Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 151–171 | Cite as

Assessing Overmedication: Biology, Philosophy and Common Sense

  • Wim J. van der Steen
Article

Abstract

Overmedication is nowadays a serious problem in health care due to influences from the pharmaceutical industry and agencies responsible for regulation. The situation has indeed become appalling in psychiatry, where both theories and treatments have deteriorated under the impact of the industry. The overmedication problem is associated with biased biology in medicine. Adequate biological approaches would indicate that drug therapies must yield to diet therapies, particularly treatments involving omega-3 fatty acids, in many cases. To the extent that philosophy of science adapts to mainstream medicine in analyses of the current situation, it may reinforce the existing bias. To redress imbalances in health care, we ultimately have to rely on common sense.

catatonia diet depression drug regulation ecology fatty acid NSAID omeprazole pharmaceutical industry philosophy of science schizophrenia ulcer 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Abraham, J. (1995). Science, Politics and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Controversy and Bias in Drug Regulation. UCL Press, London.Google Scholar
  2. Alcaraz, A. and J. Kelly (2002). Treatment of an infected venous leg ulcer with honey dressings. British Journal of Nursing 11: 859–866.Google Scholar
  3. Allison, M.J., T. Bergman and E. Gerszten (1999). Further studies on fecal parasites in antiquity. American Journal of Clinical Pathology 112: 605–609.Google Scholar
  4. Almallah, Y.Z., S.W. Ewen, A. El-Tahir, N.A. Mowat, P.W. Brunt, T.S. Sinclair, S.D. Heys and O. Eremin (2000). Distal proctocolitis and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs): the mucosal effect in situ. Journal of Clinical Immunology 20: 68–76.Google Scholar
  5. Assies, J., R. Lieverse, P. Vreken, R.J. Wanders, P.M. Dingemans and D.H. Linszen (2001). Significantly reduced docosahexaenoic and docosapentaenoic acid concentrations in erythrocyte membranes from schizophrenic patients compared with a carefully matched control group. Biological Psychiatry 49: 510–522.Google Scholar
  6. Barham, J.B., M.B. Edens, A.N. Fonteh, M.M. Johnson, L. Easter and F. H. Chilton (2000). Addition of eicosapentaenoic acid to gamma-linolenic acid-supplemented diets prevents serum arachidonic acid accumulation in humans. Journal of Nutrition 130: 1925–1931.Google Scholar
  7. Baron, J.H. and A. Sonnenberg (2001). Period-and cohort-age contours of deaths from gastric and duodenal ulcer in New York 1804–1998. American Journal of Gastroenterology 96: 2887–2891.Google Scholar
  8. Baron, J.H. and A. Sonnenberg (2002). Hospital admissions for peptic ulcer and indigestion in London and New York in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Gut 50: 568–570.Google Scholar
  9. Bekelman, J.E., Y. Li and C.P. Gross (2003). Scope and impact of financial conflicts of interest in biomedical research: a systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association 289: 454–465.Google Scholar
  10. Boyle, M. (2002). Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion? Routledge, East Sussex (second edition).Google Scholar
  11. Bandyopadhyay, D., K. Biswas, M. Bhattacharyya, R.J. Reiter and R.K. Banerjee (2001). Gastric toxicity and mucosal ulceration induced by oxygen-derived reactivespecies: protection by melatonin. Current Molecular Medicine 1: 501–513.Google Scholar
  12. Calder, P.C. (1997). N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cytokine production in health and disease. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism 41: 203–234.Google Scholar
  13. De Boer, W.A. and G.N.J. Tytgat (2000). Treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection. British Medical Journal 320: 31–34.Google Scholar
  14. Djulbegovic, B., M. Lacevic, A. Cantor, K.K. Fields, C.L. Bennett, J.R. Adams, N.M. Kuderer and G.H. Lyman (2000). The uncertainty principle and industry-sponsored research. Lancet 356: 635–638.Google Scholar
  15. Double, D. (2002). The limits of psychiatry. British Medical Journal 324: 900–904.Google Scholar
  16. Drago, L., Mombelli, B., Ciardo, G., De Vecchi, E. and Gismondo, M.R. (1999). Effects of three different fish oil formulations on Helicobacter pylori growth and viability: in vitro study. Journal of Chemotherapy 11: 207–210.Google Scholar
  17. Dunford, C., R. Cooper, P. Molan and R. White (2000). The use of honey in wound management. Nursing Standard 15: 63–68.Google Scholar
  18. Eaton, S.B. and M. Konner (1985). Paleolithic nutrition: A consideration of its nature and current implications. New England Journal of Medicine 312: 283–289.Google Scholar
