Why drugs may not be the answer. Link to dementia.

shutterstock_141125902 "racorn/shutterstock.com"

shutterstock_141125902 "racorn/shutterstock.com"

Have you taken medicine from the drug store for allergies, colds or sleep?

Before jumping to medications, which are not as harmless as you would like to think, give acupuncture a try . CBSNews.com reported that a class of drugs called anticholinergics (like antihistamines, Benadryl, Tylenol PM, Advil PM, Dimetapp, Dramamine, Paxil, Unisom, just to name a few) may be responsible for side effects like cognitive impairment and increased risk of dementia.

The spokesperson which represents the drug makers says it's safe.

The spokesperson for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents over-the-counter drug makers noted, (that in our personal opinion is spin until proven otherwise), "the study didn't look at how long people were taking them...the active ingredients are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recognized as safe and effective when taken as instructed on the product label".

Our point is that no, they don't know the exact correlation of use of this class of drugs with the side effects. They just know these side effects are happening. The study participants could very well have been taking "Tylenol PM" just as instructed on the label.

It's fine as long as I follow the directions right?

Is it possible that it is just not yet understood the threshold of the body to exposure over time? Maybe you take something short term just as the directions say but you shouldn't take it again for x amount of time or not over a certain amount of times in a lifetime...these things have not exactly been figured out yet...or have they? Dr. Sowa said, "We know based on previous studies that as little use as 60 days, or even 90 days non-consecutively over the course of a lifetime, can be associated with these risks. It's not every night for 30 years, it's sometimes or sporadically."

Why take the chance when things like allergies, sleep and simple colds can be addressed in a way that will have no side effects like this?

Instead of relying on antihistamines and other medicines to temporarily mask symptoms, let Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, help retrain your body to have the appropriate balanced response.

Did you know it has been shown that acupuncture improves sleep quality by enhancing slow wave sleep? Another study now shows acupuncture combined with herbal medicine demonstrates outcomes of improved sleep compared to western pharmaceuticals. The study was completed comparing Acupuncture combined with herbs were measured against the drug estazolam. The acupuncture plus herbs group obtained a “significantly better overall effective rate” than the estazolam group.  (96.8% total effective rate vs. 72.4% total effective rate)

Estazolam is a benzodiazepine. It is used in the treatment of insomnia and exerts its effective action by slowing the central nervous system. Estazolam which indeed causes drowsiness, also creates undesirable side-effects such as headaches, fatigue, dry mouth and dizziness.

Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine had significantly better patient outcomes with no adverse effects. The researchers document that the acupuncture plus herbs group “improves the patients’ sleep quality.”

Did you know the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy reviewed multiple research studies of groups receiving acupuncture versus control groups. The researchers determined that acupuncture treatments improve allergies. They stated treatments “produced significantly higher diminution of nasal symptoms” and continued “our meta-analysis showed that the acupuncture group has superior effect(s) in reduction of both rhinitis symptoms and the requirement for anti-allergic medication compared with the control group.”

Acupuncture has the ability to modulate cytokines, which are immune system cell secretions, as well as the ability to induce anti-inflammatory actions. These two properties make acupuncture an effective tool in addressing allergies.

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At Garden Acupuncture we encourage questions. Traditional Chinese Medicine is wonderful for a lot of conditions but we know that information on this topic can be overwhelming. Many are not sure how to understand things like Qi and energy and we want to help make it easy. Don't let the unknown or misunderstood get in the way of the medicinal option and system that may just be exactly what you need.