Have you been taking Glucosamine for chronic low back pain?  A recent study has shown that this may not help when compared to a sugar pill, better known as a placebo.

I had no idea that more than 25% of people with chronic low back pain had tried Glucosamine at one point.

The article does mention some things that may help one with low back pain.  One of them is cognitive therapy…hmmm I wonder what they mean by that?  Are they trying to say the brain may contribute to chronic pain?

This is something that chiropractors have been preaching for a very long time.

You can read the article here.

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Percocet and Vicadin could get banned

Yesterday I wrote about more stringent warnings about acetaminophen (ACM). You can read that here.

Now a govt. agency is recommending that Percocet and Vicadin be banned due to the problems associated with ACM. The way that Percocet and Vicadin work is they combine a narcotic with ACM to fight pain.

ACM is combined with different narcotics in at least seven other prescription drugs have a combination with ACM and these will all be banned if the FDA listens to the advice of the experts. Vicodin itself is prescribed more than 100 million times a year in the US.

When the panel members were asked what the consumer could do to help themselves, most agreed that the there needs to be better education about the risks of these popular meds.

Dr. Jan Engle, a panel member and head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Illinois in Chicago, encourages people to keep track of what they are taking. ““If you keep track of what you’re taking, none of this is an issue for you.”

While I think that Dr. Engle is correct, you must take it one step further. You must examine what is causing you the pain you are feeling. If it is something obvious, say golf, you must stop. Taking a Percocet or Vicadin in order to play golf is only covering up the pain signals. Continuously covering these signals of pain is only going to lead to further problems down the road.

In the past I used to think that patients would only hurt themselves worse by taking a bunch of meds to keep doing what they want to do. Now I am afraid that taking these meds may actually really hurt someone, and to me that is unacceptable.

Acetaminophen is Getting a Closer Look

Acetaminophen (ACM) is the most popular over the counter drug for pain relief in the United States. There was an estimated twenty nine billion units sold in 2005. Twenty nine BILLION! Whoa, that is a lot.

The FDA recently released a report urging stronger warnings and stricter dose limits for drugs, like Tylenol® that contain ACM. The concern here is the apparent liver failure that people are experiencing after taking drugs with ACM in it. Research has shown that hundreds of people are experiencing liver failure and approximately 100 die each year from overdose whether intentional or unintentional.

One of the major problems is that people don’t realize how many products contain ACM. There are currently over 200 products that you may not even think about. Products like….Robituson®, Alka Seltzer Plus® and Sudafed®.

When the max recommended amount is 4,000 milligrams, one can see how it is not too hard to exceed that when one isn’t feeling well.

Now onto the rant portion of the blog.

I am not licensed to dispense drugs, I cannot legally give you advice, etc. What I am about to share is my opinion and should no way be construed as advice from an MD.

In my humble opinion most of this stuff is crap. It is bad for you, it covers up symptoms and does damage to vital organs. Do I understand there are situations where you need to take it…of course.

However, there is a large portion of the population that are taking these drugs for the completely wrong reason. If you need to take 4 Tylenol® before tennis and 4 Tylenol® after tennis just so you can play….STOP PLAYING.

Let’s assume that it is your neck that is bugging you. If you take the 4 Tylenol&reg before and after, you can swing the racket pain free. If you don’t you can’t. Now we know the pills aren’t fixing the problem, they are just covering it up.

One question then, “What is causing the pain?”

Shouldn’t we look into that?

“Oh, Doc I don’t have the time”….”It will go away”……”I think it is genetic, my mom used to get this when she played tennis”

Look you may not have the time now, but I can assure you, if you keep covering this problem up, you will have time in the future……your body will make sure you get it fixed.  I have seen this too many times.  What starts out as a small problem, can very easily escalate into a major problem if you keep patching it up.

End rant.

The experts say these drugs are safe if taken as they are intended and I don’t doubt them. When you sell 29 million units and only a small number of people get real sick from them, the problem is small. What I am more worried about is the prevailing attitude that we can just patch stuff up and it will go away.

Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t, do you want to gamble with your liver, kidneys, etc?