Off-Label High Blood Pressure Drugs…


Did you know that any type of surgery increases yourheart’s need for oxygen? Well, that’s not hard tobelieve but this is . . . New research has found thatdoctors are passing out high blood pressure meds (BetaBlockers) after surgery, which increases the risk of strokeor even death. It all sounds innocent enough really, but is it worthbetting your life on? Surgeons claim they want to reducethe strain on your heart from its efforts to increaseoxygen.  But this is a natural function of your body’s automaticrepair and regeneration process, why even mess with it? Ifyour body needs more oxygen to heal does it make sense tochemically slow the heart? Don’t they sell enough drugs in this country? I meanseriously folks, the only business that seems to beprospering these days are the drug companies, the bio-techindustry and the oil companies. Perhaps it’s time to step away from things that haveproven more harmful than helpful and return to a saner,less expensive and naturally safer solution for some ofthese issues. Single-pay healthcare would be nice as long as people stillhave the right to seek natural alternatives to radiation,the knife and chemical treatments.  Imagine some of the problems that would simply go away, asif they never were. But as it is, I see nothing but bigcompanies making thousands of billions of dollars off thesick and elderly . . . and people aren’t getting anybetter either. Debt, disease and death are only on therise. Know what I mean?  Approximately 100 million people have a major “non-heart” surgery every year in the US. Just imagine how many people that are given Beta-Blockers to reduce the strain on their oxygen-starved hearts and have a stroke or die because of it . . . the real numbers would shock you. Don’t enough people die from “properly” prescribed drugs?  According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),adverse drug reactions from drugs that are “properly”prescribed and “properly” administered cause about106,000 deaths per year, making “properly” prescribeddrugs the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S.   Other than for the sake of selling more drugs andincreasing Big Pharma profits, there is no justification for this. It’s no wonder insurance rates are so extremely unaffordable for so many people. Do I sound a little annoyed? You bet I am. If you’re notupset, you’re simply not paying attention yet. The technical term for this over prescribing is called”off-label” use. Rarely will a doctor prescribe anoff-label prescription for an office visit, it happens butnot nearly as often as off-label prescriptions fromspecialists and surgeons. Here’s a snippet from an ambulatory study I found: Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys from1999 to 2002 were used in this study.  Physician visits at which beta-blockers were prescribed(beta-blocker visits) were included and classified as”within-label” or “off-label visits” according towhether an approved indication for the beta-blocker wascoded for the visits. A total of 3349 million visits were made to office-basedphysicians during the study period. About 65% of all visitswere prescribed with at least one medication (that’s 2167million medication visits!). Beta-blockers were prescribed in 5.9% (127.3 million) ofall medication visits in the years 1999 to 2002. The 3 mostfrequently prescribed beta-blockers in this study wereatenolol, metoprolol, and propranolol.      * The proportions of off-label use among beta-blockervisits were 44.3% (1999), 56.3% (2000), 62.3% (2001), and46.9% (2002); overall, 52.0% (That’s 66.2 millionoff-label prescriptions!).Did I get your attention yet? About 11% (75.7 million) of these off-label uses wereprescribed to patients with concomitant (all ready takingother drugs) conditions that required judicious use ofbeta-blockers. Specialists, such as cardiologists, weremore likely to prescribe beta-blockers for off-label usethan primary care physicians (odds ratio, 2.147; 95% CI,2.1464-2.1473). Conclusion:This study found that the off-label use rate ofbeta-blockers was higher than what has been previouslyreported for other diseases and medications. Compared withvisits made to general practitioners, visits made to”specialists” (surgeons) were more likely to beprescribed off-label use of beta-blockers. Future studiesare needed to understand the legal, economic, and clinicalimpact of off-label use.Anyway, I thought this justified a slightly longer thanusual letter this week. Thanks for letting me share thiswith you. Bottom line is too many drugs are beingprescribed for no good reason when safer more affectivealternatives are being ignored. My Mother suffered from a drug-induced stroke, so thiswhole issue affects me directly and personally. Remember Hypocrites said, “First do no harm”==>>  Live well,

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