Medicine News Service, October 13, 2008
Antibiotics Put 142,000 Into Emergency
Rooms Each Year
U.S. Centers for Disease Control Waits 60 Years to Study the Problem
(OMNS, October 13, 2008) The US Centers for
Disease Control (CDC) has just released "the first report ever done on adverse reactions to antibiotics in the United States"
on 13 Aug, 2008. (1) This is "the first report ever"? How is that
possible? Antibiotics have been widely used since the 1940s. It is astounding
that it has taken CDC so long to seriously study the side effects of these
drugs. It is now apparent that there have been decades of an undeserved
presumption of safety.
Antibiotics can put you in the emergency
room. Common antibiotics, the ones most frequently prescribed and regarded as
safest, cause nearly half of emergencies due to antibiotics. And, incredibly
enough, people in the prime of life - not babies - are especially at risk.
The study authors reported that "Persons aged 15-44 years accounted for
an estimated 41.2 percent of emergency department visits. Infants accounted
for only an estimated 6.3 percent of ED visits." They also found that
nearly 80% of antibiotic-caused "adverse events" were allergic
reactions. Overdoses and mistakes, by patients and by physicians, make up the
Allergic reactions to antibiotics may be
very serious, including life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Searching the US
National Library of Medicine's "Medline" database (2) for
"antibiotic allergic reaction" will bring up over 9,700 mentions in
scientific papers. A search for "antibiotic anaphylactic shock"
brings up over 1,100. Many papers on this severe danger were actually
published before 1960. (3) Given this amount of accumulated information, one
might wonder why CDC took so long to seriously study the problem.
Overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic
resistance. At its website, CDC currently states that antibiotic resistance
"can cause significant danger and suffering for people who have common
infections that once were easily treatable with antibiotics. . . Some
resistant infections can cause death." (4)
In the USA alone, "over 3 million
pounds of antibiotics are used every year on humans . . . enough to give
every man, woman and child 10 teaspoons of pure antibiotics per year,"
write Null, Dean, Feldman, and Rasio. (5)
"Almost half of patients with upper respiratory tract infections in the
U.S. still receive antibiotics from their doctor" even though "the
CDC warns that 90% of upper respiratory infections, including children's ear
infections, are viral, and antibiotics don't treat viral infection. More than
40% of about 50 million prescriptions for antibiotics each year in
physicians' offices were inappropriate."
Additionally, every year, a staggering 25
million pounds of antibiotics are administered to farm animals, most given in
an attempt to prevent illness. Seepage from feedlots results in low
concentrations of antibiotics in our waterways and food. This increases human
antibiotic resistance. (6)
Antibiotic resistance and antibiotic
allergic reactions continue to be major public health problems. Both dangers
are directly related to the huge amount of antibiotics we consume. One
immediate way to decrease the incidence of side effects from antibiotics is
to use antibiotics less often. Reducing use "by even a small percentage
could significantly reduce the immediate and direct risks of drug-related
adverse events," the CDC study authors said.
Alternative, non-drug treatments can also
be an answer. Robert F. Cathcart, M.D., observed that high doses of vitamin C
substantially reduce the dosage of antibiotics needed to treat patients. Vitamin
C also specifically counters allergic reactions. Dr. Cathcart, a practicing
allergist with decades of experience, said: "Patients seemed not to
develop their first allergic reaction to penicillin when they had taken bowel
tolerance vitamin C for several doses. Among the several thousand patients
given penicillin, two cases of brief rash were seen in patients who had taken
their first dose of penicillin along with their first dose of vitamin C . . .
Many patients find the effect of ascorbate more satisfactory than
immunizations or antihistamines and decongestants." (7)
Back in the 1950s, physicians such as
William J. McCormick, M.D., (8) and Frederick Robert Klenner, M.D., (9) found
that very high doses of vitamin C can be safely and effectively used, by
itself, as an antibiotic as well as an antiviral and antihistamine. Dr.
