Countering Side Effects of Drug Therapies, Radiation, and Recovering Health

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017

Everyone is aware that many standard treatments in medicine come with adverse health effects, euphemistically called "side effects" to distinguish them from the main treatment goal. Lists of potential pharmaceutical adverse effects seem to be getting longer and longer, and they are often so long that most of us no longer bother to read them. Often these treatments are vitally necessary to correct health problems, but leave one to worry about the obvious adverse effects on one's health. To alleviate these concerns Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM/TCM) provides an array of therapies. You may have chosen to utilize a harsh allopathic regimen to treat or manage your illness, infection, cancerous growth or injury, or you may be concerned about side-effects from chronic use of standard medications. For instance, in cancer therapy, chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation therapy destroy cancer cells, but also create much other damage to one's health, and with the use of interferon to treat hepatitis C, the patient is often left with anemia and immunohormonal dysfunction. Even with antibiotic and corticosteroid therapy, significant adverse effects may affect the health for some time, with destruction of the symbiotic micorbiome, marrow suppression, and even neurological dysfunction. With newer biologic technologies, such as altered antibodies and modified chimeric T cells, toxicity to the immune system with dysfunctional cytokine release syndromes and histiocytosis are not uncommon. Many patients now suffer from chronic disability from use of and withdrawal rebound syndromes of benzodiazepines, SSRI and atypical antipsychotic medications, and need a patient and restorative approach in healthcare to regain their quality of life. Standard medicine has little to offer, but CIM/TCM has a large array of treatment protocols that can be daunting in scope and complexity, but with professional guidance and individualized care very helpful.

Treating difficult diseases often requires difficult choices, and often comes with risks as well as benefits. Standard medicine has produced very strong and specific treatments, and there is an acknowledged need to honestly discuss risk versus benefit in a more patient-centered and proactive approach in medicine. After these sometimes harsh treatments have worked, worry about the current state of your health, and long-term implications of the adverse health effects, and risks of secondary diseases, need to be addressed as well. This is where Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM) may play an important role to create the best outcome. The positive method of dealing with these adverse effects of therapy is to utilize a step-by-step approach with CIM/TCM to reduce the damage, counter the physiological side-effects, and improve overall health, especially of the liver and kidney, which are often adversely effected as they try to clear toxicities and break down and eliminate chemicals in the body. Work with a Complementary Med Physician or physicians, such as a Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbologist, Naturopath etc. will help guide the restoration of your health. A knowledgeable Licensed Acupuncturist/herbalist will be able to utilize the current research to analyze risks and side effects, and counter these with clinically proven strategies. Often, an individual faces a number of health problems and realizes too late that just adding more pharmaceutical medicines, or a polypharmacy approach, is not the best choice. This practice comes with great risk of negative drug-drug interactions and adverse health effects, and puts even more stress on the systems of the liver and kidney, decreasing the ability to detox and maintain healthy homeostasis. We see today that not only the human systems, but the symbiotic microbial balance, or intestinal Biome, is often altered and damaged, which is vital to our health, and that epigenetic traits can be acquired quickly and passed on to children as well in younger patients of child-bearing years. We have been living in an age where modern medicine is not supposed to be questioned, but that attitude is changing, and patients need help to sort these difficult health issues out.

Today, the amount of published scientific study and human clinical trials of acupuncture, herbal and nutrient medicine have finally achieve a widespread acceptance of Integrative Medicine in the United States. Perhaps the most significant application of this Complementary medical specialty lies in the potential to alleviate the harsh adverse effects of many standard therapies, countering pharmacological side effects, long-term health consequences and risks, and even improving outcomes in surgery. This patient-driven increase in utilization of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) is reaping big rewards for many patients that have taken a more proactive approach to their overall treatment plan. There is no denial that typical cancer therapies, antibiotic and antiviral regimens, and treatment of common psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders in geriatric care, as well as standard treatment of HIV/AIDS and immune suppression in autoimmune pathologies comes with harsh health consequences. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a Complementary specialty designed to alleviate these harsh consequences of allopathic medicine, and it has been successful in this realm for thousands of years.

Much research is being conducted into the potential of herbs, nutrient supplements, and acupuncture to protect against the harmful effects of radiation therapy, CT scans, and chemotoxic agents, and remarkable findings are emerging. A number of these studies are available in the section at the end of this article entitled Additional Information, with links to the studies. Such herbs as Gingko bliloba, ginseng, paeonia root (Bai shao), Piper longum (Bi ba), Tinospora cordifolia (Kuan jin teng), Dragon's Blood extracts (Xue jie), and ginger have been proven to protect against radiation or restore the damage inflicted by these therapies (see extensive articles below in additional information). Each year, more and more sound scientific study is turning up more herbal chemicals that are radioprotective and chemoprotective. Not only radiation therapy in cancer treatment, but excess radiation from CT scans, and other tests, which is accumulative, may cause long-term injury to the health. In addition, sulfur containing food and herbs (dill, watercress, parsley, parsnip, Nettle, Butterburr, Sang bai pi, Qian hu) have long been studied in relation to protection against harmful effects of radiation, as has chlorella, a blue-green algae. The United States government offers a medical database of such research on PubMed, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) medical research database. In addition, a wealth of research within the sphere of Complementary and Integrative Medicine has long sought answers to these common public health concerns, and much of this research is not published in standard medical journals for fear of discouraging standard treatment by stressing adverse effect. Publishing in a standard Western medical journal is a criteria for admittance of research onto such databases as PubMed. Physicians that study herbal and nutrient medicine have a wealth of knowledge of countering toxicity, restoring functional health, and improving the immune responses.

Today, many patients may present symptoms that are related to either acute or chronic use of pharmaceutical medicines, but are poorly identified as such by the treating physician. With many medications the list of adverse effects found in clinical study are quite long, and often ignored, and many of the common side effects are only noted with a prolonged course of the drug. The analysis of these symptoms and the treatment is often a complex matter. Treatment in Complementary Medicine may serve to both alleviate symptoms, as well as to correct the underlying physiological damage when adverse health effects occur due to medication use. Treatment protocol thus needs to be thoughtful and thorough. The patient needs to utilize a knowledgeable physician to perform careful health analysis and individualized research to see if the symptoms may be attributable to medication. Most patients today realize that most medications come with a long list of potential side effects and long-term health risks. This list is so extensive for many medications that it is ignored. While clinical studies show that a small percentage of patients in drug trials experience these symptoms and risks, even a few percent of patients accounts for many when the drug is taken by millions of patients. When there is a long list of side effects, and a few percent of the participants in clinical trials experience each of these side effects in a notable manner, the potential is that a great percentage of patients taking the drug experienced some significant side effect. This often means that in the real world, a third of the patients may experience a significant adverse health effect from a medication, and with millions of patients prescribed these drugs, the need for complementary care to address these outcomes is daunting, yet still largely discouraged in standard medicine due to a defensive medicine approach to patient counseling. While the patient may not want to go off of the medication due to a potential side effect or adverse health effects, ignoring this health problem is not a smart option, and Complementary and Integrative Medicine provides the patient an option to reduce adverse side effects professionally.

Today, there is also a fast growing field of medical research in herbal and nutrient chemistry that proves its efficacy and adds to the specificity in clinical use. We no longer need to rely on historical or anecdotal evidence to treat. While the United States lags behind most countries in utilizing Complementary and Integrative Medicine, medical research is being shared across the planet. By sharing herbal and nutrient medical research, patients and physicians will have greater options for the best possible integrated health care. This type of integrated care has been practiced successfully in countries such as China, Japan and Korea for decades, resulting in better overall outcomes. Much of the research from China in the past was not accepted for publication in standard medical journals due to social and political bias, and industry decisions based on profit motive. Today, much of this research in herbal and nutrient medicine, as well as acupuncture, is performed in the United States and Europe, and has gained access to publication in medical journals. We can hope that the opening of research sharing between China and the United States, as in the historic agreement of 2008 between the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Peking University, will provide us with even more useful information that is evidence-based concerning Chinese herbal medicine today. Integration of this proven herbal and acupuncture evidence into standard care will improve treatment outcomes significantly.

