Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Patients who should not be prescribed drugs are given them anyway!

All pharmaceutical drugs have side effects. The conventional medical establishment recognises this. Many drugs should not be given to patients with certain medical conditions. In medical jargon these are called 'contraindications'. 

Yet a new study, published in the British Journal for General Practice, suggests that 40,000 patients with an irregular heartbeat are being treated with anti-coagulant drugs even though they are known to be at risk of serious adverse effects.

Doctors prescribe anticoagulants, such as warfarin and pradaxa, to patients with an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) to reduce the risk of stroke. Yet it is known that anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding, so doctors are advised not to prescribe them for who are at risk, for instance, if they have an ulcer, or are pregnant, or have previously had a stroke due to bleeding.

The study, undertaken by the University of Birmingham, investigated whether these contraindications had an effect on anticoagulant prescribing in the UK. In other words, were doctors following the guidelines, and protecting their patients from drug harm? As Pulse, the GP e-magazine summarised,

               "The researchers found that patients with atrial fibrillation and contraindications to anticoagulants were just as likely to be prescribed the drugs as those without any risk factors."

The author of the study, Professor Tom Marshall is reported as saying that the situation had not changed over the 11 year period under investigation:

               "Safety advice seems not to influence prescribing of anticoagulants. Patients considered a safety risk were just as likely to be prescribed the drugs. It was the same in every year from 2004 to 2015."

Marshall added that doctors should be more aware of the risks, and understand "whether patients might come to any harm"! NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) is absolutely precise in its guidelines, stating that "anticoagulants should only be used in the absence of contraindications". So the guidance is ignored by our doctors, and thereby patients are placed in harm.

Is this a problem? The study says that more research is needed to understand why GPs prescribe anticoagulants to at-risk patients! And whether some patients with contraindications might still benefit from anticoagulant treatment! Pulse itself goes on to mention another study that suggested one-third of stroke and mini-stroke patients "could be missing out on preventive drugs".

It would appear that whilst the conventional medical establishment knows it is using dangerous drugs, when they discover they are being used inappropriately they seek to justify the misuse rather than preventing it. They play with patients' lives! NHS Choices appears to confirm this when it states:

               "Warfarin is an anticoagulant, which means it stops the blood clotting. There's an increased risk of bleeding in people who take warfarin, but this small risk is usually outweighed by the benefits of preventing a stroke." My emphasis.

So what chance do patients have? Doctors certainly seem to be ignoring the overwhelming evidence that anticoagulant drugs are not only dangerous but lethal. I wrote about this in June 2014 in my blog "Atrial Fibrillation. The dangers of blood-thinning drugs" saying this about Pradaxa (a newer drug developed as a safer alternative to Warfarin).

               "Most of the complaints about Pradaxa were that the drug company failed to warn patients about the risk of internal bleeding. Yet did the FDA do anything about these complaints. Of course not! One piece of research indicates that Pradaxa can be blamed for a total of 1,158 deaths, and 12,494 serious injuries - just in the USA!"

This is a dangerous world for any patients who submit themselves to conventional medical treatment, with the medical establishment justifying the use of dangerous and lethal drugs, with pharmaceutical companies prepared to sell drugs and vaccines, quite regardless of the harm they cause, with drug regulators failing to take effective action to protect patients, and with doctors who are prepared to prescribe dangerous drugs to patients even when they have been told they should not have them!