McCormick wrote that vitamin C is known to "contribute to the
development of antibodies and the neutralization of toxins in the building of
natural immunity to infectious diseases. There is a very potent
chemotherapeutic action of ascorbic acid when given in massive repeated
doses, 500 to 1,000 mg (hourly), preferably intravenously or intramuscularly.
When thus administered the effect in acute infectious processes is favorably
comparable to that of the sulfonamides or the mycelial
antibiotics, but with the great advantage of complete freedom from toxic or
allergic reactions." (10)
Using more vitamin C means needing fewer
antibiotics. Using vitamin C along with antibiotics reduces their side
effects. Orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians have been reporting this for
The CDC has a long and lamentable history
of ignoring dangerous antibiotic side effects. And still today, CDC
demonstrates a striking disinterest in nutritional alternatives to drugs. At
their website, there is not a single word about the value of vitamin C in
reducing the need for antibiotics, or for reducing antibiotic side effects.
A cynic might speculate that drug companies
have heavy influence at the US Centers for Disease Control.
Whatever the reason, patients are the
(1) Shehab N,
Patel PR, Srinivasan A, Budnitz
DS. Emergency department visits for antibiotic-associated adverse events. Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Sep 15;47(6):735-43.
(3) Some examples include:
Arrigo G, D'Angelo A. Achromycin and anaphylactic shock. Riv
Patol Clin. 1959 Oct;14:719-22.
Solomon HJ. Acute anaphylactic shock due to para-aminosalicylic
acid. Am Rev Tuberc. 1958 Mar;77(3):492-5.
Lythcott GI. Anaphylaxis to viomycin.
Am Rev Tuberc. 1957 Jan;75(1):135-8.
Farber JE, Ross J, Stephens G. Antibiotic anaphylaxis. Calif Med. 1954
Jul;81(1):9-11. Farber JE, Ross J. Antibiotic
anaphylaxis; a note on the treatment and prevention of severe reactions to
penicillin, streptomycin and dihydrostreptomycin.
Med Times. 1952 Jan;80(1):28-30. Patterson DB.
Anaphylactic shock from chloromycetin. Northwest
Med. 1950 May;49(5):352-3.
(4) http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/community/ Accessed
September 22, 2008.
(5) Null G, Dean C, Feldman M, Rasio
D. Death by medicine. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2005. Vol 20, No 1, p 21-34. http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2005/pdf/2005-v20n01-p021.pdf
Also at http://www.doctoryourself.com/deathmed.html See also: Rabin
R. Caution about overuse of antibiotics. Newsday. Sept. 18, 2003.
(6) Egger WA. Antibiotic resistance: unnatural selection in the office and on
the farm. Wisconson Medical Journal. Aug. 2002.
(7) Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, titration to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia,
and acute induced scurvy. Medical Hypothesis, 1981. 7:1359-1376. http://www.orthomed.com/titrate.htm
(8) Saul AW. The pioneering work of William J.
McCormick, M.D. J Orthomolecular Med, 2003. Vol 18,
No 2, p 93-96. http://www.doctoryourself.com/mccormick.html
(9) Klenner FR. The use of vitamin C as an antibiotic. Journal of Applied
Nutrition, 1953. 6:274-278. http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/195x/klenner-fr-j_appl_nutr-1953-v6-p274.htm
(10) McCormick WJ. Ascorbic acid as a chemotherapeutic agent. Archives of Pediatrics NY,
1952. Vol. 69, No. 4, April, p 151-155. http://www.doctoryourself.com/mccormick1951.html
(11) Read full text, peer-reviewed nutritional research papers, free of
For more information:
Dr. F. R. Klenner's work, summarized as "The Clinical Guide to the Use
of Vitamin C," is posted in its entirety at http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm
The complete text of Irwin Stone's book on high-dose vitamin C therapy,
"The Healing Factor," is posted for free reading at http://vitamincfoundation.org/stone/
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