The intelligent patient often must be their own advocate in this arena of countering adverse effects of standard therapy today, though, as Complementary and Integrative Medicine is still largely discouraged in standard medicine in the United States. Here is a step-by-step logical guide to correcting these problems of adverse effects from standard treatment:

Clearly define your symptoms to guide therapy

Symptoms are not something we like to think about, especially when they are chronic. You need to overcome this aversion and clearly define, in writing, what are your symptoms, so that the exact cause of these symptoms can be discovered and treated. Treatment of symptoms is the first step in your recovery, but is not the most important step. Helping the CIM/TCM physician to better define your symptoms so that the underlying causes to these symptoms may be discovered is very important in Complementary Medicine. To insure sustained benefit, actual reversal of damage to the physiological function in your body must be achieved, and this is not always evident by looking just at the symptoms. If you stop your treatment and recovery when your symptoms subside, you are not achieving your goals in reversing the underlying damage to your health that has caused your symptoms. The Complementary and Integrative Medicine physician will explain how your symptoms of drug and radiation side effects reveal damage to essential systems in your body, and how to reverse this damage. These long-term health problems need to be addressed with a step-by-step protocol to regain healthy homeostasis and function, and often a pro-active and persistent treatment protocol is needed.

Understand how the drug or other therapy worked to determine damage that must be repaired with Complementary and Integrative Medicine

When you know the mechanism of damage, reversal of this damage can be achieved in your therapy, and standard medicine offers very little for patients in restorative medicine. To utilize Complementary and Integrative Medicine effectively, though, objective goals must be formed, and with adverse side effects, understanding more precisely what was damaged allows for more efficient restoration. A proactive approach is essential for efficient treatment outcomes. For instance, if you took Interferon, you will note that this drug works by genetically inhibiting protein expression, especially in the liver. After the therapy, liver function and protein expression needs to be enhanced again. Certain nutrient supplements greatly aid this process and these supplements should be combined with foods containing them to insure greatest utilization. Herbal strategies can be used to improve liver function as well, and Acupuncture stimulation will also be very effective to encourage improved physiological function, and will work to increase the effectiveness of the supplements and herbal formulas. Herbal formulas are usually taken in short courses, while nutrient medicines need to be taken for a longer period of time. Acupuncture stimulation helps these strategies work better, and the complete package of care insures a faster and better outcome. Discuss this process with your physician.

Interferon therapy, which is standard in treating Hepatitis C and other viral diseases, as well as some cancer therapy, has also been shown to cause a variety of neurological effects as well as anemia and hormonal deficiency (see study link below in additional information). Study in 2005, from researchers at Emory University in Georgia, U.S.A., and commissioned by the National Institutes of Health, found that both small and large dosage of recombinant interferon alpha causes depression, anxiety, fatigue and dysphoric psychosis in a large percentage of patients. Many of these patients appear to recover in weeks to months following therapy, but a significant number have chronic syndromes resulting from therapy. Studies have found that this recombinant interferon affects CNS opioid receptors, dopamine turnover in the striatum, and a number of key cytokines that have affects at the CNS receptors, shown to create glutamate excitotoxicity, and potentially to affect brain function and receptor balance in the long term. Newer biologic drugs that affect the immune system also come with significant risks and adverse effects that may result in a spectrum of syndromes ranging from mild temporary flu-like symptoms to syndromes of dysfunctional cytokine expression causing multiple organ failure. Use of recombinant interferon therapy may now be avoided in treating Hepatitis C with the introduction of newer biologics, such as Sofosbuvir and Ledipasvir (Harvoni), which inhibit protein enzymes, but the prolonged therapy produced profound fatigue, nausea and headache in a fourth of the patients in clinical trials, and 4 percent experienced serious long-term adverse effects. These clinical trials avoided patients with liver and kidney dysfunction, allergic syndromes, and patients taking any of a number of other medications which may alter the catabolism of the drugs. Actual long-term adverse effects will not be known for a number of years, until elaborate studies of long-term outcomes are finished. The short-term cure rate is very high with these newer HCV drugs, but adverse health effects after completing the 12-week course may be profound.

With chemotoxic drugs in cancer therapy, the damage to dividing cells is the focus, and especially rapidly producing blood cells, most of which have short life spans in the body. Anemia and immune deficiency are the main concern, and bone marrow production of new blood cells needs to be restored. Overwhelming cellular toxicity leads to liver dysfunction as well, since the liver is the main organ of clearing cellular toxicity, and excess oxidant stress from such toxicity needs to be countered with effective antioxidant strategies. Oxidant damage and toxicity affecting the heart is also a strong concern, especially with common chemotherapy drugs such as Doxorubicin, where cardiomyopathy leading to congestive heart failure occurs in 36 percent of patients with a high dose treatment (600 mg/m2) and even 4 percent of patients treated with the lowest dose. These principles have led the effort to find the best herbal medicines to either use concurrently with chemotherapy, or to use afterward. Many studies in China now show that such herbal and nutrient medicine significantly improve quality of life outcomes with integrated use, without affecting the short-term outcomes or life prolongation of the chemotherapies. In the United States there has been much discouragement of such concurrent strategies, with an expressed fear that these Complementary Medicine therapies may diminish the potency of the chemotherapy, or even radiation, but this fear is not supported so far by evidence, only theory.

Recent research has elucidated the role of the intestinal Biome, or symbiotic genetically controlled balance of healthy microbes in the intestines that is important for human health in many ways, and human clinical studies have now shown that damage and imbalance, or dysbiosis, of this symbiotic Biome is responsible for many of the adverse health effects and symptoms following chemotherapy and radiation (see study links in Additional Information). Studies have also proven that an imbalance of the Biome is determinant of the severity of symptoms such as diarrhea, fatigue and inflammation both in the local membranes and systemically. Simply taking a commercial Probiotic may help, but restoring the healthy balance to the intestinal Biome is more complex than we would like to believe, and a comprehensive and holistic approach will achieve great success. Obviously, if excess of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and other microbes are preventing this biotic balance, these need to be cleared and probiotics then administered. Some probiotics, such as Lactobacilli GG, were designed to help restore this balance, and acupuncture stimulation is shown to aid the biotic restoration as well. A short course of acupuncture with herbal and nutrient medicine, and professionally assured Probiotics (these products are not well regulated by the FDA), before receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation, as well as after the treatment, could benefit tremendously, helping in many ways to improve outcomes. To read more about the complex subject of the Microbiome and probiotic therapy, go to article devoted to this subject on this website. With CIM/TCM these treatment protocols are individualized and the only side effect is better overall health.

Many drugs affect the gastrointestinal tract, and often result in long term dysfunction, as well as alterations in the important homeostatic biota. For instance, research has revealed that drugs that affect serotonin, including anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs, may affect serotonin function in the gut, and a large study published in 2013 found that risk of gut infections, such as the drug-resistant Clostridium difficile, is increased dramatically in patients on these drugs. Restoration of the biota, or symbiotic bacteria in our bodies, found to be very important overall to our health, is now proven to benefit or resolve many common diseases. Antibiotics have been widely overused for decades, now creating a crisis of antibiotic drug resistance evolved in many pathogenic bacteria. Not all bacteria are bad for you, though, and in fact humans would not survive without their symbiotic bacteria, and symbiotic bacterial cells outnumber human cells in the body by 40 to 1. Taking antibiotics, which can be lifesaving with serious infection, does destroy the intestinal bacterial biota, and this needs to be restored after use. A complete and holistic restoration of this biota and GI function is advisable after many pharmaceutical courses, and Complementary Medicine is able to approach this restoration in a more complete manner, better achieving the full and tangible results.

Many common drugs are over-prescribed and prescribed off-label, and it is now common knowledge that many medications cause common health problems. For instance, an AARP website (linked below) reports and explains how more than a fourth of sexual dysfunctions are caused by the most commonly prescribed drugs, including statin drugs and fibrates for cholesterol and metabolic syndromes, blood pressure medications, gastric acid inhibitors, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, anti-psychotics (many with cute names that are prescribed for a wide variety of symptoms), and anticonvulsants (again, many with cute names that are prescribed for a wide variety of problems). Understanding how these drugs work to cause hormonal imbalances etc. will help with restoration of health. Simply taking Viagra will not fix the health problems. This is just one example of how standard medicine largely ignores common health problems and symptom complaints caused by prescription of pharmaceuticals, and recently, alarming studies of the harm of polypharmacy are finally being published. Spending the time to gain understanding of your medications will allow you to take charge of your health and age gracefully. CIM/TCM can help by alleviating or preventing these adverse side effects, restoring health, and perhaps providing effective therapy that could allow each patient to decrease their consumption and dependency on multiple pharmaceutical drugs.