  19. Edwards, R., M. Peet, J. Shay and D. Horrobin (1998). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in the diet and in red blood cell membranes of depressed patients. Journal of Affective Disorders 48: 149–155.Google Scholar
  20. Ergas, D., E. Eilat, S. Mendlovic and Z.M. Sthoeger (2002). N-3 fatty acids and the immune system in autoimmunity. Israel Medical Association Journal 4: 34–38.Google Scholar
  21. Ernst, P.B. and J. Pappo (2001). T-cell-mediated mucosal immunity in the absence of antibody: lessons from Helicobacter pylori infection. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica 59: 216–221.Google Scholar
  22. Ernst, P.B., H. Takaishi and S.E. Crowe (2001). Helicobacter pylori infection as a model for gastrointestinal immunity and chronic inflammatory diseases. Digestive Diseases 19: 104–111.Google Scholar
  23. Even, C., E. Siobud-Dorocant and R.M. Dardennes (2000). Critical approach to antidepressant trials. Blindness protection is necessary, feasible and measurable. British Journal of Psychiatry 177: 47–51.Google Scholar
  24. Fenton, W.S., F. Dickerson, J. Boronow, J.R. Hibbeln and M. Knable (2001). A placebo-controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acid (ethyl eicosapentaenoic acid) supplementation for residual symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry 158: 2071–2074.Google Scholar
  25. Fisher, S., and R.P. Greenberg (eds) (1997). From Placebo to Panacea: Putting Psychiatric Drugs to the Test. John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Gharzouli, K., A. Gharzouli, S. Amira and S. Khennouf (2001). Protective effect of mannitol, glucose-fructose-sucrose-maltose mixture, and natural honey hyperosmolar solutions against ethanol-induced gastric mucosal damage in rats. Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology 53: 175–80.Google Scholar
  27. Goodman, K.W. (2003). Ethics and Evidence-Based Medicine. Fallibility and Responsibility in Clinical Science. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  28. Grimble, R.F. (2001). Nutritional modulation of immune function. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 60: 389–97.Google Scholar
  29. Grimm, H., K. Mayer, P. Mayser and E. Eigenbrodt (2002). Regulatory potential of n-3 fatty acids in immunological and inflammatory processes. British Journal of Nutrition 87,Supplement 1: S59-S67.Google Scholar
  30. Guess, H.A., A. Kleinman, J.W. Kusek and L.W. Engel (eds) (2002). The Science of the Placebo: Toward an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda. BMJ Books, London.Google Scholar
  31. Harrington, A. (ed.) (1997). The Placebo Effect: An Interdisciplinary Exploration. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  32. Hawkey, C.J. (2002). Cyclooxygenase inhibition: Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Gut 50,Supplement 3: S25-S30.Google Scholar
  33. Healy, D. (2002). The Creation of Psychopharmacology. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  34. Holman, R.T. (1997). Omega3 and omega6 essential fatty acid status in human health and disease. In S. Yehuda and D.I. Mostofsky (eds), Handbook of Essential Fatty Acid Biology: Biochemistry, Physiology, and Behavioral Neurobiology. Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey, pp. 139–182.Google Scholar
  35. Horrobin, D.F. (1997). Fatty acids, phospholipids, and schizophrenia. In: S. Yehuda and D.I. Mostofsky (eds), Handbook of Essential Fatty Acid Biology: Biochemistry, Physiology, and Behavioral Neurobiology. Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey, pp. 245–256.Google Scholar
  36. Horrobin, D.F., K. Jenkins, C.N. Bennett and W.W. Christie (2002). Eicosapentaenoic acid and arachidonic acid: collaboration and not antagonism is the key to biological understanding. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 66: 83–90.Google Scholar
  37. Innocenti, M., A.C. Thoreson, R.L. Ferrero, E. Stromberg, I. Bolin, L. Eriksson, A.M. Svennerholm and M. Quiding-Jarbrink (2002). Helicobacter pylori-induced activation of human endothelial cells. Infection and Immunity 70: 4581–4590.Google Scholar
  38. Jacobs (1995). Psychiatric drugging: Forty years of pseudo-science, self-interest, and indifference to harm. The Journal of Mind and Behavior 16: 421–470.Google Scholar
  39. Jacobs, D.H. (1999). A close and critical examination of how psychopharmacotherapy research is conducted. The Journal of Mind and Behavior 20: 311–350.Google Scholar
  40. James, M.J., R.A. Gibson and L.G. Cleland (2000). Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory mediator production. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 71: S343–S348.Google Scholar
