7am News

Cures That Kill?

Deadly Cures? - Many Medications Pack A Potentially Lethal Dose Of Fluoride

By Patricia Phillips
Senior US Correspondent
7amnews.com © 2001
Aug.18, 2001

     7amNews has learned that many medications are packing a potentially lethal hidden dose of fluoride, a chemical that some claim is a slow poison.

     Over the past several years, numerous fluoride-containing medications have been pulled off the market for causing deaths and illness.

   Fluoride is "highly toxic to the liver," expert Andreas Schuld of Vancouver, BC Canada said.

   Schuld, head of Parents of Fluoride Poisoned Children, explained that "In the liver all fluorides interfere with the metabolism of thyroid hormones, creating thyroid disorders and associated diseases, such as muscle diseases, heart disease, etc." Other effects can include a serious muscle disease that causes pain and weakness.

   He cited the recent withdrawal of Baycol, a cholesterol-lowering drug taken by 700,000 Americans, as an example of hidden fluoride-induced dangers that could be lurking in your medications. Baycol, Schuld said, has been linked to 31 U.S. deaths, with at least nine other fatalities worldwide.

   Schuld told 7amNews that Bayer AG, the company that makes Baycol, would not release international statistics about potential harm from the drug. However, the European Medicines Evaluation Agency immediately began a safety review of other drugs in the same class as Bayer 's "Baycol." Bayer AG reportedly withdrew the drug in a "voluntary" recall late last week.

   7amNews has attempted to contact Bayer AG for a statement, but has not received a response.

   What's all the uproar? Schuld provided a basic biological-chemical lesson:" Fluoride is any combination of elements containing the fluoride ion. In its elemental form, fluorine is a pale yellow, highly toxic and corrosive gas. In nature, fluorine is found combined with minerals as fluorides. With hydrogen it forms hydrogen fluoride gas which, in a water solution, becomes hydrofluoric acid...Fluorine compounds or fluorides are listed by the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as among the top 20 of 275 substances that pose the most significant threat to human health."

   Although most U.S. cities have routinely treated water supplies with fluoride for years, Schuld and others in his group believe that the buildup of fluoride from various sources, including medications, will harm rather than cure. He cited a shocking fact: In 2000, 3M announced a phase-out of Scotchgard products after discovering that the product's primary ingredient-a fluorinated compound called perfluorooctanylsulfonate (PFOS)-- was found in all tested blood bank examinations. Even animals in the wild, including eagles and bears, were found to have these chemical contaminants in their bloodstream.

   Further research by 7amNews found that these PFOS are fluorocarbons, and are related to CFCs, now banned in order to protect the ozone layer.

   According to the Environmental Working Group, "Although research is still evolving, PFOS are known to damage the liver and to produce severe birth defects in lab animals, among other health effects." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says PFOS chemicals combine "persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity properties to an extraordinary degree."

   The EWG maintains public access archives on issues related to chemicals and public safety. Its records also state: "The more than 1,000 documents in EPA's Administrative Record on Scotchgard-some 29,000 pages of material--show clearly that 3M knew its products were in the blood of the general population as early as 1976 and had detected PFOS in their own plant workers as early as 1979."

   The tenacity of fluoride buildup has Schuld and others concerned. He told 7amNews that the inorganic form of fluoride " used in the fluoridation of public water supplies is a waste product from the fertilizer industry." Americans especially are at risk absorbing the chemical via their skin because of the wide-spread use of chemical fluoridation of water.

   That danger, Schuld believes, is only multiplied by the adding of organic fluoride compounds to medications. His documents include a shopping list of once-popular medicines now withdrawn due to safety concerns:

   * Cisapride ("Propulsid") was withdrawn because it
     caused severe cardiac side effects (2000);

   * Mibedrafil ("Posicor") was withdrawn after it was
     shown that patients with congestive heart failure
     showed a trend to higher mortality (1998);

   * Flosequinan was withdrawn in 1993 after it was
     shown that the beneficial effects on the symptoms of
     heart failure did not last beyond the first 3 months of
     therapy. After the first 3 months of therapy, patients
     on the drug had a higher rate of hospitalization than
     patients taking a placebo;

   * Astemizole (allergy drug) was withdrawn in
     1999 because it also became associated with serious
     life threatening cardiac adverse events;

   * Fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine were
     withdrawn in 1997 due to serious cardiac adverse
     health effects;

   * Tolrestat (anti-diabetic) was withdrawn in 1997 after
     the appearance of severe liver toxicity and deaths;

   * In 1992 Abbott withdrew the antibiotic Temafloxacin
     ("Omniflox"). The drug had caused deaths, liver
     dysfunction, etc.

   * Grepafloxacin was removed from the market in 1999
     because of serious cardiac events.
            
   In addition, Schuld cites concerns about both Paxil and Prozac, popular anti-depression drugs. He claims that the fluoride-enhanced drugs not only have a risk of causing liver damage, but also interfere with thyroid hormones and potentially even with thyroid medications routinely taken by millions.

   Citing the well-publicized case Fen-Phen, a once-popular weight-reducing drug, Schuld said that "it is important to note that only the fluorinated compound ("Fen" - fenfluramine) was withdrawn, while Phentermine ("Phen") was not pulled."

  The worry and ensuing investigations about fluoride in medicines are worldwide. Among them are yet another class of drugs: antibiotics.

   Schuld's documents cite international concerns about fluoroquinolone antibiotics, which are used in the treatment of a large variety of infections.

   In October 1994 the Japan Pharmaceutical Affairs Bureau amended the roduct information for Enoxacin, Fleroxacin, Norfloxacin, Sparfloxacin and Tosufloxacin to state that rhabdomyolysis may occur. Information on Adverse Reactions to Drugs No.128, October 1994.) Five years ago, the Sri Lanka Drug Evaluation Sub-Committee decided to include a warning statement about fluoroquinolone antibiotics.

   Back in the U.S., Steinberg Law Firm of Houston, Texas is currently investigating injury claims related to Baycol. Its website states: "in 1999, the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") approved Baycol/ Lipobay (cerivastatin) for patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol) and mixed dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol and high triglycerides). While Baycol has reportedly helped some, it has injured others. It is reported to sometimes cause muscle problems (Myopathy) leading to kidney damage (rhabdomyolysis). Symptoms can include unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness accompanied by malaise or fever. Rhabdomyolysis is a rare condition where serious muscle damage results in release of muscle cell contents into the bloodstream."
      
     How can consumers protect themselves? 7amNews asked Schuld how a patient could tell if their prescription contains a fluoride-bearing compound.

   "It is next to impossible," Schuld said bluntly. He added "One needs to look at the product insert to see if the actual chemical compound is described. It is usually listed as "fluoro"-something, or as "F" in the chemical formula. The best way is to go to one of the sites on the Internet listing product monographs, such as www.rxlist.com and to look up the product in question."

   However, he noted, the fluoride often is hidden in another chemical additive: gelatin made from cow-bones, or among phosphates.

   In essence, the consumer, taking medications because of illness, has almost no way to check out whether or not their pills contain a chemical that could potentially make them even sicker -- or kill them.

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