In medical abbreviation, we term this the “PARQ”, standing for Procedure, Alternatives, Risks and Questions.  Whenever your provider offers you a new medication, supplement or procedure, these must be documented as having been discussed.  In a 10-15 minutes office visit, how can you address what has taken me 5 pages in 12-point font to convey?! You can’t, and you can’t be expected to read the research and analyze the statistics yourself.  Google even has biases. As Naturopathic Physicians, this is why we focus our efforts on “the alternatives” of PARQ, by starting with the basics in restoring normal function and reducing toxicity we often don’t need to use pharmaceuticals.  Alternatives such as nutrients, homeopathics and botanical preparations often carry far fewer side effects and because they are not composed of isolated compounds, have synergistic compounds which help reduce toxicity and improve efficacy. These treatments are also used in a completely different manner – instead of suppressing normal symptoms vitalistic naturopathic treatments are designed to support normal function and physiology, not change it.  Pharmaceutics should never be a first line therapy in any disease or symptom and no drug is without side effects. This is your life and you are only given one body to live that life, please don’t take decisions regarding your health lightly – ask more questions, consult the internet, books and colleagues. Gather all the information before you decide, and we are happy to help you make a decision that is right for you and your unique situation. Thank goodness we have the heavy hitting pharmaceuticals when we really need them, and emergency medical situations are a prime example of when pharmaceuticals are a true blessing.  Hopefully someday, insurance companies and our health care system will see the benefit of reducing pharmaceutical disease management, and we will see therapies such as nutritional counseling and nutritional, homeopathic and herbal supplementation start to be universally covered, allowing for more treatment options for patients, and reservation of pharmaceuticals to when they’re really needed.

Part 1: Pharmaceuticals: To Prescribe or Not Prescribe?

Part 2: Understanding the risks of a drug:

Part 3: What about the research?

Citations:

  1. Michael Schroederm Death by Prescription, US News and World Report,
    https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-danger-in-taking-prescribed-medications
  2. What researchers mean by Statistical Significance;
    https://www.iwh.on.ca/what-researchers-mean-by/statistical-significance
  3. Prozac full prescribing information:
    http://pi.lilly.com/us/prozac.pdf
  4. Flonase full prescribing information:
    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2004/20549slr016,20548slr020,20121slr030_flonase_lbl.pdf
  5. Eszopiclone full prescribing information:
    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/021476s030lbl.pdf
  6. Bupropion full prescribing information:
    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/018644s043lbl.pdf
  7. Ioannidis JPA. Contradicted and Initially Stronger Effects in Highly Cited Clinical Research. JAMA. 2005;294(2):218–228. doi:10.1001/jama.294.2.218
    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/201218
  8. Lexchin J, Bero LA, Djulbegovic B, Clark O. Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic review. BMJ. 2003;326(7400):1167-70.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC156458/

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