While trying to make sense of how adverse drug reactions occur in some people but not in others it is important to recognize that no two people utilize their biochemical pathways exactly the same. Even with people of the same age, sex and health status, pathway processes can vary. Slightly different pathways can have drastically different reactions with a wide range effect on health including death. This phenomena is called biochemical individuality. Just as nature made no two people with the same fingerprint, no two people have the same biochemical pathway.
Other risks for differences in susceptibility to adverse drug reactions is aging, long term use of the drug and interactions with other drugs. As the person ages, the biochemical pathway may change significantly. Research has shown the most significant change is from age forty to fifty. Unfortunately that often is the same time frame for ramped up use of prescription drugs. Prescription medications are often well established and chronic within this time frame. Regardless of age or duration, susceptibly to adverse reactions is due in large part to interaction of medication with other medication. Drugs are not tested with every possible contraindication (circumstances suggesting a drug should not be used). Certain gleaned knowledge will suggest a particularly medication should not be used in combination with another drug, but the side effects of all medication interactions simply are not tested. That would be an impossible exponential task. The bottom line, the older the person, the longer duration and the number of prescriptions, the higher risk of adverse reactions, often deadly. Also virtually unknown to medical community is another adverse drug reaction termed “drug induced nutrient depletion.” This occurs when a drug causes depletion of vital nutrients. The mechanism for this is usually by way of lack of absorption. To my knowledge there are no doctors or tests that take nutrition malabsorption into consideration, but it is significant.
Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Chris Farley, Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and now Whitney Houston. All apparent accidental drug overdose, with no illegal narcotics found on premises. All celebrities included alcohol in their self destruction, some rumored cocaine and morphine abuse as well. But no illegal drugs found on any premise. What Houston’s death should bring to the forefront is the reality that legal drugs under the auspices of treating disorders are killing people at a unprecedented frequency. Adverse drug reactions are not included in the government health statistics and therefore are not officially counted as being one of the leading causes of death. Yet FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs are a primary cause of death in the U.S. A study done in 1994 estimated that non error legally administered drugs in hospital settings alone caused about 106,000 American fatalities in one year. Add to that all the non-error, non-hospital settings, legally prescribed and it is seems likely the 106k would easily double. Heath Ledger’s legally prescribed non hospital deadly cocktail included OxyContin, Valium, Xanax, Restoril, Unisom, and Vicodin. Houston’s is rumored to be equally deadly.
A more stunning statistic, is that the total number of American iatrogenic deaths (caused by conventional medicine) is an astounding 783,936 per year. These numbers do include botched surgery, hospital caused infections, the hospital setting drug deaths mentioned above, the in error prescribed medications and all other errors. This number does not include the legally prescribed non-hospital medications mentioned above. Consequently, it is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death, even surpassing heart disease as the number 1 killer.
To accomplish their pharmacological goals, prescription drugs must be administered in large enough doses to overcome the body’s natural mechanisms of metabolization, detoxification and excretion from the body. Repeated doses hourly or daily accomplish this purpose by guaranteeing the dose rate is greater than than the body is capable of detoxifying, thus remaining in the bloodstream. Withstanding my bias, prescription drugs have thresholds below which harmful effects occur. Accordingly, drug doses are carefully calculated to ensure they are high enough to have a therapeutic effect yet but not so high to cause harmful actions. But the evidence does not support this. The sometimes deadly side effects do not depict a careful calculation. I reiterate, FDA-approved prescription drugs, many of which are highly-addictive, are a primary cause of mortality in America today, and yet they continue to flood the market unabated.
footnote: The FDA just recently stated that the low levels of lead found in lipstick are not harmful and furthermore the lead is not likely to be ingested. Hmm, low amounts of a infamous toxic heavy metal and not likely to be ingested. Seriously, if you believe the FDA is one bit about protecting you, I do have a bridge to sell you.
Ottoboni,Alice, PHD,(2002) The Modern Nutritional Diseases.Vicente Books.
Null, Gary, PHD. Documentary Death by Medicine.