Help your body to help itself

The body has a natural mechanism to repair damage, called the immune system. This complex system can be made to work better by both utilizing specific herbs, supplements and acupuncture, and also by decreasing physiological stress and improving general health. Your body has certain limitations or tolerances for stress. When these limitations are exceeded, your immune system will not work effectively. Stress is defined as the physiological needs in the body, not just work deadlines and emotional situations at home. Each individual has a certain capacity for stress. The less healthy you are, the less stress tolerance that you have. To decrease stress and improve your physiological tolerances, you need to decrease work, emotional aggravation, and exposure to harmful chemicals. To improve tolerances, you need to increase therapies, healthy diet, healthy exercise, sunlight, fresh air, and restful periods. You may need to discuss a temporary reduction in the amount of medication that you consume with the prescribing M.D. When you do all of these things positive results will happen. When you fail to do these things, you will perpetuate your problem. Changes in your lifestyle are difficult, but not as difficult as the changes to your lifestyle that will be forced on you if you don't temporarily deal with restoration of your health.

The benefits of integrating Complementary Medicine provide improvement in therapeutic outcomes on a variety of levels, for relatively low cost. For instance, a single course of therapy with acupuncture, herbal and nutrient medicine, and physiotherapy, can not only help alleviate side effects of therapy, but improve functional outcomes, help restore homeostatic mechanisms and functional improvement, improve immune responses, and improve quality of life. The benefits of holistic therapy are many, while the benefits of allopathic remedies are usually few. By utilizing short courses of holistic therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the outcome measures can be dramatically improved.

Controversies concerning industry drug trials and research

In recent years, investigations into medical research and clinical trials by such prominent sources as Senator Charles Grassley has revealed the extent of the problems with public trust in the published findings of both harmful effects and efficacy of many pharmaceutical medicines. The extent of payments to physicians and researchers by pharmaceutical companies that influence both the study designs and outcomes has been a cause of great alarm to both public health experts and to patients. In addition, the investigations into medical studies and published evidence has revealed an extensive system of paid ghost-writing to attach prominent names to research articles created by the pharmaceutical companies to promote their medicines. These problems are the result of the many alarming health problems generated by the medicines themselves, and the lax oversight by the FDA. While pharmaceutical medicine provides us with the tools to effectively combat serious disease, we must not overlook the harm that it creates as well. Integrating Complementary Medicine into your health protocol insures that these issues are addressed.

More and more study the field of misleading research and study design is occurring. As an example, we might go to the review of a 2015 review of studies of psychiatric drugs by Dr. Peter Getzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Center in Denmark, a leading database of meta-review of scientific study accepted worldwide as he gold standard. To see this review in The Guardian, just click here: . While sticking to theme and spin has become commonplace in human society in the age of abundant media, at some place we cannot continue to to justify the spin in the face of overwhelming evidence. Unfortunately, we are stuck in a binary, black or white, good or bad mentality that is not progressing to a better nuanced solution to this problem.

I hope this short guide to therapy is helpful to you in organizing your physical recovery. You need to work with your physician to insure that this process works as well as you want it to, and stick to a guided therapeutic course till you achieve your goals. Don't let worry consume you and prevent positive action. You also need to address the mental problems that often accompany these harsh therapies, such as depression and anxiety. I hope that I can be your guide to a full recovery.

Some serious side effects from common off-label prescription of a class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics

In 2009 and 2010, the pharmaceutical industry has paid fines of billions of dollars related to federal prosecution of off label illegal advertising of atypical antipsychotic medication. This class of drug produces many serious neurological and hormonal side effects, and FDA approval for their use limited guidelines to treating psychological disorders that were untreatable with other therapies. Atypical antipsychotics affects a broad array of neurotransmitters and brain centers, and were developed due to the very harsh side effects of the early class of antipsychotics, which caused alarming neurohormonal disorders in a majority of patients over time. While it appears that these companies used public advertising improperly, the real story is that the pharmaceutical companies spend up to 3 times the amount spent on public advertising in various promotional practices to doctors, clinical nursing prescribers, and other professionals. Typically, these antipsychotic drugs would be promoted by a highly paid medical doctor or other expert giving seminars and continuing education concerning various health topics, such as depression, dementia, and behavioral disorders, for which they recommended these antipsychotic drugs to be prescribed off label, or for symptoms and diseases not approved by the FDA. Now, it is legal for MDs to prescribe drugs off label, but not for the industry to advertise and promote this use, or provide economic incentive for the off label prescription. The concern is that this enormous amount of monetary incentive and advertising is the chief factor in over-prescription and ignoring of risks versus benefits with these drugs.

Billions of dollars in fines for criminal violation of these drug bad advertising and promotion laws were handed to Pfizer for Geodon, AstraZeneca and Seroquel, Eli Lilly and Zyprexa, Bristol-Myers and Abilify, and Johnson and Johnson and Risperdal, yet even these enormous penalties are small compared to the yearly profits of the drugs, now some of the biggest sellers in the pharmaceutical industry. These drugs were widely prescribed for elderly dementia, pediatric depression and behavioral disorders, and adult bipolar disorders, but enormous incentives resulted in the bulk of the drugs prescribed 'off-label', or against FDA guidelines and approved treatment. Atypical psychotics, though, all have serious neuroleptic consequences, although the atypical class has far fewer than previous drugs. The hidden risks, though, were seen in the high percentage of patient on certain of these drugs acquiring insulin insensitivity and weight gain, metabolic disorder, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and other hormonal imbalances causing erectile dysfunction, loss of libido etc. These newer drugs did not have the immediate alarming side effects of the prior antipyschotic class, but government investigations uncovered that some of these long term problems were hidden in the released data on clinical trials. Warnings were issued, but largely ignored. Today, more than 72 warnings have been issued in 8 countries, yet in the U.S. these atypical antipsychotics are prescribed in a fourth of all visits to a psychiatrist, largely driven by huge advertising and monetary incentives, not in sensible recommendations of care. These drugs also come with stern warnings that going off of the drugs will result in severe consequences, often preying upon a vulnerable patient population experiencing much difficulty in managing psychosocial and emotional problems.

The result of this large illegal promotion of atypical antipsychotic medication by the industry was a growing concern by 2015 that Medical Doctors were now prescribing these medications "off-label", or against the FDA guidelines and approval, especially to children and older patients, causing harm. An article in the December 11, 2015 New York Times, entitled Still in a Crib, Yet Being Given Antipyschotics, outlines how it is now common practice to prescribe these intense medications to infants, despite lack of approval for this, and despite decades of FDA warnings that common adverse health effects include tactile hallucinations and other CNS problems. This article notes that almost 20,000 prescriptions for atypical antipychotics, often with cute brand names such as Seroquel, Abilify and Risperdal, were written in 2014, a large increase, matching another large increase for the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac), with about 83,000 prescriptions for children age 2 or younger written in 2014. Experts in the field were quoted as stating that they were unaware that any doctor would prescribe these drugs to infants, and could not explain such rationale, citing the fact that there are no published clinical trials supporting such treatment, and that the developing infant brain could be profoundly affected by such harsh medications. Obviously, the bad behavior in illegal promotion for years by the pharmaceutical companies is paying off. The New York Times article also cites evidence that the U.S. CDC reports that now over 10,000 infants age 3 or younger have been diagnosed with ADHD and medicated with amphetamine derivatives such as Adderall outside of the guidelines. Experts agree that it is nearly impossible to make these diagnoses in infants, though, and the long-term implications are profoundly negative for their use. Some experts believe that the publicity concerning the efficacy of Cannabidiol to treat infant seizure disorders has led to a much easier prescription of antipsychotic medications to treat childhood seizure disorders to counter the growing popularity of Cannibidiol, which comes with few adverse effects. A case investigated in the New York Times article notes that the child prescribed these atypical antipsychotic drugs for seizures at 6 months of age, resulting in adverse effects of violent and erratic behavior by age 18 months, was then prescribed Risperdal (another atypical antipsychotic drug approved to treat bipolar disorder) to treat these behavioral problems.

