Tag: Pharma

Xanax Makes Doctors Rich and People More Anxious

Cassandra Twining | United States

Doctors in the United States write 50 million Xanax prescriptions per year. That’s over one prescription per second. You can buy 30 Xanax pills at your local pharmacy for on average $100. That amounts to five billion dollars being spent on Xanax every single year. But what exactly is Xanax and how does it work?

Xanax, also commonly known by its cheaper off-brand counterpart Alprazolam, is a Benzodiazepine. It is commonly used to treat general anxiety disorder, panic disorders, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines are a specific category of drug that works in specific receptors in your brain. The Benzodiazepines, in this instance, Xanax, attaches to the gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors in your brain and diminish sensitivity to stimulation, which in turn produces the calming effect so many people love. Xanax is listed by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a schedule 4 drug. This essentially means that it is the second least likely to lead to addiction and it is very safe to take. At least according to their classification that is… So let’s look a little more into what exactly Xanax does to your brain along with the long term effects.

Treating anxiety disorders can be very difficult for some people because of the vast amount of kinds of ways anxiety can present itself. While Xanax is not the only option for treating anxiety medically, it is certainly the most commonly prescribed and most well-known option. There are 3 fundamental problems with Xanax and its long term effects on the brain.

Treating Symptoms, not Problems

The first problem being that Xanax doesn’t stop one’s anxiety, it merely numbs it. When the medication goes into the receptors in your brain and dims the sensation in the brain it effectively reduces the release of the chemicals in your brain that causes anxiety. However, the issue arises from the fact that a reduction of the release of the chemicals does not mean they go away, it just builds up.

This is why when people try to quit taking Xanax or the dosage they took wears off the anxiety feelings not only come back but comes back more forcefully. It’s essentially like sweeping dirt under a rug; it’s still there and it’s still going to affect you eventually. The problem is just continuing to build up and get worse.

This problem is enhanced by the second problem faced with Xanax: it has an incredibly short half-life. Meaning that the amount of time it takes for the drug to completely leave your system is really quick. Which makes people want to take more of the medication even when they’re not scheduled to because of the adverse effects that come when it wears off.

Xanax Addiction and Overdose

Both problems, in turn, contribute to the third and final problem that Xanax is highly addictive. Because of the short half-life, the increase in anxiety when it wears off, and the effectiveness of the drug, people quickly become both physically and emotionally dependant on Xanax as a treatment for their anxiety.

It is also very possible to overdose on Xanax, especially taken with other opioids or alcohol. In 2015 over 30,000 drug overdose deaths were the result of opioids mixed with benzos like Xanax. It is also important to note that these numbers of Xanax use are only those prescribed by doctors; Xanax is also a very commonly used recreational drug. Doctors and pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars from prescribing and encouraging the consumption of a drug that is continuing to increase the amounts of anxiety and addiction in our country.

Treating Anxiety

Nevertheless, anxiety is a very real and serious issue. So what can people do to change the current system for go to treatment options? A community health center in Louisville, Kentucky started to notice how the mass amounts of Xanax prescriptions for patients were not only dangerous but also a drain on their resources.

Because of the lack of education surrounding the long term effects of Xanax they were also spending an enormous amount of time just simply educating people about it. This is why they decided to switch to prescribing clonazepam a similar drug with less adverse long term effects. They are trying to completely wean their patients off of Xanax altogether. There are some people who do truly benefit from its effects. However, it is such a dangerous drug that the risk just doesn’t appear to continue to be worth it.

Non-prescription Treatments

Finally, there are a lot of ways to try and alleviate anxiety using natural methods of treatment. Exercising can release endorphins and be a cathartic experience that can help with anxious feelings. Meditation and relaxation exercises like slowly relaxing each muscle group and breathing techniques can also help. You can also try reading, writing, natural medical treatments, or anything you may feel will help.

It’s most important to remember that anxiety isn’t the same for everyone and what might work for you might not work for someone else. It takes hard work and bravery to evaluate your options and find the best course of treatment for you. It’s okay to not want to try modern medical solutions, and it’s okay to want to! What’s not okay is not having the full story of how these solutions actually affect you. Do your research and make sure you’re not just making the problem worse while trying to solve it.

71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.

Featured Image Source


Government Has Stunted the Potential of Vaccines and the Free Market Can Fix It

By Will Arthur | USA

Recently doctors discovered that an Egyptian mummy (estimated to have died 2,000 years ago) died of bone cancer, in the mid 1300s tens of millions of people died from the Bubonic Plague, and when the colonization of America first began more Native Americans were killed by diseases from European immigrants (primarily smallpox) than any other source of death. These three instances are just a small fraction of all the disease and sickness humans have encountered, and these examples show that humans have been encountering disease and sickness as long as we have existed. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if we had miracle potions that warded off deadly sicknesses? Well, we actually do have possible “miracle potions” that have the ability to fight off deadly illnesses, and they are called vaccines.

