“Killer Drug” Saves Countless Lives

shutterstock_370462886Join me in welcoming guest blogger,John Parks Trowbridge M.D.   Dr. Trowbridge. has long been acknowledged for his incisive thought and broad perspectives.  Recognized as a Fellow of the American College for Advancement in Medicine in 1990 and honored with the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award by the International College of Integrative Medicine in 2014, he has lectured around the world on integrative medicine topics.  The bestselling author of Bantam Books’ The Yeast Syndrome, he maintains an active office practice in Humble (Houston), Texas.

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Trowbridge-113“Killer Drug” Saves Countless Lives

The news disturbed me this week.  It should upset you as well.

Johns Hopkins University has confirmed speculations from earlier years:  almost one-tenth of deaths in America each year are avoidable.

If we make a sincere effort, we can eliminate the Number 3 Killer that all of us are facing, right now, today.  Would it be worth it to you?

Bet you’re thinking I’m going to trumpet that long uttered slogan, “Stop Smoking!”  Or maybe I’ll harp at you about how eggs and butter in your diet could really lower your cholesterol and heart disease risk.  (Not true, incidentally.)  Or possibly “take your medicines as prescribed!”

Actually none of these.

We hear about the Zika virus and how it could sweep the country and then the world.  We hear about “Killer Bugs,” like MRSA (a nasty Staph infection) and other “flesh-eating bacteria,” even deadly pneumonia germs.

Again, none of these.  The headline says “Killer Drug” not “Killer Bug.”

You deserve a full explanation.  In my first year of medical practice, a man in his early 50s came in with frustrating arthritis pains.  Medications from other doctors had not helped – or they had side effects so nasty he couldn’t tolerate them.  Enthusiastically optimistic just out of residency, I prescribed a more recent drug, Naprosyn.  His improvement was rapid, and he and his wife were grateful to go on living their lives uninterrupted by painful joints.

Until I was summoned to the Intensive Care Unit in the hospital across the street from my office.  He had just been urgently admitted through the ER and was failing fast.  Pulse and pressure suggested blood loss and STAT lab tests confirmed a disaster in progress.  I called for same-type blood from neighboring hospitals to arrive by patrol cruiser, Code 3 (lights and siren), and we used blood pressure cuffs to push in the vital fluid without any concern for cross-match compatibility.  Surgery was just 80 feet down the hall, where we could operate to stop the bleeding.

That was the plan.

The actual result was that I finally terminated resuscitation when we could no longer obtain a heartbeat.  Then I went out to tell his wife that they were never again to share joyful days and nights together.  In the midst of her sudden grief, she asked “Why?  What happened?”

Words falter at a time like this, but I carefully explained that I thought he died from an erosion in the stomach lining, causing massive and uncontrollable bleeding.  Such an event is well reported with “plain ol’ aspirin” as well as with NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin) and other popular ones (includingNaprosyn) and also with cortisone drugs (“steroids”).

Labels list possible “adverse” effects (bad stuff that can hurt you, not just lesser side-effects) with various percentages.  I always tell a patient that the risk is “zero” (you don’tget a problem from the drug) OR “100 percent” (you DO get a problem).  For any one patient, you really can’t tell – you’re simply concluding that the benefit intended is “worth taking the risk.”

How did this “Killer Drug” end up saving countless lives?  After my patient’s death, I was profoundly depressed.  After all, I had prescribed the drug that killed him.  Not intentionally, of course.   And that is the risk every patient (and every doctor) takes.

What rescued me was a growing realization that helping patients recover from illness and injury could be done with nutrition and other alternative treatments, markedly reducing their risks and dramatically improving their results.  That awareness started me on the journey to discover and become expert in chelation therapy, The Yeast Syndrome, Reconstructive Therapy (prolotherapy), and other wonderful approaches.  My passion for teaching these to doctors around the world has benefitted countless patients who otherwise might still be suffering.

Your body wants to heal:  that is a God-given birthright to each of us.  When you “trade it” for a “bowl of porridge” called drugs and surgery and realize that something doesn’t “taste” as good as you’d hoped, realize that you can always turn to natural healing methods.

So … is Naprosyn a “Killer Drug.”  You decide.  In 1998, a report in The American Journal of Medicine estimated more than 16,500 NSAID-related deaths each year.  Just remember that when you take Aleve (over-the-counter), you are taking the very samedrug by another name.

So how do we avoid our Number 3 Killer, slaying 250,000 of us each year?  Heart disease is Number 1.  Cancer is Number 2.  Your key to avoiding Number 3:  take active steps to stay healthy!  Pay attention to eating, nutritional supplements, activity, rest – you know, the good things in life – so you reduce your contacts with doctors and hospitals … since medical errors are the Number 3 Killer!


Singh Gurkirpal, MD, “Recent Considerations in Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Gastropathy”, The American Journal of Medicine, July 27, 1998, p. 31S)

Makary M and M Daniel, “Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US,”   BMJ 2016;353:i2139 May 3, 2016

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