Generalizing all childhood seizure disorders and prescribing harsh antipsychotic medications with a one-size-fits-all approach is dangerous. Childhood seizure disorders are usually generalized and resolve in the first 3 years of life, or they are febrile seizures, sometimes resulting in an afebrile seizure sequela, which usually resolves spontaneously as well. Sometimes childhood seizures are due to fright, especially at night. Childhood seizures occur in as many as 40,000 infants and children each year, sometimes as multiple seizures in the episode, with the vast majority of patients never experiencing another episode. In the past, most infants and children were monitored and expected to soon outgrow this disorder as their brains developed. The widespread prescription to these vulnerable patients, both infants and the elderly, is problematic, and can have profound adverse effects. While infants and children with a diagnosis of a more long-term and serious seizure disorder need treatment such as Cannibidiol, antiseizure drugs, or antipsychotic medications, most do not.

A 2016 study by the Virginia Commonwealth University in the United States found that prescription of atypical antipsychotic medications to children and adolescents has become a cause for great concern regarding induced Metabolic Syndrome. A large cohort study was initiated to measure this problem, analyzing the long-term health outcomes of over 300,000 patients age 2-17 in the Virginia health system and it was found that: "Prevalence of antidiabetic and antilipidemic medication use was significantly higher among children and adolescent atypical antipsychotic users in a Virginia Medicaid population" (PMID: 27009289). The implications of this and other studies is that overprescription of these drugs now has created a lifetime burden for many individuals that was not discussed and has profound adverse effects on the individuals as well as the healthcare costs to taxpayers and insurance costs. In this study, we see the implication that increased Medicare childhood coverage may have also led to easy over-prescription in a subset of the population with less means and education. To counter the acknowledged risks of weight gain and Metabolic Syndrome in children prescribed atypical antipsychotics, many Medical Doctors started adding the drug Topiramate to prevent this metabolic syndrome. A 2016 meta-review study at the Zhengzhou University School of Medicine found 10 high quality RCTs to analyze this and found that while Topiramate (Topomax and Qudexy), an antiseizure medication, did show moderate benefits in decreasing medication-induced weight gain and hyperglycemia, that it did not prevent lipid metabolic imbalance and that the overall clinical symptom effects were not positive on the PANSS scale, meaning that the adverse effects of Topiramate were on average worse than the positive benefits (PMID: 26879726). These adverse effects of Topiramate that are worse for children included confusion and drowsiness, trouble with attention disorder, risk of metabolic acidosis, reduced sweating and increased body temperature, higher blood ammonia levels, and suicidal thoughts. Often, the response to these adverse health effects is the prescription of more medication. This scenario of obviously fraught with very negative consequences. 

In 2014, a number of studies finally revealed that psychotropic drugs are metabolized much differently in men and women, leading to an array of potential problems that have been ignored for decades. Only when the most popular sleep medication, Zolpidem, or Ambien, was shown to metabolize much faster in men than women, in the liver metabolism, leading to a 45 percent higher residual circulating drug dosage the next morning, creating dangers of poor mental alertness and function in women, did this fact come to light. In review, the U.S. FDA stated that they knew of this large drug metabolism difference when the drug was approved years ago but ignored the ramifications until they were stressed, leading to guidelines of a lower dose prescribed for women. After this, it was found that differences in metabolism and catabolism of many of these drugs leads to potential adverse effects. To see a review of this data, published in Scientific American, just click here: http://www.scientificamerican.... . While this amazing difference in the effective circulating levels of these drugs, and accumulation, were completely ignored in standard medicine, Medical Doctors repeated to patients warnings of "potential' interactions with herbs such as St. John's Wort that could mildly alter the circulating levels, advising all patients to avoid any herbs when taking these psychotropic drugs. This amazing behavior is still largely ignored and allowed, despite the irony and obvious potential dangers to public health. Medical advice appears to be highly selective and misleading on a routine basis.

If these drugs were prescribed, the patient may have some work to do to reverse the damage even after discontinuing the drug. Since the drugs typically affect the various dopamine receptors in the brain, a cascade of effects, like those typically seen in attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), related to an imbalance between the different types of dopamine receptors, and the eventual expression of the wrong balance of receptors on the brain cells, may have caused neurodegenerative problems. Hormonal problems related to the hypothalamus may have affected a broad array of hormonal feedback systems in the body as well. Restoring healthy brain metabolism and cell functions, and restoration of hormonal balance, is something that a knowledgeable Complementary Medicine physician can help with.

Serious side effects, or adverse health effects, of antiepileptic and antiseizure drugs now frequently prescribed off-label - such as Gabapentin

Anti-seizure medications, such as Valproate, Carbamazepine, and Gabapentin (Neurontin) and Pregabalin have become common drugs to treat a wide variety of conditions that are not responsive to standard medication, such as migraine syndromes, neuralgia, restless leg syndromes, vasomotor hot flush, and mood disorders. Gabapentin, commonly called Neurontin or Horizant, affects the GABA neurotransmitter system via voltage-gated calcium channels, and has common side effects that are alarming, such as uncontrolled movement, clumsiness, aggressive feelings, anxiety, depression, erratic mood, restlessness, blurred vision, trembling, loss of strength, delusion, hallucination, inability to concentrate, and confusion. Somnolence, fatigue, unsteadiness (ataxia), dizziness and headache are reported in more than 10 percent of patients. The list of known adverse effects is very large, often confusing, and often not acknowledged by the prescribing physician, with the hope that these adverse side effects with decrease over time. The systems affected include not only the neurological system, but the endocrine, cardiovascular, hematologic, skin, musculoskeletal and liver systems. Such lists of adverse health effects show that chronic use of these drugs could impact general health considerably, even when the symptoms are not alarming. A 2015 review of the potential use of Gabapentin for depression and other mood disorders by experts at the Uskudar University School of Medicine, in Istanbul, Turkey, concluded: "relevant research data has not proven success of newer antiepileptics (in treating mood disorders). This article presents the negative side effects of gabapentin such as psychotic and depressive symptoms, which occur shortly after its use." (PMID: 26060258). Today, the easy prescription of these medications for a wide variety of symptoms has become all too common, including neurological pain, restless leg syndrome, and other neurological disorders for which standard medicine has little to offer in effective treatment, and rarely are these health risks discussed.

While we take for granted the published data concerning the adverse effects of medications such as these, more and more studies are showing us that adverse effects of medications are often ignored or downplayed in study design. For instance, a 2016 meta-review of 31 randomized controlled human clinical trials (RCTs) for Gabapentin and Pregabalin, by experts at th Queen's University School of Medicine, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, found that only 41 percent assessed adverse effects by direct questioning concerning specific adverse effects, 8 of 31 RCTs recorded no data on adverse effects whatsoever, 18 percent of these RCTs described no assessment method, and the time after starting the medication and assessing the adverse effects was not reported in 24 percent of the trials. Since RCTs were originally designed to judge safety of the medications, and efficacy was only a concern regarding judging the risk versus benefit ratio, such study design and reporting violates the very nature of such investigations, yet is now routinely accepted. A systemic problem with acknowledging the actual adverse risks and effects in guidance of treatment is a grave concern. To see this study, just click here: . We can see that such study of this problem is only now being performed and published, and that even then the summary is downplaying the problem.

Adverse effects of antibiotics - rarely discussed with the patient

The esteemed Cleveland Clinic, on its website, reports that in a 2008 study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, that when looking at records from 2004 to 2006 in the United States, antibiotic side effects, that were reported, led to more than 140,000 Emergency Room visits per year. Dr. Wayne Ford, director of MetroHealth Medical Center's Family Medicine, stated that taking an antibiotic for the flu or cold, which are viral illnesses, will not help the patient feel better, and can actually make the patient feel worse. Standard medicine has been aware of this for decades, but still routinely prescribed antibiotics for common viral illnesses, with the excuse that they had no other effective medicine, and now the general public expects to receive antibiotics for these viral illnesses, despite the ineffectiveness inherent, the adverse effects not discussed, and the crisis of antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria that have resulted. Standard medicine now states that they did this only because the patients demanded it. This is a rather poor excuse for gross overprescription of antibiotics for decades, and the public is starting to figure this out. There was also other medical options for common viral infections such as the flu and the common cold. The truth is that Medical Doctors have understood that herbal medicines work well against viral illnesses like these, yet have refused to acknowledge these medicines that have worked for centuries, and have been improved in modern times. Instead of prescribing them, or sending the patient to a professional herbalist, they instead came up with false warnings of dangers and adverse effects from all herbal medicines, or even more astounding, the idea that herbal medicines both did not work and, at the same time, worked so well that they had adverse effects.

