ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: STEROIDS

The human body makes its own steroids. These may be anabolic or catabolic . The body maintains an intricate balance of these chemicals and different types are produced for different functions, accurately and rhythmically. Steroids that encourage repair are produced through the night when we are sleeping and those that stimulate activity are produced in … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: SLEEPING PILLS

There is a variety of different chemical compounds that can be used to put people to sleep. There is no ‘safe’ sleeping pill because any of them in excess can cause brain damage or death. From a more holistic point of view sleeping pills are a quick solution for a deep biological imbalance. Sleeping pills … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: SEPTRIN

This is a common antibiotic that is used less because of its toxic side effects. It is popular for urinary tract infections and is now used as a prophylactic antibiotic against Pneumocystis carinii, a common infection in AIDS. Only use this drug on the recommendation of a specialist because others are less toxic and just … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: SALAZOPYRIN

A salicylic acid or aspirin-based derivative, this drug works as a potent anti-inflammatory agent used predominantly in bowel inflammation and particularly ulcerative colitis. Salazopyrin definitely has a beneficial effect in inflammatory bowel disease and may reduce inflammation and prevent operations if taken either alone or in conjunction with steroids. If prescribed, withdrawal should be under … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ROHYPNOL

This potent hypnotic receives a mention separate from sleeping pills in general because of its use as a drug of abuse. When taken with alcohol and the initial soporific effect is fought off, an exciting buzz is said to occur and with a prolongation of time before orgasm during sexual intercourse. This may be so … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ROACCUTANE

This is a powerful and toxic anti-acne drug based on a derivative of vitamin A. The side effects take approximately 2 minutes to read out and this drug is generally only prescribed by a hospital consultant. Try every avenue to treat acne other than with this drug.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: RITALIN

This drug is sold as part of a treatment programme for attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorders. The manufacturers suggest that it should only be used as a last resort, although, especially in America, its use is becoming much greater. The drug must be prescribed by a specialist and even then the safety is questionable. … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: RETIN-A

This compound, tretinoin, is the acid form of vitamin A. It is a topical application used in acne that causes a drying effect and temporarily reduces the problem of acne. It is frequently used in association with Roaccutane , again in acne. It is an extremely aggressive topical treatment and is in no way curative. … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: REGAINE

This topically applied drug, minoxidil, has gained fame by acting as a hair follicle stimulant in male-pattern baldness. The drug was initially discarded from its original intended use as an antihypertensive drug because of severe side effects. One of these was hair growth. Some clever boffin applied it directly to the skin and a whole … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: RANITIDINE

Ranitidine is an antacid drug that blocks receptors in the stomach lining that trigger acid production. It is of benefit in relieving symptoms and supposedly gives the stomach time to repair any damaged membrane.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: QUININE

Quinine is used in severe cases of malaria and differs from antimalarial drugs simply because it is used as a treatment and not as a prophylactic. Quinine is the most effective of antimalarial drugs and that is not speaking too highly. Used in conjunction with complementary therapies its effects may well be enhanced but this … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PROVERA

This is a modified progesterone drug that is used by specialists in the treatment of endometriosis and other gynaecological problems. It is sometimes used to try to induce periods if they have stopped. Provera has many unpleasant side effects and should be used only when alternative treatments have failed.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PROGESTERONE

Progesterone is infrequently used because of the artificial forms being 40 times stronger than naturally made progesterone. Certain conditions require its use but plenty of alternatives exist for all but the most serious of problems. Natural progesterone is available in a cream and may be far more effective than oestrogen in many hormone-related conditions, including … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PIRITON

This drug receives a specific mention because it is one of the more popular antihistamines used for hayfever and urticarial symptoms. Like any drug aimed principally at symptomatic relief, Piriton should be used as a last and not first choice.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PIPERAZINE

Piperazine along with mebendazole are the two most frequendy used antihelminthic drugs. Although there is a myriad of herbal treatments that have been used for centuries in dealing with infestation by worms such as roundworms and threadworms, these two drugs are safe and effective. I recommend the use of these drugs because they are poorly, … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PHENYTOIN

This is an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug. It acts by reducing the sensitivity of neurological cells, thereby preventing the electrical impulses that flash through the brain causing epilepsy. It is an extremely effective and successful drug, although some side effects are associated. Phenytoin is usually only prescribed by specialists when no other options are available. … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PHENOBARBITONE

