The drugging of our children, part

Dynamic Chiropractic – June 16, 2003, Vol. 21, Issue 13 The Drugging of Our Children, Part 1 (see part 2 below)
Since the 60s, parents have told their children, "Just say ’no’ to drugs." TV commercials, parentingmagazines and "wellness " visits to pediatricians send a completely different message. In the past two decades, our society has accepted (and even embraced) the idea that drugs are OK. We’veforgotten that drugs are chemicals with potential harmful side-effects. The question to ask is, "Why have weaccepted the drugging of our children without any question or caution?" There are several possible reasons: Advertising has worked; parents lack critical thinking skills; and/or ourWestern culture of convenience does not have the time for their children to be sick. What many parents don’t realize is that all drugs have side-effects, and that many produce cumulative,long-term damage to the body. Drugs don’t cure; at best, they manage conditions. Perhaps even moredisconcerting, not all drugs have been thoroughly tested for long usage. Like the tobacco industries, pharmaceutical companies control the information and image of their products.
They make sure the message we see is that drugs are all right for our children. So, how do we fight for ourchildren? Approach parents’ perceptions of drugs from a different place. As a health-care professional, provide thetruth. Understand that parents are trying to make the right health-care choices for their kids, so educate themabout alternatives. How do we begin this educational campaign? Start with, "The truth will set them free." Start by providingextensive information in your office - information necessary for parents to make informed choices. Most parents do not know that in the year 2000, the FDA approved 25 new medicines; 52 potential newmedicines are currently set for clinical trials; or that approximately 217 medicines and vaccines are currently A survey from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America showed that pediatricmedications are an active area of pharmaceutical research, despite the many practical, legal and ethicaldifficulties of testing medicines on children. Drug companies hope to bolster their revenues by marketingdrugs to children, including those for diabetes; Crohn’s disease; Duchene’s muscular dystrophy; earinfections; pneumonia; cerebral palsy; psychiatric disorders; and autism. Parents also are unaware that the drugs they freely give to their children may be poorly labeled, jeopardizingtheir children. An FDA consumer article warned that while some drugs do come with information, asthmamedications and other medications lack labeling for appropriate treatment of children.2 Other types of drugs that often lack pediatric labeling include those for depression; epilepsy; severe pain;gastrointestinal problems; allergic reactions; and high blood pressure. The FDA identified the 10 drugsprescribed most often to children, despite a lack of or poor labeling, and found that over 5 millionprescriptions were given. It has been estimated that more than half of the drugs approved annually for likelyuse in children are not adequately tested or labeled for treating youngsters. When parents receive a prescription from their pediatrician, they generally assume the drug has been testedand proven effective and safe. However, the majority of such drugs have never been tested on patients intheir child’s age group. Drugs commonly given to children are the analgesics - members of the painkiller family. Theseover-the-counter medications are prescribed for relief of pain and reduction of fever and inflammation.
Typical childhood disorders for which parents would give their children these drugs include colds;headaches; sleep disorders; teething; and childhood "hurts" needing quick relief. What Parents Don’t Know About Acetaminophen, Aspirin and Ibuprofen
Acetaminophen: An overdose can result in death. Contraindications for its administration to a child include
hepatitis or mononucleosis.
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid): Side-effects include: stomach upset; heartburn; nausea; vomiting; and
increased risk of bleeding. Contraindications: Do not give aspirin to a child or teenager unless the physician
recommends it. Aspirin has been associated with the development of Reye’s syndrome, a potentially
Ibuprofen: Side-effects are upset stomach and heartburn. Do not give ibuprofen to a child under the age of
three years without speaking to a physician, and do not take it yourself during the late stages of pregnancy.
In this series, it is my intent to provide professionals with information for their adult patients. Health-careproviders must serve as "resource-tellers," since many parents are not provided with accurate, objectiveinformation about their children and chemicals. Part 2 of this series will examine antibiotics and asthma drugs; part 3 will discuss the drug Ritalin. 1. 217 Drugs and vaccines in testing for children. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of 2. Pediatric drug studies: protecting pint-sized patients, FDA Consumer May-June 1999.
Dynamic Chiropractic – September 1, 2003, Vol. 21, Issue 18 The Drugging of Our Children, Part Two: Antibiotics and

