Barry Beyerstein - The Sins of Big Pharma
Posted: 24 July 2006 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hope it is okay if I start this discussion regarding the last episode about Big Pharma. I didn’t see any previous thread…

I liked the show.. as always. But, I have one important correction to make. "Restless Leg Syndrome is NOT a made up illness by big pharma to sell a drug, And it is NOT just twitchy legs or "excess energy".

I suffered (and I mean SUFFERED) from RLS for about three months 2 years ago… and came close to killing myself because of it. My doctor had no idea what was wrong with me. I was prescribed muscle relaxants.. sleeping pills.. anti-depressants and eventually I self-medicated with alcohol, but nothing worked.

This is what it was like: Imagine that you are falling asleep.. and the second you actually doze off, you wake up and leap out of bed because you feel like if you don’t you will DIE! It became so severe that not only did I need to move my legs.. but my arms would flail about as well. I became seriously sleep deprived.. and as you can imagine, depressed.

Like I said, my doctor didn’t know what was wrong with me. I started researching my symptoms on the internet and found that there had been a study done (people with RLS had donated their brains after death to the study) that found a correlation with metabolism of iron in the part of the brain which deals with dopamine, OR severe anemia. I won’t go into all the science here, but you can read about it at:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthology/story?id=188380

So.. I returned to the doctor with my research and she ordered blood work. Turns out I was so anemic she said I was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion. The anemia was due to a difficult menopause. I immediately began taking iron and vitamin C (to help with the absorption of the iron) and within 4 days my RLS disappeared and has never returned.

Now.. is Big Pharma still wrong to try and sell via TV ads treatment for RLS? Not sure. Thank goodness I was able to treat my RLS with some cheap vitamin supplements. There are people who have normal iron levels in their blood, but their brains can’t metabolize the iron properly, so they end up with RLS. After what I went through, I would do ANYTHING to not suffer RLS. Maybe one of the problems is that the name of the illness sounds so trivial. It was not trivial for me. And, I bet if you had it, it wouldn’t be trivial to you.

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Posted: 24 July 2006 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Barry Beyerstein - The Sins of Big Pharma

Hope it is okay if I start this discussion regarding the last episode about Big Pharma. I didn’t see any previous thread…

I liked the show.. as always. But, I have one important correction to make. “Restless Leg Syndrome is NOT a made up illness by big pharma to sell a drug, And it is NOT just twitchy legs or “excess energy”.

I suffered (and I mean SUFFERED) from RLS for about three months 2 years ago… and came close to killing myself because of it. My doctor had no idea what was wrong with me. I was prescribed muscle relaxants.. sleeping pills.. anti-depressants and eventually I self-medicated with alcohol, but nothing worked.

This is what it was like: Imagine that you are falling asleep.. and the second you actually doze off, you wake up and leap out of bed because you feel like if you don’t you will DIE! It became so severe that not only did I need to move my legs.. but my arms would flail about as well. I became seriously sleep deprived.. and as you can imagine, depressed.

Like I said, my doctor didn’t know what was wrong with me. I started researching my symptoms on the internet and found that there had been a study done (people with RLS had donated their brains after death to the study) that found a correlation with metabolism of iron in the part of the brain which deals with dopamine, OR severe anemia. I won’t go into all the science here, but you can read about it at:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthology/story?id=188380

So.. I returned to the doctor with my research and she ordered blood work. Turns out I was so anemic she said I was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion. The anemia was due to a difficult menopause. I immediately began taking iron and vitamin C (to help with the absorption of the iron) and within 4 days my RLS disappeared and has never returned.

Now.. is Big Pharma still wrong to try and sell via TV ads treatment for RLS? Not sure. Thank goodness I was able to treat my RLS with some cheap vitamin supplements. There are people who have normal iron levels in their blood, but their brains can’t metabolize the iron properly, so they end up with RLS. After what I went through, I would do ANYTHING to not suffer RLS. Maybe one of the problems is that the name of the illness sounds so trivial. It was not trivial for me. And, I bet if you had it, it wouldn’t be trivial to you.

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Posted: 24 July 2006 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I wonder if I had bouts of the syndrome about 10 years ago, just after I moved to Hong Kong…I used to wake in the middle of the night with severe leg cramps (work on my feet all day) so much so that I was getting muscle damage from the cramping. I had to flex my calves to quell the pain.

They looked at circulation an all that used the best devices they had (excluding the machine that goes PING) and couldn’t figure out the problem. Finally one clever young doctor suggested a heating pad, his hypothesis was that my legs were very tired from work and being winter it was too cool for them to relax properly so they would cramp to force relaxation. This being Kong Kong I had no heater (it only gets down to around 8∞C at night) and didn’t “feel” cold, but the suggestion did prove to resolve the problem.

I believe that medical practice is still quite shamanistic in a way. My experience from the GP’s I have had is as much as 50% wild guess work mixed with statistics only for common disorders. And since the general public have this practice, more than anything else, as their evidence that the scientific method works, I wonder if our doctors actually harm the progress of groups like CFI…

If I get any more off topic we will fall through the rabbit hole.

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Posted: 14 April 2007 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I must agree with much of what Athena wrote. Although the interview was fair and interesting… i did startle when i heard the comment on how people with RLS were made to feel as if it was an “unworthy” malady.
My aunt has suffred with this for 5 decades and only 5 years ago did she finally get a diagnosis at 80!  that she had this. It has robbed her of restful sleep and made her irritable for much of her adult life. She doesn’t take any medication, because she said it made her too sleepy,  BUT she is happy to know now that people with symptoms like she has/d,  will now have a chance for adequate treatment.

Along the same lines, i was wondering after RLS was mentioned, if the two gentlemen would consider ADHD also to be, as they called some of the more recently recognized disorders…a “lifestyle” disease and not worthy of research or medicinal treatment?

Hope i am not opening a can of worms now…

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