Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Should we trust drug research?

Yesterday, there was extensive cover in the media of a report that common prescription and over-the-counter medications could give rise to various problems if taken in combination. There was no indication as to which combinations could cause problems as it is clearly not practical to test every possible combination. This report was clearly of concern to Mrs EP, in that she takes two of the prescription drugs mentioned. Obviously a visit to our GP is now in order. Add to this the fact that she has been told to avoid grapefruit as it is known to "strengthen" the drugs leading to the possibility of the equivalent of an overdose, it becomes clear that our knowledge of how drugs work in combination with not only other drugs, but with common foods, is very limited.
Today it is reported that Britain has been hit by a five-fold rise in cases of measles. Could this be because the measles vaccination is only offered as part of the triple MMR vaccination? Although Andrew Wakefield's research has been rubbished by the UK medical authorities, the main complaint against him seems to have been the manner in which he got blood samples for his research, rather than his actual findings, and it is clear that many people are still very wary of the triple vaccine.
This latest report concerning combinations of drug will only add to the concerns in the eyes of the general public Should one have vaccinations (of any kind) if one is taking medication? What real research has been carried out into combinations of vaccines?
Fortunately, the problem doesn't concern me personally at the moment; I've managed to reduce my regular medication to just 3-4 units of alcohol per day!


  1. I'm with you on this one EP. GP's hand out drugs without consideration of medication they may have recently prescribed. That happened to me recently and when I mentioned a previous prescription she thanked me for bringing it to her notice! As it was, I shredded that particular prescription because when I researched the drug I thought it would do more harm than good.

    They don't know and that's all there is to it, so it's up to us to take responsibility.

    Why is it men require such little medical assistance. I thought this country was all for equality. :)

  2. My brother is an unemployed medical researcher. He says that serious research universities today - (and also non serious insitutions) are just interested in bringing in money, not actually discovering things or finding things out in research. That is one of the reasons why we don't have as many medical advances today as in the 50's and 60's.

    I also agree with you on it not being right that MMR alone is only being offered and not the single measles vacination. People should be able to chose for themselves.

    I don't really trust vaccinations myself unless they are really necessary.

    Agree with subrosa too - they don't know it all and we have to look out for ourselves.

  3. Subrosa,
    I only go to the doctor's when when Mrs EP forces me to do so. My excuse is that normally his medicine will make me better within a week, without it, I'll be better within seven days!
    My son-in-law is a Professor of Mathematics. In applying for a research grant a colleague provided him with a list of all the buzz words which ought to be included in the application to maximise the chance of success. Have you ever heard of "Ethnic" mathematics?

  4. I get joint pains in my knees, especially on Sunday when I do a fair amount of kneeling in Church.

    My GP recommended that I take Ibuprofen (max 400 mg) and Paracetomol (Max 1000 mg) together, if I don't do it all the time - and it certainly gives a great deal of relief.
    I would never have mixed painkillers like that without advice.