How do antibiotics harm us? One way is that most antibiotics work by attacking aspects of the bacterial membrane, and they do not distinguish between good and bad bacteria. With the good symbiotic bacteria, or biota, damaged, this important protection against growth of bad bacteria is destroyed. Often, infections occur downstream in time after the gut biota is damaged. More importantly, these damaged bacteria easily pass genetic traits to other bacteria, as the encapsulation of their DNA is broken, and some of these genetic traits are learned antibiotic resistant mechanisms, creating long-term imbalance of the biota in the gut whenever repeat courses of antibiotics are given, as the symbiotic types of bacteria that have acquired antibiotic resistance survive, while other strains of healthy symbiotic bacteria are killed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have long warned that this antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health, and now they list over 20 species of pathogenic antibiotic resistant bacterial infections that threaten us, and cause growing numbers of deaths each year, besides leading to biotic imbalances. Other harmful aspects of large bacterial destruction is the unleashing of bacterial endotoxins to an extent that the immune system cannot handle. These endotoxins often cause chronic diseases (see the article entitled Bacterial Endotoxins, Lectins, and their role in chronic inflammatory diseases on this website). Besides these adverse effects of other bacterial infections after the antibiotic course is over, yeast and fungal infections, parasitic overgrowths, and other microbial infections often occur after a course of antibiotics as well. Acute side effects are frequently seen as well, though. Acute antibiotic side effects are extremely varied, and range from mild to severe, causing not only allergic effects that affect the respiratory membranes and skin, but neurological side effects as well, and often cause liver toxicity, gastrointestinal symptoms, and elevated white blood cells. Hence the large number of emergency room visits attributed to antibiotic side effects each year. An array of chronic adverse effects are linked to specific antibiotics as well, but rarely acknowledged, such as the eventual acquiring of chronic tinnitus from the use of aminoglycoside antibiotics, which some experts think is likely to be responsible for a high percentage of chronic tinnitus cases. We must not jump to the black or white conclusion that antibiotics are either good or bad, since they are necessary when they are necessary, and shouldn't be avoided when they are necessary, but unnecessary use and a too simplistic notion that antibiotics are good and so should be taken even when they are not necessary have gotten us into a bad situation with antibiotic resistance and unacknowledged adverse health effects, many of which occur well after the course of antibiotics has ended. A profit motivated health care and simplistic following of treatment guidelines designed to sell more drugs has resulted in such situations for patients.

The most problematic class of antibiotics are the fluoroquinolones, once used only when nothing else would work due to adverse side effects, but when wide antibiotic resistance was created by antibiotic overuse became widely prescribed, often when inappropriate. This class of antibiotics includes Cipro, Levaquin, Noroxin, Floxin, Avelox, Factive and others, and FDA warnings were issued a number of times concerning a high risk of tendon ruptures and joint pathologies, increased risk of Clostridium difficile enteritis, and finally again in 2016, a call to restrict use since these health risks, especially damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, outweigh the benefits for most patients, especially those diagnosed with acute sinusitis, bronchitis, and common urinary tract infections, for which many Medical Doctors now routinely prescribe these antibiotics despite strong past warnings due to the understanding that broad antibiotic resistance has made many of the common drugs ineffective. To see this warning guideline, just click here: . For patients with these health problems, integrative use of CIM/TCM seems like a very sensible choice. This is not an "alternative" option in healthcare, but a complement to standard care, and professional treatment will present no complications with standard drug therapy.

All of these acute side effects and chronic adverse effects can be prevented or effectively treated with acupuncture and herbal medicine. When antibiotics are absolutely necessary, they should be utilized, but patient awareness of the array of potential adverse effects, which are very common, should lead to sensible countering of these adverse effects. Not only acupuncture and herbal medicine, but restoration of a healthy intestinal biota is important, hence the many studies demonstrating the amazing benefits of probiotic therapy. Not all probiotics are the same quality, though, and often, the affected intestines need to be cleared of overgrowths before probiotics can be utilized effectively. Cofactors to probiotic colonization are also well studied, called prebiotics, and these can be utilized in a course of therapy to insure healthy regrowth and restoration of the gut symbiotic biota. Numerous studies now demonstrate the importance of restoration of a healthy biota, and this is becoming a reluctant part of standard care. Numerous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of biotic transplant to cure some very difficult diseases has also elucidated the importance. Probiotic therapy, though, is still thought of as a simple task, when often it is not easy to accomplish. Utilization of a knowledgeable Complementary Medicine physician, or Licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist, insures that all of this is accomplished, and any adverse health effects from antibiotic therapy are individually treated and resolved quickly.

With the rise of broad antibiotic resistance the increased use of new types of antibiotic chemotherapeutic drugs is seen, including the use of ribonucleoside analogues, which have potential in the field of Biologics as anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-cancer agents. A ribonucleoside is a DNA or RNA nucleotide without a phosphate group, useful because they easily cross cell membranes and then are converted into genetic nucleotides inside the cells. Nucleotides are the amino acid building blocks of genes, and there is a field of 5 elemental nucleotides, adenine, guanine, thymine, uracil and cytosine that make up the genes of all living organisms. Pharmaceuticals that utilize these designed ribonucleosides are able to achieve inhibition of expression of protein enzymes to control disease mechanisms. Obviously, the potential for adverse 'side' effects present problems with this technology. In 2012, experts at the Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine released a study that showed that problems of toxicity have emerged in clinical trials that were not evident in pre-clinical human trials, and that some of these adverse effects are due to the RNA analogues affecting the genetic code of the cell mitochondria, now considered the second genetic code of the human organism, and in recent years found to be responsible for many difficult and chronic diseases. The degree of mitochondrial dysfunction is now measured by the Mitovir (mitochondrial dysfunction caused by antiviral riboncleoside) score. To see this study, just click here: . Such research provides CIM/TCM with the evidence to enhance therapy to counter these adverse 'side' effects by supporting mitochondrial health.

Countering Gastrointestinal Side Effects and long-term Adverse Health Effects from commonly prescribed drugs

Gastrointestinal side effects are perhaps the main finding in many clinical trials of commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals, and are well accepted by the patient population. The general reaction by physicians has been to prescribe other drugs to counter these common and expected gastrointestinal adverse effects. It is now not uncommon to see a concurrent prescription of a gastric acid inhibitor or other drug when the pharmaceutical is first prescribed. Yet, there is still a cavalier disconnect between these side effects and long-term adverse effects and the whole health and quality of life of the patient. When gastrointestinal side effects and long-term adverse ill health is expected, or occurs, holistic restoration of the gastrointestinal function and health is needed, not just more drugs to counter the symptoms.

While drug manufacturers are required to provide data on three stages of human clinical trials and the adverse effects of each drug, which often leads to pages of documented side effects in short-term use, many of which affect about 1 in 10 patients selected in these trials, there has been almost no study of the long-term adverse health effects, and almost no talk of these health problems by prescribing Medical Doctors. The theory is that focus and discussion of such effects will discourage patients from seeking treatment. Nevertheless, as more and more patients utilize Integrative and Complementary Medicine, they are discovering that a proactive approach to these side effects and long-term adverse health effects is sensible and within the reach of all patients.

Common gastrointestinal side effects often involve dysfunction of the gastric and small intestine membrane, especially immune dysfunction, with increased eosinophils and lymphocytes eventually creating immune hypersensitivity, and chronic inflammation. This dysfunction may also lead to poor feedback between the stomach and the small intestine, gastric hypofunction and dysfunctional secretion of stomach acids, poor digestion and assimilation of essential nutrients, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, pernicious anemia, diaphragm disease, reactive gastritis, and of course imbalance of the gut Biota (symbiotic microbial colony), which is now proven to be essential to human health. While gastric ulceration and bleeding have been the focus of adverse side effects of commonly prescribed drugs, and are a considerable concern, this is not the only thing to be wary of, and pretending that the prescribed drugs are not causing problems until a GI bleed occurs is not sensible.

NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, have been the focus of considerable concern. Endoscopy, or viewing of the stomach mucosa, has been utilized when severe problems arise, but until recently, the damage to the mucosa of the small intestine has been largely ignored with NSAID use. Most of the adverse effects of NSAIDs are attributed to their main function, which is to inhibit eicosanoid production in the cells to counter the pro-inflammatory mediators, especially the prostaglandin types associated with arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is an essential fatty acid that is overproduced when the human consumes too much meat and simple carbohydrates in the diet, which, of course, has been very common in modern times. Prostaglandins are a group of lipid, or fatty based, compounds that are derived enzymatically from fatty acids, and have a variety of important function in the body, not just pro-inflammatory effects. In the gut, prostaglandins regulated the smooth muscle relaxation and contraction, or gut motility, maintain healthy mucosa in the inflammatory modulation, and act as autocrine or paracrine hormone messengers. To counter the crisis of prostaglandin inhibition and side effects from NSAIDs, specialized NSAIDs were developed, called COX2 inhibitors. Supposedly, these more selective anti-inflammatories targeted the cycloxegenase (COX) isomer COX2, while letting COX1 do its job in mucosal maintenance. What was discovered, though, was that the pharmaceutical companies failed in this attempt, and hid this information from regulators at the FDA, quickly promoting huge sales of COX2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx and Bextra, before this could be shut down. The result was disastrous. Now, all NSAIDs come with black box warnings of considerable gastrointestinal harm, as well as harm to the other epithelium in the body, especially the cardiovascular epithelium.

Information Resources and Additional Information with Links to Scientific Studies

The growing body of research concerning protective effects of Chinese herbs with radiation and chemotherapy is often not published in medical journals that are primarily funded and promoted by the standard medical industry. Below is just a sample of the research that is available to the public, though. The fact that herbal and nutrient medicine, as well as acupuncture, is being incorporated into the standard protocol of many prominent cancer clinics is proof that this research is sound. The research the confirms that hepatoprotective effects of herbs and nutrient medicines to decrease liver dysfunction and disease as a result of the stress of pharmaceutical drug breakdown and detoxification by the liver is also extensive, and there are many applications of protective and preventive effects with acupuncture, herbal and nutrient medicine, which have shown much promise with neuroprotective and cardiovascular protective effects as well. Of course, antioxidant mechanisms, immune stimulation, and many other protocols, such as enhancement of glutathione metabolism are important subjects to be explored as well in this realm. With increased acceptance of the proven efficacy of acupuncture, herbal and nutrient medicine, the benefits of Integrative Medicine to counter the often times harsh immediate or long-term adverse effects of standard therapy are finally being realized, and intelligent patients and their physicians are exploring the best utilization of Complmentary Medicine to achieve the best possible outcomes at the lowest cost. Below is just a small sample of the research and articles devoted to this subject.

