Digestive Problems

Dyspepsia & Arthritis Treatment: Mainstream Medicine’s Tunnel Vision

Date: 6 June, 2005
If you’d like to see a perfect example of mainstream medicine’s tunnel-vision view of healthcare, all we have to do is check the May 2006 issue of The American Journal of Medicine. But a word of warning:

If you have a low tolerance for painfully absurd health solutions, this one is going to hurt.

Dyspepsia: Lighting a match to a fuse

Dyspepsia is digestive malfunction that may prompt some or all of these symptoms: heartburn, nausea, gas, bloating and belching. To make matters worst, the cause of dyspepsia is often unknown. But for the millions of people who cope with different forms of chronic arthritis by taking nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), there should be no mystery about the source of dyspepsia.

As noted in many e-Alerts, NSAIDs seriously stress the digestive system. According to commentary in the journal Clinical Cornerstone, long-term NSAIDs use is responsible for 100,000 hospitalizations per year in the US due to upper gastrointestinal adverse events, and an estimated 16,500 deaths per year.

Researchers with the Veterans Affairs (Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System) and UCLA, conducted a meta-analysis of studies that compared rates of dyspepsia among patients who treated arthritis with
COX-2 inhibitors (such as Celebrex and Arcoxia), and patients who took a combination of NSAIDs for pain, and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs to address stomach upset.

Talk about a vicious circle! PPIs suppress stomach acid, which may provide temporary heartburn relief, but also stresses digestion by reducing the acids that are necessary to digest food. And in an e-Alert earlier this year, I told you about a study that found PPI use to sharply increase the risk of digestive inflammation and diarrhea caused by a bacterium that’s usually kept under control by wait for it stomach acid!

The UCLA/VA team found that when over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs were compared to COX-2 use,
COX-2 users lowered dyspepsia risk by 12 per cent.

The same comparison for the NSAIDs/PPI combo reduced dyspepsia risk by more than 65 per cent.

In a UCLA press release, the director of the study, Dr Brennan M.R. Spiegel, noted that NSAIDs combined with PPI drugs may prove to be the preferred treatment for arthritis patients at high risk for stomach problems.

This is great news! Not for arthritis patients, of course, but for drug companies. Just imagine how many doctors and patients will read this, accept the tunnel-vision view, and proceed as if they’ve found an easy solution for arthritis pain AND the digestive problems caused by painkilling drugs.

Dyspepsia: Go to town

Some time ago, I told you about two alternative treatments for dyspepsia: 1) capsaicin, a phytochemical that occurs naturally in red peppers, and 2) Potters Acidosis, an herbal formula that HSI Panelist Dr Allan Spreen recommends for indigestion, acid reflux and other stomach problems.

But arthritis patients may not need ANY treatments for dyspepsia if they avoid prescription medications and try one of these non-drug methods to address pain:

GLUCOSAMINE & CHONDROITIN SULPHATE: In many HSI Members Alerts and e-Alerts weve examined these two essential components of cartilage that are naturally produced by the body, and in supplement form have been shown to slow and even reverse the degenerative effects of osteoarthritis.

COD LIVER OIL: About 18 months ago, I told you about research that shows how cod liver oil may reverse the actions of the enzymes that break down cartilage. In fact, studies suggest that taking cod liver oil can even prevent the development of arthritis, while reducing symptoms in those already afflicted with the disease.

NICOTINAMIDE: In a National Institutes of Health study, this anti-inflammatory nutrient (a derivative of niacin – also known as vitamin B3) relieved arthritis pain by almost 30 per cent and improved range of motion and flexibility in joints.

ACUPUNCTURE: I have also told you about a study of 570 patients with knee osteoarthritis. Among the subjects who were treated with acupuncture, 40 per cent reported reduced pain. These subjects also had significant improvements in knee mobility and function.

Sources:

Comparing Rates of Dyspepsia with Coxibs Vs.
NSAID+PPI: A Meta-Analysis The American Journal of
Medicine, Vol. 119, No. 5, May 2006, sciencedirect.com
Drug Combo Significantly More Effective in Reducing Dyspepsia in Arthritis Patients UCLA News, 5/3/06, newsroom.ucla.edu Med Diet Could Slash Alzheimers Risk Food Navigator, 4/18/06, foodnavigator.com
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