  41. Joy, C.B., R. Mumby-Croft and L.A. Joy (2001). Polyunsaturated fatty acid (fish or evening primrose oil) for schizophrenia (Cochrane Review). The Cochrane Library Issue 3.Google Scholar
  42. Jüni, P., A.W.S. Rutjes and P.A. Dieppe (2002). Are selective COX 2 inhibitors superior to traditional non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs? Adequate analysis of the CLASS trial indicates that this may not be the case. British Medical Journal 324: 1287–1288.Google Scholar
  43. Kelley, D.S. (2001). Modulation of human immune and inflammatory responses by dietary fatty acids. Nutrition 17: 669–673.Google Scholar
  44. Kirsch, I., T.J. Moore, A. Scoboria and S.S. Nicholls (2002). The emperor's new drugs: An analysis of antidepressant medication. Prevention and Treatment 5: 15 July (online, no page numbers).Google Scholar
  45. Kjaergard, L.L. and B. Als-Nielsen (2002). Association between competing interests and authors' conclusions: epidemiological study of randomised clinical trials published in the BMJ. British Medical Journal 325: 249–252.Google Scholar
  46. Kremer, J.M. (2000). N-3 fatty acid supplements in rheumatoid arthritis', American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 71: S349–S351.Google Scholar
  47. Lam, S.K. (1993). Epidemiology and genetics of peptic ulcer. Gastroenterologia Japanica 28,Supplement 5: S145–S157.Google Scholar
  48. Laugharne, J.D., J.E. Mellor and M. Peet (1996). Fatty acids and schizophrenia. Lipids 31,Supplement: S163-S165.Google Scholar
  49. Lohoff, M., M. Rollinghoff and F. Sommer (2000). Helicobacter pylori gastritis: a Th1 mediated disease? Journal of Biotechnology 83: 33–36.Google Scholar
  50. Mahadik, S.P., D. Evans and H. Lal (2001). Oxidative stress and role of antioxidant and omega-3 essential fatty acid supplementation in schizophrenia. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 25: 463–493.Google Scholar
  51. Mansour-Ghanaei, F., M.S. Fallah and A. Shafaghi (2002). Eradication of Helicobacter pylori in duodenal ulcer disease tetracycline & furazolidone vs. metronidazole & amoxicillin in omeprazole based triple therapy. Medical Science Monitor 8: PI27–PI30.Google Scholar
  52. Mayer, K., M. Merfels, M. Muhly-Reinholz, S. Gokorsch, S. Rosseau, J. Lohmeyer, N. Schwarzer, M. Krull, N. Suttorp, F. Grimminger and W. Seeger (2002). Omega-3 fatty acids suppress monocyte adhesion to human endothelial cells: role of endothelial PAF generation. American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology 283: H811–H818.Google Scholar
  53. McCarthy, M.F. (2001). Upregulation of lymphocyte apoptosis as a strategy for preventing and treating autoimmune disorders: a role for whole-food vegan diets, fish oil and dopamine agonists. Medical Hypotheses 57: 258–275.Google Scholar
  54. Mellor, J.E., J.D. Laugharne and M. Peet (1995). Schizophrenic symptoms and dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids. Schizophrenia Research 18: 85–86.Google Scholar
  55. Mengle-Gaw, L.J., and B.D. Schwartz (2002). Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors: promise or peril? Mediators of Inflammation 11: 275–286.Google Scholar
  56. Misciagna, G., A.M. Cisternino and J. Freudenheim (2000). Diet and duodenal ulcer. Journal of Digestive and Liver Disease 32: 468–472.Google Scholar
  57. Misiewicz, J.J. (1997). Is the only good Helicobacter a dead Helicobacter? Helicobacter 2,Supplement 1: S89–S91.Google Scholar
  58. Moncrieff, J. (2001). Are antidepressants overrated? A review of methodological problems in antidepressant trials. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases 189: 288–295.Google Scholar
  59. Natarajan, S., D. Williamson, J. Grey, K.G. Harding and R.A. Cooper (2001). Healing of an MRSA-colonized, hydroxyurea-induced leg ulcer with honey. Journal of Dermatological Treatment 12: 33–36.Google Scholar
  60. Peet M., J.D. Laugharne, J. Mellor and C.N. Ramchand (1996). Essential fatty acid deficiency in erythrocyte membranes from chronic schizophrenic patients, and the clinical effects of dietary supplementation. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 55: 71–75.Google Scholar
  61. Peet, M., J. Brind, C.N. Ramchand, S. Shah and G.K. Vankar (2001). Two double-blind placebo-controlled pilot studies of eicosapentaenoic acid in the treatment of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research 49: 243–251.Google Scholar
  62. Peet, M. and D.F. Horrobin (2002). A dose-ranging exploratory study of the effects of ethyleicosapentaenoate in patients with persistent schizophrenic symptoms. Journal of Psychiatric Research 36: 7–18.Google Scholar
  63. Peskar, B.M., N. Maricic, B. Gretzera, R. Schuligoi and A. Schmassmann (2001). Role of cyclooxygenase-2 in gastric mucosal defense. Life Sciences 69: 2993–3003.Google Scholar
