This post is the second in a series taken from the article by Keith Wassung entitled “Inflammation and the Healing Process”. This series focuses on Inflammation and the Healing process, Drugs & Inflammation, Central Nervous System & Inflammation and Inflammation and the Healing process: Conclusion. This week’s post looks at Drugs & Inflammation.
Drugs & INFLAMMATION
There are more drugs designed to fight inflammation in the human body than any other single category of drugs. NSAIDs are taken regularly by approximately 33 million Americans!
Anti-inflammatories stop or disrupt inflammation by suppressing or altering the chemical signals associated with the inflammatory response. This interrupts the natural healing process and can often lead to conditions of chronic inflammation.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are often used to stop inflammation, but they may not be strong enough or may have too many side effects. NSAIDs work by inhibiting production of prostaglandins, the chemicals in our bodies that enhance inflammatory effects.
Prostaglandins are also important to the normal functioning of a number of other processes including digestion. Because of this, inhibition of prostaglandins by NSAIDs can cause indigestion and stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Corticosteroids are immunosuppressive. This means that they reduce the activity of your immune system. A healthy immune system helps defend your body against bacteria, viruses, and cancer.
Use of corticosteroids decreases the body’s helpful immune activity, which can increase susceptibility to infection and interfere with the healing process.
FDA probes new worries about acetaminophen.
Washington. (AP) Evidence that many Americans may poison their livers by unwittingly taking toxic doses of acetaminophen has the government considering if the consumers need stiffer warnings about the popular painkiller. Data suggests acetaminophen over dosages could be a bigger cause of liver failure than some prescription drugs recently banned for liver poisoning.6
“Chronic kidney failure affects about thirteen million Americans. In many patients, this condition eventually becomes end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis and/or kidney transplant. Currently, there are 350,000 Americans undergoing kidney dialysis or having kidney transplant operations. Risk factors include smoking, taking certain drugs, and exposure to chemicals. Among the drug risks is the heavy use of over-the-counter analgesic preparations including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, Advil, Aleve, etc.). Injected or oral illegal drug use may be a previously underestimated and potent risk factor for development of chronic kidney disease.7
-Dr. William Bennet
Corticosteroids are commonly used for the treatment of allergies, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory conditions. I consider them dangerous drugs, much misunderstood, abused and over prescribed. Steroids cause allergies and inflammation to disappear as if by magic. In fact, the magic is nothing more than direct suppression of the immune system. Steroids are toxic, cause dependence, suppress, rather than cure disease, and reduce the chance of healing by natural treatment. Moreover, they weaken immunity.8
–Andrew Weil, MD
Antibiotics, the very drug prescribed to fight bacterial infections, also impair the body’s immune system. This paradoxical effect was first reported in 1950 but was dismissed because researchers could not confirm their findings. Then, in 1972 researchers at the Baylor school of medicine in Houston rediscovered that antibiotics can prevent white blood cells from attacking and destroying bacteria.
6. CNN, March 27. 2000, FDA probes new worries about acetaminophen.
7. Bennett, W. (National Kidney Foundation) 1993.
8. Weil, A. MD, Spontaneous Healing, Ivy Books, 2000.