The strange thing about pain control medication is that many studies have shown that even a placebo tablet can work for pain management, and that also applies to serious pain. When intravenous pain medication is given to patients post operation, and this is changed without telling the patient to some non-active coloured ingredient, then there is no change in their pain management control. This work has always been a great mystery to me, that people respond in such erratic ways to a placebo for all kinds of problems and yet cannot just change their mind and wish their diseases away.
In theory this should be possible based on the thousands of placebo controlled studies showing people responding to a range of different diseases. Yet asking someone to just change their mind to change the disease does not work nearly as well as giving someone a placebo pill. Perhaps it is the symbolic value of things, and why giving a present to someone, or hugging or some other powerful symbol can work wonders and even magic.
Painkillers that kill the patient
The patient, Sheila Bertels living in the USA, walked out of the doctor’s office with a prescription for three drugs to control her pain. They are called the ‘holy trinity’ by many drug addicts, and include the powerful painkiller Hydrocodone, the anti-anxiety Xanax and a muscle relaxant known as Soma. In total the pharmacist handed her 510 pills following the doctor’s prescription. Later that same day she was found dead in her apartment. The medical examiner concluded that she had died from multiple drug toxicity, just another victim of the pain medication epidemic happening in the USA, but also increasingly all around the world. The doctor who prescribed the drugs is being held responsible for this death and charged with second-degree murder. In the USA 91 people die every day from the abusive use of opioids. Opioids killed more than 33 000 Americans during 2015 and in 2014 1,3 million Americans were hospitalised for opioid-related issues.
Clearly this is not only an abuse by patients, who often don’t know what they are doing, but a more serious abuse by medical professionals who should know what they are doing.
Pharmaceutical companies are also now being included into the equation for spreading bogus science to mislead patients and also their doctors, who are often too busy to check the story themselves.
As I keep pointing out in these newsletters, drugs are synthetic chemicals, which by their very nature interfere with function, and while they are often life saving, it does sometimes come with a serious cost. Make sure you read the small print and don’t take the doctor’s words as gospel. This is very serious medicine.