Cure Me If You Can

CURE ME IF YOU CAN
Eric Berne's magnificent book GAMES PEOPLE PLAY included one ''game,'' ''Cure me if you can'' which has provided the PharmacoMafia and insecure physicians unlimited innings to provide ever more complicated and risky drugs. Then came Talwin?, which was even worse, initially requiring injections which led to severe scarring, and even elephantiasis. Meanwhile one of the most useless, Tylenol?, became the ''pain-reliever most prescribed most by physicians.'' Good for reducing fever, poor for pain relief and disastrous for the liver, acetaminophen has allowed Johnson and Johnson to profit immensely from this drug which I consider no better than placebo, but much more dangerous.

Fifty years ago the old standard, aspirin, was reported to be responsible for 10,000 deaths each year. Today it is only responsible for 15,000 deaths, thanks to many innovations, which kill many times more people. Vioxx? and Celebrex? are only the tip of a giant iceberg of supposed panaceas which become temporarily king of the mountain. As of 2000, the JAMA admitted that well over 100,000 people were killed each year by drugs, while the American Medical System killed at least 250,000. That number almost certainly does not include the many thousands whose death is accelerated by chemotherapy drugs.

The most critical fact everyone needs to recognize is THERE IS NO TOTALLY SAFE DRUG!! Read the warnings, available in THE PHYSICIANS DESK REFERENCE, and you will want to restrict the use of drugs, both prescribed and OTC, for use when there is no alternative and the symptoms warrant the RISK. Is the symptom itself an indication of a risky disease? If the risk of the drug is greater than the risk of the disease, why bother?? In general, ''minor aches and pains'', minor or moderate depression, and anxiety are far less serious than any drug. Cholesterol elevations are less risky in most people that the drugs used to reduce cholesterol. If everyone avoided drugs just for these ''indications'', the PharmacoMafia would collapse, and the world would be better off. Overall, I strongly suspect that more people are killed and harmed by drugs than are truly cured. Twenty years ago the Congressional Office of Technological Assessment reported that 85% of prescription drugs did not have the scientific proof of efficacy. That situation has not improved!

Fortunately, there are safe and effective alternative solutions for minor aches and pains, depression, anxiety and elevated cholesterol. Do not expect drugs to CURE these problems. Look at the safe alternatives—physical exercise, good nutrition, positive mental attitude, electrical stimulation (TENS), some herbs and nutritional supplements, massage, saunas, vibrators, natural anti-inflammatory foods are just a few of the agents which are safe and effective. You are responsible for your own health and for the choices you make in therapy. Do not depend on the PharmacoMafia to be responsible for your health. That industry is interested only in making money. If the ''cure'' is not worth the risk, beware!