Phenobarbitone is one of the few barbiturates still utilized for certain conditions. It is generally only prescribed by specialists and only if other more effective drugs with less addictive properties are not available. If you are using a barbiturate you probably need to and you should continue to do so unless an alternative treatment is … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PHENERGAN

Phenergan is the trade name of the most common antihistamine used in Britain: promethazine. Promethazine is used all over the world as a first choice for hayfever and other allergic symptoms. It deserves special mention because it is used as a sedative preoperatively and also for children who are exhibiting sleep pattern difficulties. This latter … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PETHIDINE

Pethidine is a commonly employed opioid analgesic. It used to be quite commonplace in childbirth, although like any opiate derivative it may have a suppressive effect on respiration and is therefore no longer encouraged because of the risk to the foetus or baby. Commonly found in the emergency medical bags of doctors, pethidine can be … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PEPPERMINT OIL

Used as an aromatherapy oil, peppermint can be most beneficial. From an orthodox point of view peppermint has been found to be helpful in relieving bowel spasm, especially in irritable bowel syndrome. It has its place in holistic treatments and if effective can be used without anxiety, although one must remember that peppermint will negate … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PARACETAMOL

Paracetamol is a mild but potent analgesic similar in its effect and strength to aspirin but with far less anti-inflammatory effect. Because, holistically speaking, inflammation is part of the body’s repair mechanism, paracetamol is preferred to aspirin as a first-line pain relief. Paracetemol is, however, far more toxic to the liver than aspirin and should … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE PILL

When the ‘Pill’ was first produced in the late 1950s its claims were: socially enormous and medically safe. Nearly 40 years later the social implications have been supported and indeed the number of unwanted pregnancies and the serious complications that go with this, such as terminations , will also support its beneficial claims. It takes … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: OPIOID ANALGESICS

The body produces natural painkillers, the most effective of which is a group called endorphins and enkephalins. These powerful analgesics are produced when the body is in severe pain or has undergone trauma, but can also be produced through heavy muscular exercise. These hormones also carry a sense of euphoria. ‘Man-made’ opiates have a very … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: OESTROGENS

Oestrogens are a group of hormones manufactured in both males and females but more so in women. Produced predominantly in the ovaries and the adrenal glands, they affect many different cells in the body. Until the age of puberty, oestrogen levels are low in girls, they rise and fall through the normal menstrual cycle and … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NYSTATIN

Nystatin is a very popular prescription for candidal or thrush infections because it kills yeasts but, like any such drug, has a capability of creating resistant strains. Avoid the use of nystatin whenever possible.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NON-STEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS

These drugs, as the name suggests, are antiinflammatory drugs. They are a step up from aspirin, paracetamol and acetaminophen, and a step down from steroids. Inflammation is the body’s natural healing process and should only be suppressed as a last resort. Alternative and complementary medical treatment should be tried first before an anti-pain drug is … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NITRATES

The most commonly used nitrate is glycerine trinitrate . This is a potent arterial dilator that has its most beneficial effect on the arteries supplying the heart muscle. It is commonly used in angina and, like any cardiac drug, should be used as instructed unless alternatives can be found. Like any drug that affects the … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NIFEDIPINE

Nifedipine is a cardiac drug and if prescribed should be used, unless an alternative therapy proves successful and even then withdrawal should only be under a doctor’s supervision. Nifedipine had some bad press because it was causing suicide and a worsening of symptoms and cardiac failure in a larger than acceptable number of users. Other … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NICOTINE PRODUCTS

Nicotine is a highly addictive compound found in all tobacco. It is conceivable that some cigarette companies might put extra nicotine into their brands to ‘hook’ users. The pharmaceutical industry has produced nicotine products in the form of patches and chewing gum in an attempt to remove the need for people to obtain nicotine from … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: NALOXONE

This drug is given to block the effects of opiates, principally in those who have overdosed on heroin, opium or morphine. An excess of these compounds can cause respiratory depression and they are therefore potentially fatal; naloxone plays its part in emergency medicine.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MOUTHWASHES

