Drug misuse kills 200,000 Chinese a year

Up to 70 per cent of the medication histories of elderly patients admitted to Auckland City Hospital have omissions or errors. A third of the discrepancies could give rise to discomfort or potential harm, the Auckland University study found.

But… this is nothing in comparison with 200,000 Chinese who die each year due to the drug misuse. Many chinese know a lot about their bodies and often self-prescribe. While this practice seems to be very safe when they use herbal remedies, it appears to be very fatal when they play around with pharmaceutical drugs.

Cochrane Collaboration: DO NOT trust pharmaceuticals

Money talks, and the drug industry’s dollar talks loud and clear through the pages of leading medical journals. That’s the conclusion of Peter Gøtzsche, director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen.

He compared reviews of drug studies funded by pharmaceutical companies with reviews done without pharma support. He recommends ignoring any meta-analyses funded by drug companies.

What is Cochrane Collaboration?

The Cochrane Collaboration, is the name of a group of over 6,000 specialists in health care who review biomedical trials and results of other research.

It is building on the enthusiasm of individuals, not on the funds from big pharma.

Cochrane Collaboration is considered to be the most reliable source for evidence-based medicine.

Did Cochrane Collaboration review any controlled trials on acupuncture?

A few recent reviews of acupuncture by Cochrane found it effective for :

  • chronic lower back pain (compared to placebo);
  • idiopathic headaches;
  • acupuncture reduced the need of ECV for breach babies and decreased use of oxytocin before and during labour;
  • acupuncture may reduce back and pelvic pain in pregnancy and it is more effective than group physiotherapy for this purpose;
  • acupuncture may be beneficial for the management of pain during labour;
  • massage may be beneficial for patients with subacute and chronic non-specific low-back pain, especially when combined with exercises and education; the evidence suggests that acupuncture massage is more effective than classic massage.


Reports from Cochrane on many other conditions treated by acupuncture conclude that acupuncture requires well funded large studies. I wish there was more money in acu.

Please also note that controlled trials on acupuncture are not usually funded by pharmaceuticals and therefore are a lot likely to be unbiased ;-)

Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Effexor and Zoloft

Antidepressants Get FDA Warning


Agency’s Recommendations on Suicide Risk Include Adults as Well as Children

March 23, 2004; Page D1

The Food and Drug Administration sharply stepped up warnings about possible risks to patients taking antidepressant drugs, asking doctors, families and caregivers to watch closely for signs of increasing depression or suicidal thinking.

The FDA asked the makers of 10 major antidepressant drugs, including versions of Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Effexor and Zoloft, to place more detailed, explicit warnings on the labels for their medicines. The FDA didn’t order the manufacturers to change their labels, but urged them to do so voluntarily. The new cautions would ask doctors to monitor patients for a variety of symptoms from insomnia and irritability to hostility and panic attacks that might possibly signal greater risks.

The announcement comes more than a month after an FDA advisory committee urged the agency to provide clearer warnings about possible risk of suicidal tendencies in children and adolescents taking antidepressants. Still, yesterday’s development went well beyond the earlier recommendations, and included adults as well.

The most immediate result may be that doctors, particularly those who don’t focus on pediatric psychiatry, become more cautious in how they prescribe antidepressants for kids and teenagers. They could start prescribing smaller doses and being slower to step up the amounts of medicine.

“People might wait until they’ve been in talking therapy a little bit, before trying drugs,” said Richard Malone, a child psychiatrist at Drexel University College of Medicine, who was a member of the FDA advisory committee.