Monthly Archives: September 2012

Clinical trials going AWOL

This morning I heard an interesting discussion between Dr Ben Goldacre (an epidemiologist) and Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry on Radio 4 where Dr Goldacre asserts that big Pharma regularly with-hold negative clinical trial data and thereby mislead doctors and patients who subsequently take these medicines without knowing ALL of the potential risks. In addition, the regulatory bodies fail to force these companies to publish ALL of the data.

Here the discussion here (available only till 2nd October) around 2hrs 35mins into the programme. Also check out an informative (and funny) presentation by Dr Goldacre at TED below. The bit about big Pharma misleading doctors is at 7mins  40secs (but watch the whole thing)

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Self medicating (saying no to antibiotics)

Hi,
I  had two ailments recently for which I would normally saunter off to the doctor and promptly receive (I would imagine) a prescription for antibiotics to cure me. But NO! I held out and saw both off with grit, determination and a dose of self-medication…

The first is a recurring sore gum which seems to rear it’s ugly head when I’m feeling a bit run-down. It’s actually I think an infection (fungal?) of some sort as my bottom left gum and cheek were sore and red and  coated with a whitish film that looked fungal to me.  The cheek also felt rough when felt with my tongue.

Due to my natural phobia towards doctors (over-prescribing, sheep mentality) and dentists (just scary) I decided that I would try and fight it off by myself. With a combination of crushed garlic (ouch!!!) pressed on the gum/cheek daily, garlic tablets,  swills of salt water and also taking of Pine Needle Oil (for apparently reducing inflammation and killing bacteria – I found out about this from my wife’s family who are Vietnamese).

I also remembered about bicarbonate of soda being an anti-fungal agent so I washed my mouth with this twice-daily –  I basically threw any anti-microbial thing I had in the kitchen/medicine chest at it! It finally subsided after around 3/4 weeks. Hooray!

The euphoria was short-lived as the second ailment which occurred two weeks later  (about 5/6 weeks ago now) and stayed for a month was (I guess) a chest infection that came from nowhere. Symptoms – coughing up lots of thick green phlegm everyday (sorry for the graphic description!). Again I treated this by myself with garlic tablets and pine needle oil tablets. It went on as I say for about a month and although I did feel like going to the doctor on a few occasions (particularly when my wife was nagging me) I resisted and again it went by itself.

The only other thing I did was to eat a healthy diet and get lots of rest which is easier said than done with a full-time job and 3 kids under 10 years of age…

Yes, a dose (or two in my case) of antibiotics would have undoubtedly got rid of these infections quickly but stepping back figuring out what is wrong and trying to treat yourself initially I think is the best way forward. Yes of course if things hadn’t got better I would have gone to the doctor (I’m not a masochist!) to seek help but if we did a bit more of listening to our bodies, supporting the immune system with natural products rather than run to the doctor we would all be better off (including financially…)