Drugstore non-Rx Painkillers, Not as Safe as You Think
The opioid crisis is getting a lot of attention now, but the highly-addictive Rx (prescription medications) are not the only class of pain relievers causing serious health problems in the US.
“The opioid crisis is an emergency — and I’m saying officially right now it’s an emergency,” President Trump told reporters last week.
“It’s a national emergency.
“We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.
“We’re going to draw it up — and we’re going to make it a national emergency,” “It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had.”
President Trump’s announcement came a week after a White House commission on the opioid crisis urged him to declare a national emergency. The move could free up more resources to fight the overdose epidemic and give the government more flexibility to deal with the crisis.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter late last month to officials in Washington State challenging the way the State has implemented marijuana legalization and asking them to address concerns raised by a Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) report critical of legalization.
That report, USAG Sessions wrote, “raises serious questions about the efficacy of marijuana ‘regulatory structures’ in your state.”
He cited portions of the report focusing on the diversion of legal marijuana out of state, drugged driving, and use by minors, all of which are areas flagged by The Obama Admin’s Cole Memo as possibly being grounds for federal intervention.
In a Federal Register notice dated 7 August the DEA is proposed reducing the amount of Schedule II opioid pain relievers manufactured in the US by 20% in Y 2018.
“Demand for these opioid medicines has dropped,” the DEA, citing prescription data.
“Physicians, pharmacists, and patients must recognize the inherent risks of these powerful medications, especially for long-term use,” said Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg in a statement. “More states are mandating use of prescription drug monitoring programs, which is good, and that has prompted a decrease in opioid prescriptions.”
At the Drugstore Counter
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could be even more widespread threat to the general public.
They are chewed like candy by millions of Americans to relieve aches and pains, NSAIDs are generally considered to be relatively harmless, especially over-the-counter (OTC) varieties such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
Hang on, they concoctions deliver users their own set of risks that include: stomach bleeding, stroke, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular hazards.
“I don’t think enough attention is given to this problem, especially among patients with an underlying medical problem that could be significantly worsened by even short-term exposure to non-steroidals,” says Dr. Michael Hooten, a pain medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“Because they are widely available and have been marketed as being safe OTC drugs for so many decades now, we have become callous to their adverse effects. I’d suggest that if those drugs had to face the rigors of testing to be OTC today, they may not be allowed.”
NSAIDs work by blocking enzymes vital to producing prostaglandins, lipid compounds that sensitize nerve cells to pain due to inflammation. Prostaglandins also affect the fever-control center of the hypothalamus in the brain. That’s why NSAIDs can reduce pain and fever.
But prostaglandins also serve as vasodilators to open blood vessels, affect blood clotting and have various other metabolic functions. So when they are inhibited, pain and fever relief aren’t the only results.
“Non-steroidals have an adverse effect on the kidneys, particularly in people who already have a reduction in renal function due to diabetes or some other disease,” Hooten tells Newsmax Health. “These drugs also cause erosion of the gastric lining, which can set up gastric hemorrhage, a life-threatening condition. And they can contribute to high blood pressure.”
One prescription NSAID, rofecoxib (Vioxx), was pulled from the market in 2004 because it significantly increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Researchers subsequently found that all NSAIDs were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) events.
“This CV risk was dependent on how long the drugs were taken and the dose,” notes Dr. Bill McCarberg, past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), on Medscape.com. “The higher the dose and the longer period of time taken, the more risk.”
That’s why experts recommend using the lowest effective dose of NSAIDs for the shortest period of time.
“The drugs are safer if used intermittently,” says Hooten, director-at-large of the AAPM. “Even in healthy people, problems arise when they’re taken on a regular basis, especially in the gastric tract.”
Since many NSAIDs don’t need prescriptions, a lot of people take them without consulting their doctor about potentially adverse reactions when used with other medications, such as some blood thinners and antidepressants. And seniors, who are the biggest users of NSAIDs, are more at risk because they are likely to have other health problems that could be exacerbated by the drugs.
“A safer option is acetaminophen, or Tylenol, which has no adverse side effects on the GI tract, kidneys or cardiovascular system when used at a safe dosage,” says Hooten. “But higher doses are associated with liver toxicity. The recommended maximum dose per day is 3,000 milligrams.”
You can also try to ditch the drugs entirely. Pain can be treated with acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, essential oils, herbal supplements, analgesic salves, and other therapies.
“Most people take non-steroidals for aches and pains that are muscular and skeletal in nature, so regular daily exercise can help,” says Dr. Hooten. “Exercise strengthens muscles and helps keep the mobility and range of motion of the joints intact.
“The take-home message about non-steroidals is just because you can get them over the counter, do not forget that they have very serious adverse effects.”
In my interview with Bruce Barren, a cannabis senior corporate adviser he says, “What appears be a good and safe alternative to this rarmpant problem, are products like those offered by such companies as Potnetwork Holding, Inc. (OTCMKT:POTN).
Potnetwork’s management believe that its premium based, over-the-counter sold CBD products, derived from hemp extracts, are effective in controlling epileptic seizures, reducing pain and inflammation, and may also be an effective treatment for mental health disorders, such as addiction and various forms of psychosis.”
|OTCMKT:POTN||0.05||11 August 2017||-0.01||0.0555||0.058||0.05||5,060,200|
|HeffX-LTN Analysis for POTN:||Overall||Short||Intermediate||Long|
|Neutral (-0.11)||Bearish (-0.41)||Neutral (0.02)||Neutral (0.06)|
Medical Marijuana Update
Connecticut Federal Judge Rules Employee Not Hired Because of Medical Marijuana Can Sue. A federal district court judge in New Haven ruled on Tuesday that a woman who was using medical marijuana in compliance with state law can sue an employer who rescinded her job offer after she tested positive for marijuana. The woman had previously disclosed her medical marijuana use and had quit her former job when, one day before she was supposed to begin her new job, the company notified her it was rescinding the offer. The ruling echoes one last month in Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court, and may signal the beginning of judicial recognition of the employment rights of medical marijuana users.
Arkansas Hasn’t Seen Any Grow or Dispensary Applications Yet. With the state halfway through its application period for medical marijuana grow and dispensary licenses, state officials said Friday that they had yet to receive any applications, but they weren’t worried. “We are not concerned, as we understand the applications require detailed and specific information that will take time to complete,” Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin told the Associated Press. “Applicants are likely performing their due diligence to provide quality applications.” The deadline for applications is September 18.
By Phillip Smith
Paul Ebeling, Editor
Have a terrific week
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