Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Drugs To Take, Drugs To Avoid?

I was thinking in general what I would take and what I wouldn't take with regards to pharmaceuticals. There are a few (hypothetical) situations were I would definitely take pharmaceuticals/medications, vaccines and treatments in general:
  • Anti-retrovirals, when faced with an persistent (and clearly identified) infection that causes problems
  • Same with antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Same with anti-fungals for fungal infections
  • Depending on the cancer – and carefully considering the options – I would be willing to take anti-cancer
  • I will take any recommended vaccines against deadly child disease like the usual suspects (MMR, Polio, and the like)
  • I would take vaccines against "new" diseases if there is an outbreak (or real risk of an outbreak) in my country, and if the disease has severe health outcomes (e.g. SARS)
  • I would take insulin if I had type 1 diabetes (T1DM)
On the other hand, there a few instances where I would definitely not take stuff from pharma or other kinds of treatments:
  • I will not take heart disease or vascular medication, especially "preventive" disasters like statins (I'm already fatigued from dairy, I don't need pharma to help with that. And anyway what is wrong with trying out Paleo?)
  • I will not take any medicals against diabetes, hypertension, obesity or the like (do Paleo instead, duh!)
  • I will not take vaccines against the latest hyped virus (e.g. a repeat of the bird flu disaster)
  • I will not take anti-depressives (cf. David Healy)
Furthermore I would try to avoid some forms of surgery (e.g. prostate cancer surgery, which seems to be a result of overhyping prostate cancer – not every "cancer" poses a danger). As a child I was subjected to a unnecessary tonsillectomy which by all means did more harm than good – were I a parent today, I would say no to such surgeries (and in addition the doctor suggesting this would run the risk of needing surgery himself).

But then there quite a few "gray areas". The influenza vaccine? If I knew.

That all got me thinking, would it possible to have a sort of guidance for this? Well, I came up with this, were I would more readly trust pharma:
  • The disease needs to have clearly defined adverse outcomes (e.g. like HIV/AIDS), so doctors can not substitute the reality of a disease with their narrative
  • The disease has to affect clearly many who are diagnosed with it, and not be some "risk number"
  • The drug has to have clearly visible efficiency (e.g. like insulin for T1DM), that does not does not rely on statistical analysis to show efficiency (e.g. definitely not like statins)
So if it is a disease that clearly kills or maims many, and if the treatment does not have to rely on statistical manipulations analysis to show that it does something, then yes, I would take that treatment. In all other cases I'd be careful. Patient discretion is advised.

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