  64. Playford, R.J., T. Podas and I. Modlin (1999). Pantoprazole, Prout and the proton pump. Hospital Medicin 60: 500–504.Google Scholar
  65. Root-Bernstein, R. and M. Root-Bernstein (1997). Honey, Mud, Maggots, and Other Medical Marvels: The Science Behind Folk Remedies and Old Wives' Tales. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York.Google Scholar
  66. Ruggiero, P., S. Peppoloni, D. Berti, R. Rappuoli and G.D. Giudice (2002). New strategies for the prevention and treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs 11: 1127–1138.Google Scholar
  67. Sethi, S., O. Ziouzenkova, H. Ni, D.D. Wagner, J. Plutzky and T.N. Mayadas (2002). Oxidized omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil inhibit leukocyte-endothelial interactions through activation of PPAR alpha. Blood 100: 1340–1346.Google Scholar
  68. Sica, D.S., A.C. Schoolwerth and T.W. Gehr (2000). Pharmacotherapy in congestive heart failure: COX-2 inhibition: a cautionary note in congestive heart failure. Congestive Heart Failure 6: 272–276.Google Scholar
  69. Simopoulos, A.P. (1991). Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and development. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 54: 438–463.Google Scholar
  70. Simopoulos, A.P. (1997). Omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention-management of cardiovascular disease. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 75: 234–239.Google Scholar
  71. Simopoulos, A.P. (1999). Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 70,supplement: 560S–569S.Google Scholar
  72. Simopoulos, A.P. (2001a). The mediterranian diets: What is so special about the diet of Greece? Journal of Nutrition 131: 3065S-3073S.Google Scholar
  73. Simopoulos, A.P. (2001b). N-3 fatty acids and human health: Defining strategies for public policy. Lipids 36: 583–589.Google Scholar
  74. Stassi, G., A. Arena, A. Speranza, D. Iannello and P. Mastroeni (2002). Different modulation by live or killed Helicobacter pylori on cytokine production from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. New Microbiologica 25: 247–252.Google Scholar
  75. Stoll, A.L. (2001). The Omega-3 Connection. Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  76. Sung, J.J. (2000). Where are we with current therapy? Helicobacter 5,Supplement 1: S17–S21.Google Scholar
  77. Terada, S., M. Takizawa, S. Yamamoto, O. Ezaki, H. Itakura and K.S. Akagawa (2001). Suppressive mechanisms of EPA on human T cell proliferation. Microbiology and Immunology 45: 473–481.Google Scholar
  78. Thagard, P. (1999). How Scientists Explain Disease. Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  79. Tidow-Kebritchi, S., and S. Mobarhan (2001). Effects of diets containing fish oil and vitamin E on rheumatoid arthritis. Nutrition Review 59: 335–338.Google Scholar
  80. Tovey, F.I., and Hobsley, M. (1998). Clarification of the link between polyunsaturated fatty acids and Helicobacter pylori-associated duodenal ulcer disease: a dietary intervention study. British Journal of Nutrition 80: 116–117.Google Scholar
  81. Tovey, F.I., and Hobsley, M. (1999). Is Helicobacter pylori the primary cause of duodenal ulceration? Journal of Gastroenterological Hepatology 14: 1053–1056.Google Scholar
  82. Trust, T.J., R.A. Alm and J. Pappo (2001). Helicobacter pylori: today's treatment, and possible future treatment. European Journal of Surgery, Supplement 586: S82–S88.Google Scholar
  83. Van der Steen. W.J. (1993). A Practical Philosophy for the Life Sciences. SUNY Press, Albany.Google Scholar
  84. Van der Steen, W.J. and V.K.Y. Ho (2001a). Drugs versus diets: disillusions with Dutch health care. Acta Biotheoretica 49: 125–140.Google Scholar
  85. Van der Steen, W.J. and V.K.Y. Ho (2001b). Methods and Morals in the Life Sciences. A Guide for Analyzing and Writing Texts. Praeger, Westport.Google Scholar
  86. Van der Steen, W.J., V.K.Y. Ho and F.J. Karmelk (2003). Beyond Boundaries of Biomedicine. Pragmatic Perspectives on Health and Disease. Rodopi, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  87. Villanueva, P., S. Peiro, J. Librero and I. Pereiro (2003). Accuracy of pharmaceutical advertisements in medical journals. Lancet 361: 27–32.Google Scholar
  88. Wahlbeck, K., and C. Adams (1999). Beyond conflict of interest: sponsored drug trials show more favourable outcomes. British Medical Journal 318: 465.Google Scholar
  89. Whitaker, R. (2002). Mad in America. Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill. Perseus Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wim J. van der Steen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations