta - 31 March 2012 01:10 AM

The problem with using a herbal remedy is dosage. There is no way to regulate a dosage in a plant leaf. The amount of whatever chemical produces the effect depends on many different variability such as sunshine, soil, variety, mutations etc, which is why digoxin glycosides were useless until they could be synthesized in the laboratory. On top of that, do you know the effect of a thyme overdose? Many herbs we tolerate in small amounts may be deleterious or lethal in large amounts.

And 100K people a year contract illnesses caused simply because they’re hospitalized, with something like 10% of them dying or suffering permanent harm as a result.  Clearly hospitals are dangerous places.  Thousands of people are given the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage because of pharmacy mistakes.  Looks like those are bad as well.  Thousands of other people discover they’re allergic to a particular medicine the hard way.  Wow, that looks bad too.  Maybe we should just stay away from that as well.  Of course, then you’re liable to get hit by a bus, fall on a dirty soup spoon and catch AIDS, so I guess staying at home is the best course.  Wait!  Then you end up like the Collyer Brothers!  That’s bad, too!

Life is a messy business, and no matter what happens, we run risks of things going horribly wrong at any moment.  While having medication produced by a reputable company is the ideal (and lets be honest, mistakes as well as fraud, happen in all industries, so even there, we have risks), one shouldn’t be dismissive of alternative/herbal medicines automatically.  If there’s legitimate science (i.e. published in respectable, mainstream journals, and not quack medicine ones) that says XYZ alternative/herbal item helps with a medical condition I have, then I’m certainly going to look into it.  If it’ll treat something minor (say a cold) at price lower than anything a doctor could prescribe me, I see no reason why I shouldn’t opt for that instead of seeing a doc.  If it’ll treat something major (ex: high blood pressure) and is inexpensive, I’ll take it and what my doctor prescribes (provided it doesn’t screw up the prescription medication, in which case, I’ll stick with the prescription).

You sound like a realist.  I like this response.

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