The next time you pick up that medication, STOP, and look at the insert. It is full of information regarding the medications and how to best take them and what side effects to expect. Most drug inserts are written by the manufacturer so BEWARE, they are usually down playing the facts that are required by law to inform you, the consumer/patient.
Testing On Humans
When the thought of testing drugs on humans arises, something from Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory often comes to mind. The truth is, "human subjects" are closely monitored, but this testing can be widely exploited.
Once the FDA has approved for "human subjects testing," the next step is to find some willing subjects to take and test a drug - that no one has ever taken.
Campus testing is quite frequent since most college students will do anything for cash. Ads will appear in local papers looking for willing subjects to test the products.
Some test subjects might have the symptoms that the drug is supposed to destroy; others are considered controls and have no symptoms, but are deemed to be normal. That alone is a scary thought.
Many times those individuals offering themselves for testing are not normal and are "down on their luck, low on cash, looking to score a high" - type subjects.
When you do human testing, like I used to do as a scientist, you are looking for numbers. This is called a large population study, which is more widely acceptable in the scientific community. Some researchers relax their testing standards and the edges are worn back on the strict guidelines.
Several times I have followed testing on human subjects for the National Institutes of Health and other governing agencies to find testing done on habitual drug users or just plain old "Street People." Most test subjects have a simple rule, they lie to make the testing protocol so they can get the cash.
The agencies do their very best to maintain standards, but several problems occur due to the massive amount of testing being done every day, by thousands of labs everywhere.
What happens when you step outside of the United States? Now you see why taking drugs from a foreign country isn't a good idea, according to the Food and Drug Agency (FDA).
Did You Know?
All product labels on Athletes.com are cross-referenced with the Prohibited/Banned Substances lists from all major athletic associations and world-wide anti-doping agencies. A few of these include: IOC (Olympic Committee), USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency), WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), NCAA, NFL, and many others.
The Real Scare
Sorry to bring your phobias to reality, but the fact is, more and more physicians have very little training in drugs and drug interactions. Most medical schools require only one course in pharmacology. It is determined by several larger medical groups that the average doctor understands approximately 5-10 drugs and their actions. That's it.
Sorry to boil you in oil, but that is the truth. Always check with your pharmacist on the questions of drug interactions and their side effects.
What Is That In Your Doctor's Hand?
Arnold Classic Fitness Weekend, - and yes, Arnold will be there in 2006 - every year, we have approximately 200 various specialty physicians and some are drug specialists, known as "Pharm D's", who work with us throughout the weekend.
This allows us a very strong database of possible drug interaction material, not to mention the palm pilots that we carry with Epocrates based programs that have tons of up-to-date, drug interaction material in them.
So you think all docs have this special little palm pilot? Ask yours. Go ahead, I'll wait... NO?
Why do we have to have this information? The FDA approves over 5,000 new drugs every year.
Keeping up with that kind of information is a full time job in itself.
What Is Safe Today, Might Not Be Safe Tomorrow:
Many drugs are geared to stop a symptom, but their long term use isn't tested. Long term use of drugs can actually lead to the original symptom that the drug was originally prescribed to remove.
Learn More About The Long Term Use Of Drugs Here.
The Main Offenders
Drugs in certain classes are known to cause slight weight and water weight gains. Aspirin and other Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatories are major contributors to the water weight gain.
Others are commonly known as anti-depressants: Paxil and Zoloft are just a few to start with. Several others are for heartburn, such as Nexium and Prevacid. I could write a book on the drugs and their interactions, but let's offer some guidelines to help you stay healthy and lean.
Other Common Drugs & Groups That Cause Weight Gain:
- Oral contraceptive pills
- Androgenic steroids
- Oral contraceptive pills
- Certain antidepressants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Certain tranquilizers
- Certain anti-seizure drugs
- Certain psychotropic drugs
- Certain schizophrenia drugs
- Certain anticonvulsants
- Certain salt-retaining drugs
Medications Causing Fluid Retention Or Edema:
Certain Medications That May Increase Hunger Such As:
Certain Drugs Are Better Choices
Some drugs have shown less side effects of weight gain and you should discuss their use with your physician.
For example, the drug olanzapine or risperidone usually results in weight gain, but changing this to a different drug in the same class such as a low-dose perphenazine, offers reduced weight gain. You have choices and being informed is the key to getting and staying lean.
Guidelines For Medication:
- Never start or stop any medication without discussing it with your physician.
- Always check with your physician and pharmacist every three months on the topics of drug interaction and long term use of a drug.
- Always discuss new symptoms with your physician and pharmacist.
- Always read the inserted material with your medications; you may be the only one who does.
- Stay informed by information provided on the Internet and through literature available at your physician's office and through your pharmacist.
- Always take medications as they are recommended, such as, with or without food, with water, avoid alcohol, etc. If you don't think that drugs can be approved by the FDA that might not be safe for you, try spelling BAYCOL or VIOXX into your web browser and see what comes up.
From FDA/Center For Drug Evaluation & Research:
FDA announced on August 8, 2001 that Bayer Pharmaceutical Division is voluntarily withdrawing Baycol (cerivastatin) from the U.S. market because of reports of sometimes fatal rhabdomyolysis, a severe muscle adverse reaction from this cholesterol-lowering (lipid-lowering) product. The FDA agrees with and supports this decision.
Merck & Co., Inc. announced a voluntary withdrawal of Vioxx (rofecoxib) from the U.S. and worldwide market due to safety concerns of an increased risk of cardiovascular events (including heart attack and stroke) in patients on Vioxx. Vioxx is a prescription COX-2 selective, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that was approved by FDA in May 1999 for the relief of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, for the management of acute pain in adults, and for the treatment of menstrual symptoms. Vioxx was later approved for the relief of the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in adults and children.
God helps those who help themselves; and hopefully you will feel more informed about drugs after reading this article. To learn more about specific drugs and/or if you are one of those physicians who don't want to say "No" when your patients ask you about the palm pilot, visit www.epocrates.com and stay informed!
What Else Can I Do To Stay Informed?