Thursday, August 12, 2010

Naturopaths Using Heavy Duty Pharmaceuticals

I know little about pharmacy and am not about to investigate it trying to re-invent the wheel when there are so many people already expert in the field, although I’d be amazed if any of them are NDs (naturopaths). Hopefully, real scientists will notice what naturopaths are up to and report what they discover to the public be it good, bad or neutral.

With my limited knowledge it looks bad, very, very bad. Looking at the NH Naturopathic Formulary which lists things like: insulin - synthetic and human; erythromycins; dosycycline; tetracycline; vancomycin; ephedrine; epinephrine, including auto-inject forms; yohimbine; nicotine; heparin; lovastatin; benzodiazepines; lithium; hydrocortisone; tamoxifen; estrogen; progesterone; testosterone; growth hormone; oxygen; a long list of vaccinations; under botanicals - cocaine, codeine, morphine and opiates are excluded while needles, syringes and IV tubing are included under periphenalia, I get the impression that NDs have, for quite some time, been using heavy duty pharmaceuticals, prescription medications, derived from both natural animal and vegetable sources, drugs like insulin and penicillin, drugs made from isolated active ingredients which scientists have identified, extracted or synthesized and standardized into pill and liquid forms - well studied drugs which have been dispensed by pharmacists and prescribed by MDs for decades. I suspect that NDs have been using these real drugs everywhere where they have formularies that permit them to use drugs “derived from natural products” even when those formularies don’t spell out the drugs as NH’s does. I also suspect that NDs who claim that they use “science-based natural treatments” do so because they believe that using real drugs derived from natural sources, the FDA approved kind, makes their practices "science-based" even when they don't understand what science is. If they did they wouldn't study and practice Classical Homeopathy or include silver in their formulary.

I also get the feeling that today at least some NDs are learning what our ancestors learned a few generations ago, which is that many synthetic drugs are far superior to the natural kind. This would explain why naturopaths who identify themselves as practitioners of "natural medicine", have been slipping synthetic drugs into their formularies. Apparently experience has been leading some of them to conclude that many if not most synthetic, or man made drugs, work better and are safer and cheaper than the natural stuff NDs have used traditionally.

Sounds like they are re-inventing the wheel to me. Those who practice scientific or evidence-based medicine and those of us who have studied history learned long ago why herbal concoctions or “remedies” were replaced by standardized pharmaceuticals, often synthetic, starting around 100 years ago. Where have the NDs been all that time? Ironing their white coats? Out picking weeds?

From looking at promotional material produced by NDs that is posted on the Internet, including their personal websites, I get the feeling that there is a split taking place in their ranks with some favoring keeping to their original path as natural healers and others trying to become MDs by slipping in the back door undetected without ever earning their place in the clinic or hospital.

I respect those who practice their belief-based system of medicine even though I don’t believe it offers health benefits and know it can harm people, like those who use silver internally and in their eyes, but I consider the others very dangerous. The others being those who believe or try to make others believe that they practice scientific medicine and who use pharmaceutical drugs when they lack the knowledge and understanding of science and evidence-based medicine to do so. I believe that NDs who really believe that their education has trained them to work as MDs or that they practice scientific medicine are naturally deluded.

Lacking the time and resources to investigate the old-fashioned way by interviewing NDs, I will do it the new-fashioned way by posting my views and asking those I’ve linked to to review them, correct factual errors and make comments if they care to.

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