Fosamax: Bone up on drug dangers and alternatives
The breaking news is that Fosamax, the popular drug for supposed bone strength, may cause “spontaneous fractures.” That means you could end up like Sandy Potter, 59, of Queens, New York on ABC News who claims she was in excruciating pain when she broke her femur due to jumping rope. Who knew?
Well, the signs were there: hidden in plain sight. “Fractures” are listed right on the package insert as a side effect, or in Merck’s words, “Low energy femoral shaft and subtrochanteric fractures.” Yeah, we all know what that means.
“We are seeing people just walking, walking down the steps, patients who are doing low-energy exercise,” said Dr. Kenneth Egol, professor of orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Very unusual, the femur is one of the strongest bones in the body.”
Egol adds that some of his patient’s X-rays from a minimal fall look more like they came from a car accident and he’s seeing this more frequently.
In my book, Nature’s Secret Messages: Hidden in Plain Sight, I write about “prescriptions for trouble.” Here are facts that require careful consideration before or when taking medications.
1. As Fosamax shows, we don’t know the long-term effects of drugs.
It took 30 to 40 years before we could see the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Doctors used to endorse cigarettes, along with some “miracle” drugs that were later discovered to be dangerous and even deadly.
2. Side effects could be confused as a symptom.
An article published in April 2009 in USA Today called “Drugs Cause Confusion in Elderly” stated that medications, both prescribed and over the counter, could impair the elderly. A patient could actually be given a wrong diagnosis because doctors don’t always recognize the symptoms as a side effect of a drug.
3. Combining meds may lead to a combination of problems.
Researchers have done very little testing on the effects of combining a variety of drugs and the serious complications — even death — that may follow. You can probably name several celebrities who died as a result of combining painkillers, antidepressants, and sleeping pills. But how often do you hear about celebrities overdosing on herbs?
4. Studies can be unreliable.
The New York Timess published a lengthy feature article in 2007 about the many ways in which clinical studies can be seriously flawed. In the words of Karl Menninger, M.D.: “One of the most untruthful things possible, you know, is a collection of facts, because they can be made to appear so many different ways.”
5. What about the side effects to the planet?
The more drugs we take, the more drugs our bodies excrete in waste, and the more they make their way into sewers and eventually into the environment. Research2 suggests that some of these drugs (as well as toxic substances in cleaning materials, shampoos, cosmetics and other personal-care products) can harm fish and other animals living in our waterways, which in turn can affect us.
Too often, our default is to pop a pill instead of trying a natural remedy first — even though certain foods and herbs are quite often just as effective as drugs (if not more so) and may not have the nasty side effects.
A 50 year-old colleague took a bone scan for the last four years and her doctor was shocked to see that her bones were becoming stronger each year while she was growing older. Her secret? Was she on medications? No. Was she eating a lot of milk and cheese? No. She actually went off of all dairy products. She went on an internal cleanse, eliminated junk foods, and started eating nature’s foods. Make bones about it — when the body is nourished, active, and working well, it can have more energy to repair and rebuild itself.
I offer a bone growth supplement system on my web site because the company, Garden of Life, gives a “grow bone challenge” for stronger, healthier bones or they’ll give double your money back if you qualify! They make you this amazing offer because they’re so confident in the Grow Bone System’s ability to build bone density by using natural whole food minerals to create bone growth.3
Also consider using acupuncture, which originated in ancient China, and is now widely used in the West as well as chiropractic, massage, Qigong, Healing Touch and yoga. These all have side effects that activate the natural healing processes of the body and restore physical and emotional well-being.
Nature’s food and natural remedies can be powerful drugs — hidden in plain sight. You and your health care practitioner may want to consider nature’s four billion years of wisdom to help you in all areas of your life, and then decide if medication is truly needed.
1. Taubes, G., “Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?” The New York Times, September 16, 2007.
2. Critser, G., Generation Rx: How Prescription Drugs Are Altering American Lives, Minds, and Bodies. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
About the author:
Elaine Wilkes, Ph.D., N.C., M.A., LEED, a self-proclaimed “learning addict” who discovered that the answers to life’s questions are found in nature’s magic. You’ll ask yourself, What would Nature Do? after you read Nature’s Secret Messages: Hidden in Plain Sight. Order Elaine’s Hay House book that was awarded a rare star recommendation from Publisher’s Weekly. Now available on Amazon at: http://tiny.cc/cHzqu. Discover the finest health products available at: www.ElaineWilkes.com