Your Immune System and Drugs

How do drugs affect your immune system? Long term and short term?

The United States of America comes 37th on a list of healthiest countries in the world.  Behind many third world countries.  Per capita, the USA spends more than any other country in the world on Health Care.  What part do drugs play in this scenario?

According to Wallstreet.com:

"America makes up about 5% of the world’s population – but accounts for approximately 27 percent of the world’s drug overdose deaths, according to Vox. The culprit? Prescription opioids like Oxycontin, tramadol, methadone, morphine, fentanyl or Vicodin."

I was speaking to my son recently about vaccines.  I said to him that there was a preponderance of evidence that vaccines might adversely affect the immune system; that there may be a relationship with vaccines and the rapid increase of the incidence of autism over the last 30 years.  He allowed for that but pointed out the increase of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, and the like, over the same period of time.  He thought that these types of drugs could just as easily, or even more likely, be the cause.  

How many men and women took Ritalin growing up in 80s and 90s and then had children?  Did Ritalin, and later drugs like Prozac, Zoloft and others, affect their immune systems and then the immune systems of their newborns?   

What percentage of the population are currently on antidepressants?

Per the CDC

“During 2015–2018, 13.2% of adults used antidepressants in the past 30 days (Figure 1). Use was higher among women (17.7%) than men (8.4%).”

This is huge! How many of these women were taking these drugs when they were pregnant?  Or breast feeding?  How are the immune systems of the babies affected by these drugs?

The use of pain relievers (legal) has at least doubled in the last 40 years.  The intake of SSRIs doubled from 1998 to 2010.

Since 1990, 450,000 people have died from opioid overdoses.  How many users are there that don’t die?  This from both prescribed and street use of various opioids.  How do these drugs affect one’s immune system?  Short term? Long term?

I know people that eat Tylenol like candy.  In both the USA and in the United Kingdom Tylenol is the biggest cause of liver failure.

“acetaminophen* overdose is the leading cause [of Acute liver failure] in the United States”  NCBI Liver Failure

(*acetaminophen: an analgesic drug used to relieve mild or chronic pain and to reduce fever, often as an alternative to aspirin. Proprietary names include Tylenol.)

How does this extensive damage to the liver affect one’s immune system?

“The liver is a key, frontline immune tissue. Ideally positioned to detect pathogens entering the body via the gut, the liver appears designed to detect, capture, and clear bacteria, viruses, and macromolecules.”  The Liver and Immune System

Other medicines can affect one’s liver and thus the immune system:

“Some drugs, such as statins** (used to treat high cholesterol levels), can increase the levels of liver enzymes and cause liver damage (usually minor) but no symptoms.”
Merck Liver Disorders

(**Statin: “any of a group of drugs that act to reduce levels of fats, including triglycerides and cholesterol, in the blood.”)

Commonly used drugs such as Adderall can severely affect the health of the liver.  Adderall is an amphetamine. This from an article at NCBI on amphetamines and the liver.

“More importantly, several amphetamines have been associated with clinically apparent and sometimes severe or even fatal instances of acute liver injury. These cases typically follow intravenous use, particularly when given in an excessive single dose. The synthetic amphetamine methylenedioxymetamphetamine (MDMA, but known familiarly as “ecstasy”) has been implicated in the largest number of cases, many of which were severe and led to acute liver failure and death.”

Much evidence has come to light over the last 20-30 years as to how antibiotics have affected the immune system.  A necessary evil sometimes.  The problem with antibiotics is that they kill good bacteria as well as bad. 

From JAMA Pediatrics

“This study found that all commonly prescribed antibiotics during infancy are associated with subsequent diagnosis of allergic disease.

Administration of more than 1 class of antibiotic was associated with increased risk, most notably for asthma and allergic rhinitis. This association persisted even after adjusting for the total days of antibiotics supplied.”  JAMA Pediatrics

So, ask your doctor questions.  Your doctor is not infallible.  Find out the short and long term affects of the drugs he prescribes.  Do your own homework; it is pretty easy to find side effects of pretty much any drug online. 

Street drugs, even marijuana, well, that’s a little trickier.  Opioids, (Oxy for example), that you buy on the street will not likely have a list of ingredients, telling you how much fentanyl is in it.  Even so called medical marijuana has been found to have mold which can shut down your liver.  Caution your children on the use  of study drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin.  Instruct them on how these drugs can affect one’s immune system over a short or long period of time. 

Good health is your best defence!

Posted by faffyrd03

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