Sulindac, Clinoril, and Taking Ownership of Your Health

Posted by on Mar 5, 2013

Today’s NY Times ( Generic Drug Damages Case)  has a sad article about a law suit involving a woman who is now legally blind after taking a prescription pain drug, Sulindac, and almost dieing. Sulindac, or Clinoril, is an NSAID, or non-specific anti-inflammatory drug in the same family as Ibuprofen, and was prescribed by her M.D. for her shoulder pain. What kills me, first and foremost about this case is, why in heaven’s name did this woman’s M.D. not have her try  Ibuprofen first, which is comparatively safe for short term use? Why give a prescription NSAID, which practically by definition is going to have a greater risk of adverse additional effects?  Of course, why not prescribe acupuncture or massage first and drugs second, but that is besides the point.

Another problematic point in the article was this sentence–“Under federal law, generic companies are not allowed to deviate from the brand-name drug they are copying. Sulindac is the scientific name for Clinoril, a drug similar to ibuprofen that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1978 and is sold by Merck” Oh really. Federal Law. Problem is the generics are almost never made in the USA, but in India, China, Israel….so you really think anyone there is terribly worried about federal oversight. My point being, and i know, this is not what the article is about, but it raises the issue again of the safety of generics, when China and India cannot even regulate the safety of tooth paste, who is overseeing the regulation of generics. Use generics at your own risk. Even under federal law generics are not required to have the same per cent of active drug ingredient per capsule.

 

The bottom line is that people really need to take ownership of their own healing. Diseases are often a perfect storm of circumstances, including diet, emotions, lifestyle.

In Chinese Medicine, for example, unresolved grief weakens the Lung Qi, allowing cold to creep in and obstruct the downward flow, resulting in cough due to cold trapped in the lungs.  That is why asthma is often worse with sudden cold weather. Improper diet of cold, iced beverages and foods then adds to the cold, cold upon cold. If that patient then chooses to exercise in cold weather, like my patient who is a marathon runner with exercise induced asthma does, it makes it harder to help.

And cold lungs are more prone to dampness and phlegm, as they lack the fire to burn off surplus moisture. So now add to that a diet high in wheat and dairy, both of which engender dampness and you have a perfect storm–unresolved grief issues, cold diet, damp diet, exposure to cold weather. How can you cure this person with drugs, let alone acupuncture and herbs, if they don’t become agents for self-change and take ownership of their healing.

In order to truly heal, we have to deal with causes and not just effects, whatever form of medicine it is we practice.

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