  1. A 2007 study of herbs to protect against radiation therapy effects (see more studies below):
  2. A 2010 meta-review of Chinese studies of herbs to protect against chemotherapy effects, at the the University of Southhamptom School of Medicine, in the United Kingdom, showed that 5 herbs significantly improved quality of life when combined with chemotherapy in cancer care, protecting against anemia and immune dysfunction caused by damaging replicating new cells in the bone marrow:
  3. A 2013 a review of the growing body of scientific evidence of herbal radioprotective effects to integrate into standard radiation therapy, by the Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, in Pranang, Malaysia, noted that "pharmacological studies by various groups of investigators have shown that many natural herbs possess significant radioprotective activity", and called for a "green anti-radiation approach" to treatment. The low-cost, lack of toxicity, and widespread use of traditional herbal medicine in the world makes this a very sensible approach to future care in cancer:
  4. A 2103 study of the effects of radiation therapy on the intestinal Biome, or important genetically programmed symbiotic balance of species of microbiota such as bacteria to maintain human health, by experts at the Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, in Soul, South Korea, showed in perhaps the first study of this kind that this Biome is damaged and altered, causing both significant health problems and symptoms, and perhaps contributing to a number of important nutrient deficiencies and diseases in the future. Restoration of the Biome by use of short courses of herbal medicine to decrease excess growth of pathological microbes and Probiotic regimens that are dependable in quality should be part of a holistic care protocol before and after radiation and chemotherapy:
  5. A study of the intestinal Biome before receiving radiation therapy for pelvic cancer, by experts at the Zhejang University and Third Military Medical University Schools of Medicine in China, and the University of Arizona College of Medicine in the United States, showed that imbalance of the symbiotic microbiota (dysbiosis) was predictive of the severity of symptoms of diarrhea, fatigue, mucosal inflammation, and systemic inflammatory problems after receiving the treatment. A short course of holistic therapy to establish a healthy intestinal Biome balance before radiation therapy is recommended:
  6. A 2016 study of the effects of chemotherapy in cancer treatment and the role of damage or imbalance to the intestinal Biome, by experts at the University of Duisburg-Essen School of Medicine, in Essen, Germany, shows that imbalance of the microbiota (dysbiosis) may be an important factor in outcomes of this therapy, affecting the dosage, effects, and adverse effects, and contributing to quality of life:
  7. A 2015 study at Jeddah University, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, showed that the now well known active chemical in a number of common Chinese herbs, quercetin, significantly reversed oxidative stress and damage induced by the chemotherapeutic agent cysplatin, as well as increase the depleted levels of Vitamins C and E, and glutathione. Quercetin is now standardized as a supplment, and is a key chemical in Luo bu ma (Apocynum venetum), Sang ji sheng (Loranthus parasiticus), Di er cao (Hypericum japonicum), Man shan hong (Rhododendrum dahuricum), Evening Primrose, and is found in lesser concentrations in tea (Camellia sinensis), onions, garlic, shallots, steel cut oats, cranberry, and tart apples:
  8. A 2014 study at King Abdulaziz University, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Zagazig University, in Zagazig, Egypt, found that aged garlic extract is chemoprotective for cysplatin, countering the side effects of this anticancer chemotherapy, mainly by antioxidant activity. Aged garlic extract is a specially prepared medicinal herb long used in Chinese medicine:
  9. A 2001 study at St. Marianna University School of Medicine, in Kawasaki, Japan, found that melatonin was chemoprotective against harsh effects of cysplatin chemotherapy as well:
  10. A 2004 study at the Cancer Research Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, found that the plant sterols beta-sitosterol and taraxasterol were chemoprotective, as well preventive of tumor progression and metastasis. Beta-sitosterol is found in many Chinese herbs, including Shu di huang, Mu dan pi, Di gu pi, Huang qin, Huang bai, Ban lan gen, Mai men dong, Chuan xin lian, Bai hua she she cao, Dang gui and Gou qi zi, and taraasterol is also found in Pu gong ying:
  11. A 2009 study of the herbs astragalus (Chinese herb Huang qi) and Angelica (Chinese herb Dang gui), used in combination, revealed that they can significantly reverse the anemia induced by chemotherapy:
  12. A 2011 study of the Chinese herb Paeonia (Bai shao or Chi shao), at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, in Shenyang City, China, found that the common herb Paeonia significantly aided restoration of the marrow production of blood cells after myelosuppression by radiation and chemotherapy, benefiting red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells, both in quality and production, as well as restoring the volume of tissue in the spleen:
  13. A 2014 study at the Beijing Institute of Technology, in China, found that the Chinese herb Sanguinus draconis, or Dragon's blood tree resin, effectively attenuated radiation damage to the blood cell producing bone marrow in laboratory animals, increasing all types of blood cells, but also decreasing oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines in blood serum:
  14. A 2004 phase 2 human clinical trial of acupuncture to treat post-chemotherapy fatigue, by the renowned Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York, New York, U.S.A. showed a 31 percent improvement, and was found "worthy of further study in the treatment of postchemotherapy fatigue:
  15. A 2009 study at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. found that acupuncture improved postchemotherapy fatigue by 5.5 points (scale of 10) on the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue Subscale with a 6 week course, significantly more than the chosen "sham" acupuncture stimulation:
  16. A 2007 study by the German Cancer Research Center, in Heidelberg, Germany, found that a number of Chinese herbal extracts showed promise in treatment, both in inhibiting tumor growth and protecting against toxicity of chemotherapy. The extract of Aglaia odorata, or Mi zi lan, sometimes called the Chinese Perfume Plant, produced the extract Rocaglamide, used in Chinese hospitals, was found to induce tumor cell apoptosis in various leukemia cell lines via MAPK activation, affecting bcl2 expression and various caspase mechanisms, with no toxicity on normal cells or lymphocytes:
  17. Further 2014 study of Rocaglamide, a Chinese herbal extract from Aglaia odorata, or Mi zi lan, by the German Cancer Research Center, in Heidelberg, Germany, found that this herbal extract significantly reduced normal cell death, or apoptosis, in normal healthy cells exposed to toxic chemotherapy, with induced DNA damage, showing that these herbal chemicals are modulatory, a compared to synthetic drugs. This was achieved by blocking upregulation of the protein p53 to help the body protect normal cells in the spleen, and proves that Rocaglamide, long used for this purpose in Chinese hospitals, is indeed a valuable adjunct medicine in cancer treatment:
  18. A 2007 study of the herb hawthorn fruit to protect against radiation therapy effects:
  19. A 2005 study of the effects of the Chinese herb Lycium barbatum (Gou qi zi or Di gu pi) on restoration of the blood cell production and quality after myelosuppression from radiation and chemotherapy showed a mild but significant improvement in red blood cell and platelet counts over controls:
  20. A 2007 meta-analysis of the limited studies published in Western medical journals on Chinese herbs used to treat the side-effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients revealed a small number of randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials establishing efficacy, and called for the funding of more and larger clinical trials to explore this adjunct therapy:
  21. A 2009 study at the University of Louisville School of Medicine James Graham Brown Cancer Center, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A. found that a well-studied herbal chemical found in a number of Chinese herbs, curcumin, now standardized with enhanced patented delivery in encapsulation (LongVida), was proven effective as a chemoprotective medicine. These experts noted that prior studies also proved that it provided significant antioxidant and anti-cancer effects for Barrett's esophagus and a wide array of cancer cells. The extract here was used in an oil extract form:
  22. A 2010 article in Reuters reported on a clinical study published in the professional journal Cancer that found that Milk Thistle was effective in reducing liver damage induced by chemotherapy in children. By combining such herbs in formula, the professional herbalist is able to tailor an effective treatment protocol to decrease chemotherapy damage:
  23. A 2015 study at Vasile Goldis Western University of Arad, in Arad, Romania, found that Milk Thistle extract, or Silymarin, was also effective in preventing cellular damage from chemotherapies such as epirubicin in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers:
  24. A 2015 study at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Shanghai, China, showed that a fermented form of cultivated Cordyceps (Dong chong xia cao), now widely produced and utilized in China due to the scarcity and demand of the limited supply of wild Cordyceps, significantly increases the glutathione peroxidase and catalase metabolism, total superoxide dismutase in heart tissue, reduces toxic malondialdehyde in liver and heart tissues, and exerts significant clearing of oxidant radicals. The study was performed on laboratory animals with induced oxidant stress from the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin, which is widely used to treat a variety of cancers. Such study in the laboratory demonstrates the value of this herb, traditionally used to boost immune strength and benefit heart health:
  25. A 2011 study at the King Abdulaziz University School of Medicine, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, found that the herb Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) exerts strong antioxidant protective effects against cardiac toxicity in laboratory animals treated with the chemotherapy drug doxirubicin, reducing glutathione depletion, malondialdehyde toxin, and increasing superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase acivities. Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) is used to treat leukemias, lymphomas, and cancers of the breast, lung, stomach, bladder, ovaries, thyroid, and others. :
  26. A 1999 study at the Seth GS Medical College, in Mumbai, India, found that the Chinese herb Tinospora cordifolia (Kuan jin teng) protected against chemotherapy damage with cysplatin to the gastric mucosa. This effect was achieved by modulation of the immune responses and regulation of the effects of macrophages on normal stomach tissue induced the toxic drug. Tinospora and Asparagus racemosa (Tian men dong) also improved the gastrointestinal function damaged by use of cysplatin:
  27. A 2010 study at the Yale University School of Medicine found that a 4-herb Traditional Chinese Herbal formula called PHY906 significantly reduced the toxicity induced by a common chemotherapy used to treat colon cancer. PHY906 consists of the Chinese herbs Huang qin (Scutellaria baicalensis), Bai shao (Paeonia lactiflora), Da zao (Ziziphus jujuba, or jujube date), and Gan cao (Glycyrrhiza uralensis, or licorice root):
  28. A 2013 meta-review study at Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guanzhou, China, found that 24 clinical human trials of chemotherapy combined with Chinese Herbal Medicine for advanced lung cancer treatment showed that this integrated combination of therapies increased the one-year survival rate, immediate tumor response, and Karnofsy performance score for quality of life, as well as alleviating nausea and protecting the hemoglobin and platelet counts, which are common side effects of chemotherapy:
  29. A 2006 meta-review study of integration of Chinese Herbal Medicine with chemotherapy in the treatment of lung cancer, at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, Berkeley, California, found that 34 randomized human clinical trials showed that TCM herbal formulas with Astragalus (Huang qi) showed significant benefits for the patients, with increased one-year survival rates, improved tumor response, reduced risk of recurrence at 2-years, and improved Karnofsky score of quality of life:
  30. A 2015 study the University Libre de Bruxelles School of Medicine, in Brussels, Belgium, showed that the Chinese herb Dang gui, or Angelica sinensis, displayed significant protective effects against the harm from chemotherapy induced by cysplatin on the kidneys. Such study shows that the propaganda in recent years that Dang gui should be avoided in cancer therapy, potentially inhibiting the effects of aromatase inhibitiors in breast cancer treatment, are not being applied across the board by cancer specialists:
  31. A 2015 study at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, in Tampa, Florida, found that that a chemical in the Chinese herb Paris polyphylla (Qi ye yi zhi hua, or Chong lou), polyphillin D (PD), showed that it had strong anticancer effects on all ovarian cancer cell lines, and significantly decreased the adverse effects of cysplatin:
  32. A 2005 study in India of radioprotection, or protection against radiation effects, showed that no effective pharmacological agent has been found, and the field of medicine has turned to herbal medicine to find active medicines in this regard:
  33. A 2006 study of the radioprotective effects of a Chinese herb, Cordyceps sinensis (Dong chong xia cao), found that this herb significantly protected against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation :
