What a tragedy.
Research is pouring out of laboratories around the globe that can transform the lives of men all over the planet, giving them added decades of health and longevity. However, a cancer has spread into the system that is destroying the reputation of Western medicine. What am I talking about? I'm talking about the fact that our medicines are killing us.
Medicine, by definition, heals and restores, right? Wrong! Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the modern pharmaceutical industry. Yes, some drugs, such as antibiotics, are no brainers. But, recently, one medication after another has been found to be a major killer.
I am pro-doctor and pro-research, but the pharmaceutical industry is completely out of control and simply does not have our best interests at heart. Every drug should be tested for the basics: how it impacts the cardiovascular system, clotting, hormones, brain function and other obvious major health issues. Yet, as shown below, this clearly is not occurring. I know that drug companies spend tens of millions researching a drug. But what good is all that research if you don't study how it affects our most basic physiology?? "Just what are they testing?", one could ask.
Consider the medicines below that have been released to the general public and do incredible damage, even leading to thousands and thousands of deaths and untold physical and mental damage annually:
CAUTION: Do not cease any medication without talking to your doctor first. Sometimes the risk of some drugs may be the best alternative depending on the severity of your medical condition.
1. Avandia. This diabetes drug was a disaster from day one. It increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and congestive heart failure just for starters.  Nice, huh? The company made millions and lawyers now will too.
2. Anticholinergics. Ever heard of Benadryl? I'll bet you have. These old line antihistamines (that I used to take like candy) are called anticholinergics, because they block acetylcholine receptors in the brain. Turns out this is a very bad idea and researchers have found that it can accelerate congitive impairment.  NOTE: Some disease conditions, such as glaucoma, can require anticholinergics and there may not be a good alternative in some cases. Talk to your doctor.
3. Antidepressants. These drugs, which Americans drink like water, are now suspected of being relationship killers.  Yes, they can sometimes help with depression - although some studies have shown them on average little better than placebo - but they also can hammer the dopamine system. This leads to decreased feelins of romance and often sexual dysfunction in women and erectile dysfunction in men. Maybe these should be called Cold Shower In a Capsule? And, yes, one major PLOS study concluded that the SSRI's (Paxil, Prozac, etc.) are no better than placebo except for the most severaly depressed patients. 
Antidepressants are also now known to often be a major source of weight gain. Many studies have verifed this fact across a broad range of antidepreassants and one journal summarized by saying that "antidepressants such as amitriptyline, mirtazapine and some serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) also may promote appreciable weight gain that cannot be explained solely by improvement in depressive symptoms. The same phenomenon is observed with mood stabilizers such as lithium, valproic acid and carbamazepine." 
4. Asthma Drugs: Symbicort, Advair Diskus, Serevent Diskus, Dulera and Foradil. As unbelievable as it may seem, these anti-asthma drugs are strongly suspected of causing deaths and, actually, many more deaths than result from asthma itself each year.  Even worse, the primary population dying from these drugs are children. Why aren't they pulled off the market? Money at lots of it - these drugs are huge cash cows for the pharmaceutical giants behind them.
5. Meridia. This weight loss drug worked by turning you into a zombie. That's right - it worked by blocking reuptake of seratonin and dopamine, sort of a lobotomy in pill form, eh? So this drug should be good for the heart, since losing weight is always good for cardiovascular outcomes, right? Unfortunately, Meridia was a heart-stopper very frequently and was shown to increase both the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Yes, the cure can be worse than the disease and the company, Abbott, recalled the drug.
6. Vioxx. This COX-2 inhibitor, supposedly a miraculous improvement over standard NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and aspirin, just had one little problem: it doubled your risk of heart attack  This led Merck to make the biggest recall of a medicine in history. Good riddance is all we can say.
7. Chantix. This drug utilized a simple strategy for smoking cessation: it stopped the heart from beating. Indeed, one hardly desires a puff when you are fighting for your last breath, eh? Well, this bad boy increased the risk of heart attack by 72% in smokers. 
8. Calcium Channel Blockers. Ironically, some hypertension medications can signficantly increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Just how did that little fact slip by the FDA?
9. Propecia (Finasteride). This hair loss drug has been found to permanently castrate (at least partially) a significant percentage of men. For more information, read my link about The Risks of Propecia.
10. PDE5 Inhibitors (Cialis, Levitra and Viagra). These drugs can cause temporary and sometimes permanent loss of hearing, tinnitus and dyspepsia (upset stomach). Perhaps worst of all, they can often cause loss of vision. Researchers have recently found out why: they tend to cross over and affect other PDE enzymes including those in the eye. And they found this means in many cases decreased blood flow to the optic nerve.  So, ironically, these drugs may increase blood flow to the penis and yet decrease it to the eye. Who knows if this is causing long term damage, but it is likely in my opinion as decreased blood flow is rarely a good thing in the body.
11. Sleeping Pills. These have been found to greatly increase the risk of dying. Researchers discovered, for example, that even those taking low doses, 4-18 per year, increased their risk of deat by 3.6 times!  Yes, the cure can be worse than the disease!
12. Celexa (Citalopram). What about an antidepressant that increases your risk of death from sudden cardiac issues? A recent study showed that that is just what Celexa does.  This drug, which is very popular, actually changes one's heart beat and increases the risk of fatal arrythmias.
This list could go on and on. I have not even discussed the drugs that lower testosterone, Drugs Associated with Erectile Dysfunction or the Problems with Statins. (Nor have I discussed the 100,000 plus deaths every year in America from drug interactions, Tylenol liver poisoning and so on.) The bottom line is that we need a champion, someone in the medical community who is willing to take on the FDA and the pharmaceutical lobbying machine. Until then, "let the consumer beware." And let the consumer exercise and eat a Mediterranean or Low Fat Diet!
And, hopefully, someone has alerted intelligence agencies around the globe that they can stop using primitive tools such as strichnine, cyanide and arsenic to do their dirty work. Almost every home in America has a whole medicine chest full of pills that will do a much less messy job.
1) N Engl J Med, 2007, 356:2457-2471, "Effect of Rosiglitazone on the Risk of Myocardial Infarction and Death from Cardiovascular Causes"
2) Medications Found to Cause Long Term Cognitive Impairment of Aging Brain, Study Finds ScienceDaily (July 13, 2010)
7) N Engl J Med, 2010 363:905-917, "Effect of Sibutramine on Cardiovascular Outcomes in Overweight and Obese Subjects"
12) Drugs Today 2005, 41(8):547, "Drugs of Today"