Recently, the mainstream media, including the BBC, reported that NICE were instructing doctors to stop using Aspirin in the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation, and to use blood-thinning drugs (like Warfarin, Pradaxa and Multaq) instead. In my blog, "The NHS Overspends again" I said the following about this change of advice.
The NICE guidance on aspirin overturns conventional medical practice that has been in place for decades. What does this mean? It means that the NHS has now recognised that people have been taking a drug is not very effective.
Yet the main problem with aspirin is not just that it is ineffective. There is a growing recognition that aspirin is positively dangerous to our health, especially when taken on a long-term basis. This, of course, was not mentioned by NICE, or by the BBC, but it could well be the primary reason for the change in advice.
Indeed, there is evidence, reported in the BMJ some years ago that the use of aspirin can actually triple the risk of stroke - the very condition it has been given to prevent!.
This may be bad enough - doctors giving us ineffective but harmful medicines. Yet what has not been reported is new evidence about the dangers of blood-thinning drugs, notably Pradaxa (a new drug, used as an alternative to Warfarin, which for many years has been considered to be a dangerous treatment).
Pradaxa was approved in 2010, and is used to treat irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation, or AF). It is supposed to prevent strokes. As usual Big Pharma (supported by the mainstream media) heralded this as a 'breakthrough' drug, being safer, and causing less haemorrhaging than Warfarin). However, the dangers of Pradaxa soon became known to the medical establishment, even if they were not publicised, and even if patients have not been told.
When the FDA approved Pradaxa in the USA, they said that it's bleeding rates were not higher than Warfarin's. Yet, in a straight contraction to this, it also stated that the risk of bleeding was 6 times higher than with Warfarin!
What has happened since suggests that the latter statement was correct. The manufacturer of Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim, has settled about 4,000 injury lawsuits, and have been reported to have paid over $650 million to those injured by the drug. (Investigation update: Manufacturer settles approximately 4,000 Pradaxa lawsuits for $650 million, published online 04.06.14, newsnet5.com).
Yet the drug is still being prescribed! Of course! Did it suggest to drug regulators throughout the world that Pradaxa was a dangerous drug? Of course not!
It has been estimated that Pradaxa caused 542 deaths, from bleeding, in 2011, that is, the year after its approval. (FDA-Approved Drug Linked to 542 Deaths and 2,367 Hemorrhages, but FDA Refuses to Pull It, published online, healthimpactnews.com).
Most of the complaints about Pradaxa were that the drug company failed to warn patients about the risk of internal bleeding. Yet did the FDA do anything about these complaints. Of course not! One piece of research indicates that Pradaxa can be blamed for a total of 1,158 deaths, and 12,494 serious injuries - just in the USA!
And yet nothing is done. The drug is still being marketed throughout the world, with sales rising year by year. People are still taking it, and most of them will be unaware of the potential consequences - because no-one in the mainstream media, no-one in the conventional health establishment, not even our own doctors, bother to tell us!
So, in the NICE guidance, and the BBC article referring to the treatment of AF, doctors are advised not to give Aspirin - but to give blood-thinning drugs instead.
AND NOTE, THERE IS NOT A WORD OF WARNING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF THESE BIG PHARMA DRUGS - AS USUAL!
So what NICE is suggesting for the treatment of AF is interesting. Aspirin is not effective. So move to taking a blood-thinning drug. However, they are not informing us that Aspirin is dangerous. Or that Warfarin, Pradaxa, and other blood-thinning drugs are more dangerous.
Can any blood thinning drug be taken safely? The answer is "No". If you are in any doubt about this, please see my blog on Multaq, another dangerous blood-thinning drug!