Today, smallpox is nearly eradicated from society and can only be found in small samples at two labs: one in Russia and the other in Atlanta, Georgia. If someone were to look at history as a whole though, they would see that smallpox plagued humanity for a great deal of time. In ancient times smallpox deaths were reduced by a technique called variolation (first used in Asia). These techniques of variolation greatly evolved when Edward Jenner created the first vaccine for smallpox in the year 1796. After about two centuries of advancement, vaccines have been used to rid the world of smallpox and many other deadly illnesses such as polio, tetanus, yellow fever, measles, etc.

If we look at all the accomplishments and diseases vaccines have been used to conquer there should be nothing but praise for them. In reality, however, the public news is filled with controversial articles on vaccines. A study by the Pew Research Center found that nine percent of people believe that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is unsafe, and seven percent of people do not know if the MMR vaccine is safe. This data shows that a significant portion (sixteen percent) of people have an uncertainty/distrust of vaccines. Why would anybody not find an advancement like vaccines (that prevent harmful diseases) safe?

There are many reasons why people believe that vaccines are negative in today’s society: medical studies and anecdotal reports being two major examples. These reasons are up for debate on if they are really justifiable reasons to view vaccines as unsafe because there is much disagreement on how true the studies and reports are. If we look at how the industry of vaccines is run today, however, we will find that there is a great deal of government involvement. This government involvement is an opening for controversy and distrust to creep into the industry. This controversy and distrust in turn negatively affect the potential of vaccines.

In America, legislation for vaccines has existed nearly as long as vaccines have. After Edward Jenner’s vaccination for smallpox was implemented into society and found to be successful the U.S. Vaccine Agency was established in 1813. The objective of this agency was to persuade the public to start getting vaccinated to protect public health. As time progressed the government transitioned from tactics of persuasion to tactics of coercion. There have been many acts of legislation since 1813 including (but not limited to) The Biologics Control Act in 1902 that created a board to take the licenses of makers and sellers of vaccines (now done under the FDA), every state having laws that require students (of public or private schools) to be vaccinated (with few exceptions that must be okayed by local governments), and The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 which shifted liability from vaccine makers and to the federal government (the taxpayers). Tactics of coercion can be found in the consequences that an individual faces when they choose to not follow the legislation (typically a fine or prison time).

All the legislation that exists today allows the government to effectively control the industry of vaccines. The FDA can decide who will be allowed to create and distribute the vaccines, chosen vaccine companies are given an endless market of consumers (the students) from the state governments, and vaccine companies are not responsible for any injuries or harm their customers face. This coercive and socialist approach to any industry takes away the motivation to meet customer standards and is a breeding ground for fraud, misuse of vaccines, and citizen distrust in the industry.

If the government instead took a laissez-faire approach to the vaccine industry and let the free market work its course vaccine companies would have to meet customer standards to make a profit. They would have to competitively engage in business to persuade (not coerce or force) customers and build trust that their vaccine is effective, helpful, and better than the competition’s product. Companies would also be motivated to advance and make their vaccines safer so they can avoid lawsuits from injured customers. In this scenario, citizens would be able to weigh the pros and cons of vaccination without the worry of consequences (fines and jail/prison time) for making the wrong decision.

With the higher degree trust and technological advancement derived from a capitalist (free market) system, more people would be likely to decide to use vaccinations to fight deadly sicknesses: than the other option of using the government to force people (with the threat of consequences) to get vaccinated and creating a distrust between the vaccine industry and citizens. This higher likelihood of people using vaccines and those vaccines being more effective would eradicate illnesses much faster and make communities safer: a sign that vaccines are approaching their potential to aid humanity.

Rand Paul Takes On Big Pharma

By Emily Lynn | USA

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has refused to support the nomination of Alex Azar for the Secretary of Health and Human Services unless he upholds Trump’s promise of allowing safe import of prescription drugs for lower costs.

During the hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Rand Paul urged Alex Azar to be a representative of the people instead of Big Pharma.

“Big Pharma manipulates the system to keep prices high. It is not capitalism, and it’s big government, and we’ve got to fix it. You need to convince those of us who are skeptical that you’ll be a part of fixing it and won’t be beholden to Big Pharma”

The very passionate senator went on to state that he would not support Azar’s nomination unless he could provide a plan to keep President Trump’s campaign promise. Paul also went on to say that there is no generic alternative for insulin, which is included on the list of essential medications by the World Health Organization. This is what allows the manufacturers to sell the drug for any price they want for the important medication, which is believed to have been abused.

President Trump called for eliminating “barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products” as a part of his health care plan. He also mentioned “allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.”

Dr. Paul hopes to keep healthcare and medication affordable for all and to replace our current healthcare system.