More than five million cases of otitis media are diagnosed every year in the U.S. A commonly treated healthproblem, this inflammation of the middle ear is often treated with antibiotics. Dr. J. Owen Hendley, from theUniversity of Virginia, reviewed 100 studies and discovered that antibiotics help only one out of eightchildren with ear infections. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study regarding the use of antibiotics versus the use of aplacebo. It revealed that during a one-week period, 94 percent of the recipients using antibiotics for earinfections resolved, while 84 percent of the placebo-controlled recipients resolved during the same timeperiod. Little, Gould, et al.,1 presented the downside of the use of antibiotics by stating: "The bacteria, which causeear infections, learn quickly to be resistant to antibiotics. At some point we’re going to run out of drugs totreat the problem. Antibiotics resistance is a huge problem in this country. The practice of treating eightchildren to help one who needs antibiotics just makes it worse." "Wait and watch" is sage advice. A previous study by Little, Gould, et al., compared immediate versus delayed usage of antibiotics, showingthat for most children, the benefit with immediate antibiotics was only marginal, with no significantdifference in pain or distress. It should be noted, however, that the medical conclusion was that immediateantibiotic prescriptions provided symptomatic benefit mainly after 24 hours, when symptoms were alreadyresolving. For children who are not very ill systemically, the "wait-and-watch" approach seems clinicallyfeasible. Parents, beware of the side-effects and contraindications to the usage of antibiotics! Side-effects to drugssuch as amoxicillin, Augmentin or ampicillin include diarrhea, hives and yeast infections. Children with aprevious allergy to these drugs should not take them. Also, the cephalosporin antibiotics cefadroxil andcephalexin may present numerous side-effects, such as upset stomach; nausea; vomiting; depressed whiteblood cell (WBC) counts; anemia; rashes; and inhibited blood clotting. Contraindications to these mayinclude an allergy to the drug; a blood clotting disorder or history of bleeding problems; phenylketonuria;and stomach or intestinal diseases, especially colitis. Ciprofloxacin side-effects are upset stomach; nausea; vomiting; loss of appetite; diarrhea; headache; sleepdisturbance; increased risk of tendonitis; dizziness; mood changes; a depressed WBC count; anemia; rashes;and sun sensitivity. Its contraindications include children susceptible to seizures or with central nervoussystem disorders. Erythromycin side-effects are upset stomach and rash, and it is contraindicated if the childis vomiting or has nausea. The growing problem of childhood asthma brings a new host of drug exposure to the young child. Did you know that childhood asthma causes more school absences than any other single pediatric disorder? Between 1982 and 1992, there was a 56-percent increase in newly diagnosed asthma cases in the UnitedStates, and in the past decade the numbers have continued to be staggering. Bronchodilator side-effects include dizziness; flushed face; headache; increased heart rate; and
nervousness. Contraindication includes allergy to the medicine, or a child with heart or blood vessel
Leukoriene modifiers (Singulair, Accolate): Side-effects include headache; nasal congestion; nausea;
diarrhea; abdominal pain; weakness; dizziness; muscle aches; and fever.
Inhaled steroids (AeroBid, Flovent, etc.) can cause oral yeast infections and may be risky in cases of
serious infection, such as pneumonia.
Oral steroids (prednisone, etc) may suppress the immune system and cause fluid retention, insomnia
and increased appetite. Contrain-dications are the same as those of inhaled steroids.
Theophylline (Aerolate, Brokodyl, etc.): Side-effects include nervousness; headache; irritability;
increased heart rate; nausea; and diarrhea. Possible long-term use may be linked to learning disabilities.
The doctor of chiropractic often is viewed as a family doctor to many families in his or her practice. Ourrole is not to take a child off of medication, but rather to inform parents that other possible alternativeoptions (even outside of chiropractic) exist in the less severe cases and that possibly, for the more severelysymptomatic child, co-management care is a viable option. A vast majority of parents unknowingly give their child medications without properly being warned of thepotential side-effects and contrain-dications to these chemicals. One step you can take is to review these drugs with parents from the PDR or another resource. Parentsshould have all the information at hand to make an educated decision to the health-care choices and riskswhen it comes to their children. 1. Anrig C. The antibiotic dilemma. Dynamic Chiropractic Oct. 2002;20 (21):18,32-33.
Editor’s note: Part one of this article appeared in the June 16, 2003 issue. A printable version of Dr. Anrig’squestion at her "Talk Back" forum at the same location. Page printed from:


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