  34. A 2005 study of the radioprotective effects of a Ginseng found that this herb exerts significant radiprotective effects and antitumor properties, making the herb suitable to attenuate the adverse effects of radiation in humans :
  35. A 2010 study in India found that Silymarin, or Milk Thistle, shows much potential as a radioprotective herb, able to modulate the levels of NF-kappaB, scavenge peroxyl radicals in the lipid phase, and completely inhibit lipid peroxidative stress of cellular membranes exposed to ionizing radiation:
  36. A 2006 study of the herb Rhodiola imbricata at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences in New Delhi, India, found that this herb exerted significant radioprotective effects, particularly when both the alcohol and water extract of the herb were used:
  37. A 1998 study at the Unite de Recherches sur la Cinetique Cellulair, in Villejuif, France, found that the Chinese herb Acanthopanax senticosus (Ci wu jia, or Siberian Ginseng / Eleutherococcus) exerted significant radioprotective effects:
  38. A 2009 study in South Korea, at Seoul National University, found new technology to analyze the radioprotective effects of Chinese herbs. Among the Chinese herbs found radioprotective with this methodology, Pueraria root (Ge gen, or Kudzu), showed the highest antioxidant/radioprotective activity:
  39. A 2012 study at the National Centre for Radiation Research and Technology in Cairo, Egypt, found that the Chinese herb Curcuma longa (Jiang huang or Turmeric) was radioprotective, improving antioxidant status and minimizing the radiation-induced increase in inflammatory cytokines, especially on liver cells. Other Curcuma species are also used in Chinese medicine, including E zhu and Yu jin:
  40. A 2013 study at Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Trombay, Mumbai, India, found that the Chinese herb Scutellaria baicalensis (Huang qin) was protective of marrow bone cells against radiation damage:
  41. A 2012 study at Peking Union Medical College, and the Chinese Institute of Radiation Medicine, in Tianjin, China, found that the Chinese herb Tremella fuciformis (Bai mu er), a tree fungus, showed significant radioprotective effects and reduced chromosomal damage in laboratory animals by about half who were exposed to high dosage of gamma radiation, when administered just prior to the radiation:
  42. A 2011 study of radioprotective effects of melatonin at Mansoura University in Egypt showed the significant antioxidant and radioprotective effects against ionizing radiation induced organ injury:
  43. A 2012 study at China Medical University, in Taichung, Taiwan, found that various chemicals in Chinese herbal medicine exert a protective effect against radiation to the head and neck, via uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD) inhibition. Expression of this enzyme has been found to be a hallmark of a variety of malignant tumors, and various herbal chemicals have shown promise in inhibition of UROD, as well as EGFR (endothelial growth factor receptor) and Her2. The chemicals found include scopolin (Huan shan seng, or Physochlaina infundibularis Kuang), nodakenin (Qian hu, or Peucedanum praeruptorum Dunn), and isopraeroside IV (also found to be a potential PARP-1 inhibitor that may exert anti-cancer effects):
  44. A 2013 study by the University of Sydney School of Medicine showed that acupuncture was safe and effective to treat the common complaint of joint pain and stiffness associated with use of pharmaceutical aromatase inhibitors, such as Aromasin, Arimidex and Femara, commonly used to treat estrogen receptor positive breast cancers, and used in premenopausal women only after ovarian function is stopped with removal of ovaries or use of hormone suppressing drugs such as Lupron, Zoladex or Trelstar, which induce a menopausal-like syndrome that may also be treated successfully with acupuncture, herbal and nutrient therapy safely and effectively:
  45. A 2005 study at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, in Georgia, found that neuropsychiatric symptoms often result from interferon alpha therapy, used to treat Hepatitis C and cancer, as well as other viral diseases, and that this is explained by the effects on various neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, affecting opioid, dopamine and glutamate receptor metabolism and expression, and creating excitotoxicity:
  46. A 2014 study by experts at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine reveals that newer biologic pharmaceuticals that utilize modified T-cells and antibodies come with an alarming degree of toxicity, with a significant percentage of patients acquiring a syndrome of immune dysfunction, such as Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) and Macrophage Activating Syndrome (MAS), which are now shown to be identical to the rare Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis Syndrome (HLH) in a percentage of patients. Recovering health of the immune system, the liver and kidney systems, and clearing iron overload toxicity after using these biologic drugs may require professional CIM/TCM holistic therapy:
  47. A 2013 study risks versus benefits of atypical antipsychotic medications to treat major depressive disorder, by Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A., found that these commonly prescribed medications produced small to moderate benefits, little benefits in regards to quality of life and functional improvement, and abundant evidence of potential harm. Integration of Complementary Medicine could alleviate these adverse effects, increase quality of life and functional improvement, and perhaps allow lower dosage of the drug:
  48. A 2013 meta-review study of the cardiovascular risk with antipsychotic medications, including venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, was conducted by Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, and reported that this risk has been well established since introduction of this class of drugs in the 1950s, and that a review of all medical databases from 1990 to 2012 showed that so-called second generation antipsychotics, often used off-label for a variety of disorders, actually increased this risk. Integration of Complementary Medicine to offer protective therapy for cardiovascular health when using these drugs seems sensible in this light:
  49. A 2013 meta-review study of the safety issues with use of atypical antipsychotics by the Department of Psychiatry of National Taiwan University Hospital and College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, found that the there were few studies that explored actual risks of these drugs with long term use, but that ample evidence existed to indicate significant risks of Metabolic Syndrome as well as Endocrine-related adverse effects:
  50. A 2013 review of the enormous rise in prescription of antipsychotic medication, often with misleading cute names, for children and adolescents, by experts at the esteemed Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. notes that a 5-fold increase n prescription of these drugs for pediatric patients, which come with alarming adverse health effects that are largely ignored, is largely driven by lack of appropriate treatment, sales efforts with supportive studies, need for a quick fix for disruptive emotional and psychological behavior, and enormous rise in the diagnosis of autism and ADHD. These experts note that the long-term adverse health effects have not been well studied, though, and that the available scientific study shows that the alarming potential adverse effects should make these drugs a "treatment of last resort" instead of an easy prescription without adequate time spent with the patients, discussion of appropriate treatment, counseling, and actual care and prevention:
  51. A 2014 large study of the use of atypical antipsychotics in treatment of patients at nursing homes, despite FDA warnings that these drugs could worsen senile dementia and had many adverse health effects, by experts at the University of Waterloo in Canada, the Catholic University of Sacro Cuoro, in Italy, the University of Versailles St. Quentin, in France and the University of Ulm, in Germany, found that despite warnings and fines for promotion of these off-label presciptions outside of U.S. FDA guidelines, that the number of prescriptions continues to rise. Overall, in Europe and Canada, 32.8 percent of individuals diagnosed with dementia in the nursing homes were taking atypical antipsychotics, and the reasons were largely to control behavior. These experts noted that guidelines for both discontinuation and withdrawal were needed:
  52. A 2004 meta-review of scientific literature combined with an extensive survey of specialists that may prescribe antipsychotic medications, by the Cornell University's Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry, along with Weill Medical College, in Ithaca, New York, U.S.A., found that there was a 78 percent consensus against recommending this class of drugs for geriatric treatment for anxiety, major depression, neuropathic pain, hostility, irritability, and sleep disturbance, if there was no diagnosis of major psychiatric syndrome, mainly due to the risks and side effects of the medications, and risk of contraindications with other drugs, especially SSRI antidepressants, benzodiazepines, MOAI anti-depressants, and codeine-based pain medications. The risks and adverse effects of such drug therapy in geriatric care could be greatly reduced with the integration of simple therapies with Complementary Medicine, and quality of life improved dramatically in nursing homes and with at-home geriatric care:
  53. A 2009 article in the New York Times reveals that the integrity of medical research in the United States has been severely damaged by the findings of extensive ghostwriting of published articles, and the use of scientific publication to market and promote drugs:
  54. A 2010 article in the New York Times reveals that pharmaceutical companies are now conducting up to 80% of their clinical trials outside of the United States, where FDA oversight is lax: Reuters news service also ran an article outlining this growing problem:
  55. A 2003 article in the British Journal of Psychiatry reveals that classic antipsychotic medications, now used for many offlabel health problems, for which the major drug manufacturers have paid huge fines in the billions of dollars, have for decades caused hyperprolactinemia, or excess prolactin hormone excretion from the pituitary (stimulated by hypothalamic dysfunction), causing amenorrhea, infertility, erectile dysfunction, chronic fatique, and a host of hormonal problems in 17-78% of patients. This is the reason why the pharmaceutical industry has introduced prolactin-sparing antipsychotic medications:
  56. In 2009 and 2010, 5 major pharmaceutical companies paid criminal fines or settled in federal court for off label promotion to doctors of various atypical antipsychotic drugs totalling billions of dollars in settlements and fines. This new class of antipsychotic drugs had fewer side effects than the classic antipsychotics, which all produced significant unwanted neurological, neuroleptic, and hormonal effects, nevertheless, large weight fluctations, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and neuroleptic symptoms of involuntary muscle contraction, jerking and facial grimacing, as well as milder symptoms of twitch, have all been seen in significant percentages of patients over time and attributed to these drugs: / to see a full list of FDA settlements for off-label marketing, click here to access Wikipedia:
  57. Finally, in 2013, the knowledge that some of the most common over-prescribed medications are causing at least a fourth of all cases of sexual dysfunction reported in the United States, is well known. Here, the AARP website outlines the data, showing how statins, fibrates, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics (many prescribed now off-label for a wide variety of problems), benzodiazepines, gastric acid inhibitors, and anticonvulsants (many prescribed off-label for a wide variety of conditions, including migraines, bipolar disorder, neuropathic pain, chronic pain, etc.). The ways that these drugs cause sexual dysfunction, altering hormone balance, etc. also cause a lot of other common health problems, and knowledge of these adverse effects can allow the patient and Complementary Medicine physician to design an individualized protocol to reverse this damage and minimize side effects:
  58. A 2003 review of gastrointestinal side effects of pharmaceuticals, which are well known and accepted in a wide variety of commonly prescribed drugs, is presented here by Professor Ashley B. Price of the Imperial College of Medicine in London, United Kingdom, a consultant pathologist in London. Standard medicine has been loathe to discuss iatrogenic pathology and preventive measures, but here is a discussion of the pathological changes that should be countered, including immune dysfunction in gut mucosa epithelium, with pseudomembranous colitis, diaphragm disease, and reactive gastritis also described:
  59. A 2011 review of chronic skin rash due to contact dermatitis, by experts at the University of Toronto School of Medicine, found that systemic reactions of the allergen or a cross-reacting allergen (atopy) were responsible for most cases of these types of eczema, particularly dermatitis of the skin folds, termed Intertrigo and Exanthema. The causes of this chronic reactivity of the skin via the systemic route included corticosteroids and antibiotics, heavy metal toxicities, and common plant allergens, with the most common causes found to be aminopenicillins, beta-lactam antibacterials, and certain chemotherapeutic agents, although the list of medication and drug causes continues to grow, showing the increased awareness of immune dysfunctions related to these medications:
  60. In 2013, the U.S. FDA required black box warning labels indicating that fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Cipro, Levaquin, Noroxin and Avelox may cause permanent nerve damage: