Ibuprofen, A Common Pain Killer, Should Never Be Taken When…

doctor nan kathryn fuchs phd

Most everyone takes some type of over-the-counter medication. But did you know that even seemingly harmless medications can cause problems in certain individuals? In fact, some of the most common drugs can have devastating, even fatal side effects.

You’ve heard, for instance, that taking Tylenol can lead to liver toxicity. Now you need to add ibuprofen to the list of over-the-counter medications that may not be as safe as you once thought.

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reduces the inflammation and pain from arthritis. You may know it as Advil or Motrin. If you?re at a low risk for heart disease, it could be safe for you to take. But if you?re at a high risk for heart disease, ibuprofen could be deadly. And your risk goes up even more if you?re also taking an aspirin a day to thin your blood.

The researchers in a new study looked for signs of heart disease in 18,000 people over the age of 50 who had osteoarthritis. Then they followed them for more than a year. They found that people at high risk for heart disease who take both aspirin and ibuprofen are at serious risk for heart attack or stroke. In fact, their risk was nine times higher than those who take an anti-inflammatory such as lumiracoxib (a common painkiller sold in other countries). Both ibuprofen and lumiracoxib are NSAIDs, but differ in how they reduce inflammation.

People who took ibuprofen had an additional risk factor. They developed congestive heart failure more than people taking lumiracoxib. So if you must take a drug to reduce your pain and you?re at high risk for heart disease, avoid ibuprofen! Try to use the safer anti-inflammatories, such as lumiracoxib.

While ibuprofen might be safe for those who are not at risk for heart disease, I still think you need to find a better way to treat your pain. More and more information is coming out that suggests they?re not as safe as we once thought.

Lumiracoxib might help, but it’s tough to find in this country. It is sold in Canada, and in 20 other countries, which means you can order it legally over the Internet. If you would rather take lumiracoxib than ibuprofen, make sure you?re getting it from a reputable Internet source. Your pharmacist may be able to help you with this.

But for most people, drugs are not the answer. Consider safer anti-inflammatory products, such as turmeric, holy basil, and ginger. I’ve talked about natural anti-inflammatory substances in the past in my newsletter.

Your voice of reason in women’s health,

By Dr. Nan Kathryn Fuchs PhD

For more information about Dr. Nan Kathryn Fuchs PhD’s  Women’s Health Newsletter Click Here

Alzheimer’s Disease Reversed By Researchers In Minutes

doctor nan kathryn fuchs phd

This is no hoax. The end of Alzheimer’s could be in sight. A drug the FDA has approved for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis improved cognition within minutes in a patient with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

That’s right. Minutes. This means that an effective treatment for the people we know and love who have this deteriorating disease could be on its way.

Researchers in Southern California injected an anti-inflammatory drug called Entanercept (or Enbrel) in the patient?s spine, and the results could be seen immediately. Other patients not discussed in this article with mild to severe Alzheimer’s given this treatment had the same lasting results. The study has been published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroinflammation (www.jneuroinflammation.com).

Here’s how it works.

There are protein molecules called cytokines that allow cells to talk to one another. One of these is tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), considered to be the body’s “master regulator.” Too much TNF-alpha has been found in the spinal fluid of Alzheimer’s patients. Entanercept attaches itself to TNF-alpha and turns its signals off, reducing its amounts and inflammation.

“It is unprecedented that we can see cognitive and behavioral improvement in a patient with established dementia within minutes of therapeutic intervention,” said Sue Griffin, one of the editors-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroinflammation, and a pioneer in this field.

The medical community is beginning to recognize something I’ve talked about for years. Inflammation is at the core of many serious illnesses, such as heart disease, arthritis, infections, colitis, periodontitis … the list goes on and on. Now we’re seeing an association between Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation. This should be no surprise.

While foods and anti-inflammatory nutrients won’t calm down inflammation in the spinal fluid like Entanercept, it certainly makes sense to use them preventively.

Begin with your diet. Particular substances encourage inflammation, like sugar, omega-6 fats (in corn, safflower, and peanut oils), and those nasty trans-fats in many prepared snacks. Stop using them.

Antioxidants and omega-3 fats found in fruits, vegetables, fatty fish, and flax oil, are good additions to your daily diet and could be helpful in slowing down any progression to Alzheimer’s. Look through my website for more specific information on inflammation. It’s free of charge to all newsletter subscribers – and could be worth the cost of a subscription if you’re not getting my monthly newsletter.

Here’s a thought. Perhaps a lifetime of eating pro-inflammatory foods is the reason Alzheimer’s affects us as we get older.

Meanwhile, I expect we’ll see Entanercept eventually approved for use in Alzheimer’s patients for one reason. Enbrel powder and liquid are being co-marketed by two pharmaceutical companies, Amgen and Wyeth. Wyeth is hurting financially from the bad press given to one of their best-sellers: Provera. So I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about this drug.

Your voice of reason in women’s health,

By Dr. Nan Kathryn Fuchs PhD

For more information about Dr. Nan Kathryn Fuchs PhD’s  Women’s Health Newsletter Click Here