Mouthwashes are principally antiseptic solutions. They kill bacteria but do not differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys. Our mouths are protected by a variety of useful bacteria that mouthwashes may kill off, leaving us open to unwanted bacterial effects. The loss of bacteria also encourages the growth of fungi and yeasts. Avoid … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MORPHINE

Morphine is the most potent pain reliever. It is similar to the body’s own painkillers known as endorphins and enkephalins, and also similar in structure and efficacy to heroin. Morphine is profoundly addictive, not so much psychologically but certainly physiologically. This means that when its use is stopped the body will be much more sensitive … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MALARIA DRUGS

More accurately termed antimalaria drugs, this group of chemicals is beneficial for travellers, although their use for longer than three months is generally not recommended. The drugs kill the malaria parasites at varying stages of their life-cycle, which includes time spent in the red blood cells and well as in the bloodstream. Treatment is by … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: LITHIUM

Lithium carbonate is a drug used specifically in psychiatry for people with psychotic or schizophrenic disorders. It is generally prescribed by psychiatrists initially and these specialists and Gps will monitor levels very accurately because too little will be ineffective and too much can be toxic, causing liver and bone marrow problems. It is a remarkably … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: LIGNOCAINE

This cocaine-like drug is used as a local anaesthetic either with or without adrenaline. Some people have sensitivity to lignocaine but most have no problems. It is broken down in the liver which allows the small amount that may be absorbed through its use as a local anaesthetic to be tolerable and acceptable. Provided that … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: LAXATIVES

Laxatives are principally of four kinds: Compounds that increase bulk Compounds that pull or keep water in the bowel Drugs that stimulate peristalsis of the large bowel Stool softeners As discussed in the section on constipation these drugs should be avoided if possible. If dietetics and a complementary medical practitioner cannot solve a problem of … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: LABOUR AND DELIVERY

One of the few things that doctors can do is remove pain. I am a great supporter of natural childbirth but, for the very small risk that drugs may carry, removing the pain of delivery is, in my opinion, a perfectly safe option to consider. Pain relief in the first part of labour needs to … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: INSULIN

Insulin is prescribed when investigations suggest that the pancreas is unlikely to be able to produce enough insulin and/or diet and antidiabetic drugs are not working. Most types of insulin are extracted from pigs, although newer types are obtained from humans. The latter are proving to be more effective but also have more side effects. … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: INFERTILITY DRUGS

Infertility drugs for both men and women are principally hormonal in character and stimulate the production of sperm in men and eggs in women. These drugs have considerable side effects and are only prescribed by specialists. Try alternative treatments before using these progressive drugs and if you do you use them use complementary therapy alongside … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: INDIGESTION DRUGS

Indigestion is a very broad term covering anything from a sensation of bloating and mild discomfort to severe acidic, burning pains felt in the epigastrium, the area just below the breast bone. The discomfort can travel up into the chest and throat and can be associated with diseases such as stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, hiatus … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: IMPOTENCE DRUGS

There are no oral drugs that are legally prescribable to help the formation of erections. Certain combinations of drugs of abuse can be erection-enhancing but carry potential dangerous side effects. The drugs most commonly used are injected and work by constricting the venous blood vessels. This allows blood into the penis but not out, thereby … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: IMMUNOGLOBULINS

The body has a remarkable defence system. Part of its immunity is the production of specialized molecules called immunoglobulins that attach to invading or foreign matter within the bloodstream to form a larger molecule that is removed from the system by entrapment in lymph glands or envelopment by white blood cells specialized in recognizing immunoglobulin-antigen … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

Used most commonly in a dilute topical solution against acne, this molecule containing two oxygen atoms is also found in intravenous techniques for increasing oxygen levels in the blood. The topical applications are safe provided that the solution is dilute enough, although they will only treat the symptoms and not any underlying cause of skin … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY DRUGS

These drugs are principally oral contraceptives and the pros and cons can be read about in the relevant sections . In principle, 50 per cent of ladies who embark upon HRT will not be using the medication within the first year. The side effects are pronounced and efficacy against the symptoms of menopause is limited. … Read more

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DRUGS

Treating high blood pressure is discussed fully in the main text. Diuretics and beta-blockers are discussed elsewhere here and should be the first-line treatments from Gps and specialists. If complementary methods and these basic drugs do not work, people with high blood pressure will be introduced to calcium antagonists or ACE inhibitors. Calcium antagonists block … Read more