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  • Antidepressants and suicide

    Posted By On Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 , 2 Comments »

     

    An interesting article was published in The Irish Examiner on March 5th – a front page headline no less. “Too many” suicides linked to depression tablets was the stark message which can be seen here.

    This particularly resonates in Ireland which has seen a recent sharp increase in the incidence in the suicide rate. There are now around 3 per day in a country with a population of just over 4 and a half million. We already know that antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour fivefold in children. This was work done back in 2010.

    Recognised adverse effects for Prozac, a commonly prescribed antidepressant of the SSRI-type, are known to include suicidal thoughts and attempts as well as aggressiveness, impulsiveness, restlessness, irritability and hostility.

    So, we need to think carefully about the use of these drugs particularly when there are safer alternatives such as herbs or dietary changes. These are at least as effective as prescribed antidepressants with none of those adverse effects.

    Warfarin and herb or food interactions

    Posted By On Saturday, January 28th, 2012 , Comments Off

    A homoeopathic colleague recently mentioned that a number of her patients taking Warfarin had been recommended not to eat green vegetables for fear of interactions. There are many concerns around what is safe or not safe to do when taking prescribed medications. The net result is that people may avoid the health benefits of certain foods and herbs. I have never heard a case of a drug being reduced or withdrawn because of a potential interaction. It is always the food or herb which is to be avoided. This fixes in people’s minds that prescribed medications are the first choice for treatment and all else must follow. In over 20 years of experiencing prescribing Chinese herbs to people, I have never come across a difficulty. There are some common sense precautions to take – more of which later – however, herbs (and foods, of course) are incredibly safe and gentle. More….

    Alternative treatment of cancer

    Posted By On Monday, January 23rd, 2012 , 2 Comments »

    There was a fabulous article in the Style section of The Sunday Times (UK) yesterday about Gemma Bond. She has been following an alternative medical trestment plan after a diagnosis of aggressive uterine and ovarian cancer in 2011. Her website set up by her daughter Laura is an inspiring and informative resource for people.

    In the article, there was a comment from Professor Peter Johnson at Cancer Research UK. He made the points that there was little or no evidence for alternative treatments of cancer and that such evidence may well be biased if undertaken by natural supplement companies. He seemed to dismiss any suggestion that doctors themselves or the pharmaceutical companies undertaking research into chemotherapy would be biased. In addition, he described as ‘crazy’ that doctors would withhold evidence for alternative therapies.

    Just to say that there is a wealth of evidence about the benefits of diet, supplements, herbal treatment and other treatment modalities in supporting people with cancer. I am posting up information regularly about the benefits of alternative medicine for many conditions. See links on the left.

    One comment by Laura Bond in her article is in relation to the lack of interest by the oncologist in what her mother was doing. This reflects my own experience where patients pursue alternative treatments and clearly improve, yet are never asked what they doing.

    Regarding evidence (or lack of) for the effectiveness of treatments, clearly Professor Johnson has not read the paper published by Australian oncologists where they state that the benefits of chemotherapy are generally in the region of 2% (that is not a typo, it is two per cent). When any such measured benefit does not take account of other things that people can do – diet, energy exercises such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong, visualisation and meditation – it is not unreasonable or foolish for people to decline chemotherapy treatments.