- Created on Sunday, 06 November 2011 16:48
A reader asked me about prescription blood thinners, such as Plavix. When I think of such powerful blood thinners, I think of the former Prime Minister of Israel, Arial Sharon. He is in a permanent vegetative state since 2006 from having been given a strong blood thinner (not Plavix) which caused a massive hemorrhagic stroke. It is amazing that he is still alive, although one has to assume that he doesn’t really have a life, and the most merciful thing might be to let him pass on. At the time, his doctors gave him a potent blood thinner because previously he had had a small ischemic stroke, and they were trying desperately to prevent another one. Keep in mind that Israel has one of the most advanced medical systems in the world, and he was the leader of the country, so unquestionably, he was getting the best medical care that money can buy. Still, this catastrophe happened to him.
And there have been similar catastrophes with Plavix. Right now, there are many class-action and independent lawsuits against the maker of Plavix- Bristol Meyers Squibb. There are quite a few lawyers who specialize in Plavix litigations. Here is one: http://www.plavixlawsuit.com. Gastrointestinal bleeding, other internal hemorrhaging, heart attacks, strokes and more have been linked to Plavix. It is going to take years for these cases to wind their way through the courts, and in the meantime, new cases will arise because Plavix is still widely prescribed (it is one of the bestselling drugs in the world) and more people will be similarly affected. So, this is now the normal landscape for pharmaceutical drugs of this kind: lots of prescriptions, lots of catastrophes, lots of lawsuits, lots of judgments and settlements, but still a lot of profit, and so it just keeps going and going and going.
And, I had a minor emergency with one of my patients relating to blood thinning. Be aware that just about everything you put in your body has a net influence as either pro-coagulant or anti-coagulant, including the foods you eat. For instance, green vegetables are high in Vitamin K1, which is a pro-coagulant. However, green vegetables are also high in natural salicylates, which are aspirin-like compounds, and the net effect of green vegetables is to have a blood-thinning effect. Well, a young Iranian woman came to my health retreat to lose weight. She had a congenital liver disorder which posed a danger of blood clots, so doctors had her on Wayfarin (also known as Coumadin) permanently. Coumadin is much weaker than Plavix, but it’s stronger than aspirin. I didn’t tamper with it. I just put her on a high fruit and vegetable, plant-based diet. The result was that in short order, she started bleeding. You could see the hemorrhaging underneath her skin. We rushed her to the ER, and her doctor in California was contacted. They gave her a shot of Vitamin K, and they had her temporarily discontinue the Coumadin. Slowly, the hemorrhaging receded, and when it was gone, the doctor had her resume taking a lower dose of Coumadin. In her case, the blood-thinning effect of the unrefined plant diet was added to that of the drug, and it was too much.
Plavix is much higher risk than Coumadin, and they use it in high-risk cases. Basically, it knocks out every platelet in your body. But, those platelets are there for a reason, and it isn’t to sabotage you. On the contrary, they are there to protect you. I realize that a patient may be at high-risk from his condition, but he will also be at high-risk from taking Plavix. So, it is truly a devil’s gambit.
Obviously, the goal should be to never let oneself to get into such a dire state that such a stark choice becomes a reality.
Still, it is a fair question to ask: what would I do if I faced such a choice? I will answer that, but first I want to emphasize that I am only speaking for myself. I do not pose this as advice to anyone else. I am not speaking generally about what others should do. My advice to others is to work with a doctor whom they can trust- and hopefully one who is broadly educated and not just a pharmaceutical shill. But, I think I know myself well enough to realize that I would never be comfortable taking a drug like Plavix, and I don’t think I would ever do it. I would take my chances going without it. But, it doesn’t mean that I would do nothing. Here is what I would do if I thought I was at risk for having a deadly or catastrophic clot:
First, I would certainly be willing to take natural blood thinners, such as Vitamin E, fish oil, and turmeric. I already take those things as part of my daily program, but, I would increase the doses if I thought I was at risk for a clot. And I would be open to taking aspirin. And, I am sure I would consult with physician friends of mine, such as Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Dr. Ward Dean. I have already discussed this matter with Dr. Dean- although not concerning myself- and he told me that using natural blood thinners and other nutritional and lifestyle measures, that the only blood-thinning drug he ever has to resort to, even in advanced cases, is aspirin. He never prescribes Plavix or the likes of Plavix. That is heartening to know.
And, I would be very diligent about my food, casting aside anything suspect. And I would also consider fasting, which has its own blood-thinning effect.
But, I have no expectation of facing such a predicament. I am confident that the actions I am taking now to safeguard my health will keep me far removed from having blood clots. The idea is to never get anywhere near that territory.