Abel Asfaw

 AP English

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Senior Project


I believe that alternative medicine is worse than pharmaceutical drugs and that prescriptions based medicine is the best option.

Why do people turn to alternative medicine? “An example is that the development of alleged complementary alternative medicine or also known as CAM). Complementary and alternative medicine includes such things as practices like massage, acupuncture, tai chi, and drinking certain types of tea. Why has it been increasing in popularity (and is it, really?). Standard and proven treatments are treatments that are accepted by medical experts as a proven treatment for a certain type of disease, like how insulin is  to a diabetic,  and that is widely used by healthcare professionals. CAM is more like herbal supplements that could be harmful when taken by themselves, with other substances, or in large doses. (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/)

For example, some studies have shown that kava kava, a herb that is native to islands in the South Pacific, it has been used to help with stress and anxiety, but with a trade off it causes liver damage. Is it because of  slick promoting, relaxed regulations, scientific illiteracy, the failures of thought medicine (prescription medicine not working for the patient)? It is like a placebo effect and people that are gullible get places into this trap. The common narrative is making people pay for placebo’s.”

 If people are turning to CAM it should be as a result of mainstream drugs has been unsuccessful them. (https://www.cancer.gov)

According to David Gorski, a surgical oncologist and professor of surgery at Wayne State University, this undefined gray area of medicine has allowed complementary and alternative medicine(CAM) has damaged the worlds of medical professionals. “A lot of doctors and scientists don’t pay attention to this stuff,” says Gorski, he also serves as managing editor of Science-Based Medicine, a website to debunking CAM theories. He has a name for people he says recognize CAM treatments as fake but don’t feel that you need to say to their patients. He calls them “Shruggies.” According to science and fact Based Medicine writer Val Jones, who brought the term, Shruggies “should soberly consider whether or not it’s ethical to remain indifferent and/or silent on the matter” of pseudoscientific tolerance in the scientific and medical communities. “Perhaps you don’t realize how high the stakes are,” she writes. Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that are claimed to be scientific and factual in the absence of evidence gathered and constrained by appropriate scientific methods.”The very foundations of the scientific method and the integrity of our professions are indeed being attacked.” (https://io9.gizmodo.com/)

Nearly 40% of adults in the U.S. use some types of  CAM, including dietary supplements. “The widespread popularity of CAM has brought light to the existence of both a knowledge and a communication gap for health care professionals with respect to being able to properly counsel patients about these treatments.  A lack of evidence-based information about efficacy, safety, and drug interactions with CAM therapies, as well as a lack of formal training, is thought to be responsible for this deficit.Although the federal government, academia, and the private sector have begun to offer some support for CAM education, research, and integration with conventional medicine, more initiatives are needed. Professional standards regarding CAM that have been issued for pharmacists and physicians are an important source of guidance in providing patient counseling and utilizing these treatments.”


Everyone try to find the right health care providers to enjoy the safest and most natural care possible. Natural health providers will have a solid education in their field. “Like in the case of lady Sally Baldwin, She travelled to Tijuana, Mexico to seek an alternative treatment for her breast cancer. She continued the “Gerson therapy” at home, but died two years later for her untreated breast cancer.” -“Nobody should just abandon their medical treatment to pursue alternative cures. However, seeking alternative therapies may help many people reduce their reliance on harsh medications by following the advice of alternative providers and coordinating their care with all of their health care providers.”

(http://whatstheharm.net/)  (http://edzardernst.com)

Although pharmacists are in a perfect position to produce guidance and record-keeping, research suggests that few pharmacists or alternative health care professionals habitually raise regarding, document, or monitor patients’ use of dietary supplements. Pharmacists are uncomfortable respondent questions on supplements as a result of few scientific studies are out there to guide clinical discussions and choices, and that they usually don’t feel experienced this subject. Pharmacists may additionally not be aware of skilled professional apply standards that advocate routine inquiry, documentation, and observance of patients’ use of supplements. Pharmacists WHO are possibly to inquire regarding and record supplement use work in inpatient settings, have access to evidence-based data on CAM, or have received extra coaching in different medications.

Physicians conjointly believe that they lack the resources and coaching to reply to patients’ inquiries regarding dietary supplements. in a very recent survey within which over 80% of the 164 respondents were general practice physicians (the remainder were largely pharmacists), 76 aforementioned were “poorly informed” regarding flavorer medicines and 46.6% aforementioned that their own information on this subject was “very poor” or “quite poor.”Although 77.3% of respondents aforementioned that they feared their patients would take flavorer medicines while not telling them, only 12.9% aforementioned that they “always” inquire regarding the use of dietary supplements.

In another study, a lot of pharmacists than physicians rated their information regarding CAM product as either “above average” or “excellent” and indicated that they might be an honest alternative or connected therapy to prescription medications, whereas physicians attended state that they were either ineffective or unsafe. This distinction was attributed to the pharmacists’ bigger familiarity and interest in dietary supplements, additionally as their having a lot of expertise guidance patients on this subject. In several aid facilities nationwide, a physician’s order is usually needed to permit patients to use a home provide of dietary supplements. These survey findings prompt the question regarding whether or not physicians have the coaching and confidence to issue such an order. Physicians should so be inspired to utilize pharmacy services before ordering that a patient be permissible to take a supplement.


There are dangers of taking unproven medicines. Trust your doctor they went  to school for 8 years to do this. “Also you should finish what is prescribed to you because in many cases if you feel better and don’t have symptoms, you may think what you have is cured. But if you have a bacterial infection, this can be a very dangerous presupposition. If the full course of antibiotics drugs is not taken, a small percent of bacteria are likely to still be in your system. These bacteria are likely to have some natural resistance to the antibiotic. As they emerge and spread, a new type of resistant germs may begin to evolve. This may be a way that Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) infections occur.” MRSA is a type of bacteria that’s resistant to certain antibiotics. The side effects of some antibiotics can sometimes deter  people and make them feel worse instead of better. People may not realize the risks of drug resistance that can occur if they stop treatment or skip or lower doses.  (https://www.fda.gov/)

Another such unproven drug people take is ethanol. Ethanol is widely believed to lower blood glucose levels in diabetics. But of course there is a downside to ethanol, it is alcohol like your household vodka.  When drinking, the alcohol moves quickly into the bloodstream without being metabolized in your stomach. In only five minutes of taking that first sip, there’s enough alcohol in your bloodstream to show up on a test. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, and for the average non diabetic person it takes about two hours to metabolize a  drink. If you drink alcohol faster than your body metabolizes it, the excess alcohol moves through your bloodstream to other parts of your body, particularly your brain. If you’ve ever gotten a “buzz” when drinking alcohol, that’s why.

Some Background, If you take insulin (prescription) (for Type 1), or other oral diabetes medications, such as a sulfonylurea (glipizide, glyburide) or meglitinide (Prandin) that stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin, drinking alcohol can cause a dangerous low blood sugar because your liver has to work to remove the alcohol from your blood instead of its main job to regulate your blood sugar. In turn it does lower blood glucose “temporary” but also kills your liver at a faster rate than it helps you. (http://www.diabetes.org)     


Alternative medicine is multi-billion dollar industry,  it is entirely made up of  very under qualified people who don’t have any education in medical school, acting as if that of a healthcare provider, letting anyone obtain either untested or proven ineffective medicines that act as a placebo type medicine. It is an industry that has no type of regulation and keeps on attempting to set itself apart from the standard scientific testing, which means that anyone can sell dirt as a cure for diabetes. As the name itself implies, alternative medicine is the alternative to medicine – it’s not medicine, it contradicts itself. It’s not based in science and has no evidence to support even the main ideas of many if its “Alternative” practices. It is an industry that has no science, no facts, and no clue.

Are prescription medications are safe to abuse than other untested medications?

“Studies at Washington State show that teens and adolescents think prescription medications are a safer various to illicit street drugs like cocaine or diacetylmorphine (Heroin). After all, they’re Food and Drug Administration approved and plenty of have seen their moms, dads, grandparents and other family members take the same medications underneath their doctor’s care to treat a variety of illnesses. So, however unhealthy can they be?” When mistreated or taken while not a doctor’s prescription, these medication can be even as harmful as illegal street medication. (https://www.alzheimers.net)

 The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) says “that non-adherence causes 30% to 50% of chronic  Disease  treatment  failures  and 125,000  deaths per year in this country”.  25%  to 50% of patients being treated with Statins (cholesterol lowering medicine) who don’t go to their  therapy  within  one  year have  up to  a 25% increased risk for death. Taking these medications together with alcohol or alternative drugs, as several college students do to amplify or “cancel out” their effects, can have grave and probably deadly consequences. (https://www.fda.gov/)

An example of believing in alternative medicine is of an unnamed 12 year old girl. “There once was a 12-year-old girl that come into the emergency room with paralysis in one of her legs. they diagnosed her with polio. She is the only patient with polio they have ever seen. The family had not immunize her for any of the vaccine-preventable diseases. The father was so tearful and angry. And all I could think was, You turned your back on the very thing that could have saved your daughter from this.” (David Kimberlin, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham)

In fact, many alternative practitioners are trained professionals. Others work closely with MDs to coordinate care. Patients should always let all of their health care providers know about treatments that they receive from all the others.  (http://www.bemedwise.org)

The most famous case of someone taking alternative medicine and it not working out is that of Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was the cofounder of Apple Computer he died on October 5, 2011 from his pancreatic cancer, he died at 56. Steve Jobs had a huge impact on the world with his tech and gadgets like the iPod or the iPhone,  that Americans truly fell in love with.

It is widely known he believed in alternative therapies and he tried it. Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer. A very curable cancer. Steve had cut down his diet to only fruits or just fruits and vegetables, tried out something called hydrotherapy he had consulted psychics to make sure he will survive for a while. In his case, a supporting part of anecdotal reports shows us gripping evidence that was negative, of  alternative medicine on the health and longevity of his cancer. And, although Steve Jobs’s alternative medicine choices may not have done much delay the spread of his deadly cancer cells, they show that the choice is up to you.

In Conclusion It is proven that CAM therapy is belittling Doctors that have worked and studied for  years to help people,  The common narrative is making people pay for placebo’s. Nearly 40% of adults in the U.S. use some types of  CAM, including dietary supplements. That means that 40% of people don’t get the treatment they need. People should trust their doctor and they should believe that they are doing the best thing for everyone. It’s not based in science and  as no evidence to support even the main ideas of many if its “Alternative” practices. It is an industry that has no science, no facts, and no clue.

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