Medications | Integrative functional medicine blog

"Any fool can Know. The point is to understand" - Albert Einstein

This hypertension drug leads to 7x more skin cancers


A recent study by Danish-based researchers, shows that one of the most popular drugs used worldwide in the treatment of hypertension
raises the risk of skin cancer by seven times.

7 times! Thats 700%.

The study found that patients that use Hydrochlorothiazide, also known as HCTZ, may be at a much higher risk of developing skin cancer.

The study was led by Anton Pottegård, associate professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, and the findings were published in the Journal of the American Association of Dermatology.

Fortunately. Hmmmm, fortunately?! I guess. The link was found to increase the risk of non melanoma skin cancer. Theres a silver lining in everything I suppose. Could be worse!

HCTZ is though to be the most common medication prescribed for hypertension. It works by acting as a diuretic. Basically it works by making your body get rid of water, often leading to a chronic state of dehydration.

The researchers were prompted in their endeavor by the fact that HCTZ has been linked with an increased risk of lip cancer in the past. In fact, a study led by Pottegård attributed 11 percent of lip cancer cases to the drug.

Moreover, HCTZ, the authors explain, makes the skin more sensitive to the damage of ultraviolet (UV) rays, due to its photosensitizing effects. This was a further reason for the researchers to examine the drug.

HCTZ raises skin cancer risk

Using national databases, Pottegård and colleagues examined the use of HCTZ in over 80,000 patients who had been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer, and compared it with its use in a group of 1.5 million healthy controls.

Additionally, the researchers considered the use of other antihypertensive medications.

The research revealed that those who took HCTZ were up to seven times more likely to develop skin cancer.

More specifically, the antihypertensive drug raised the risk of both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma – a less serious form of skin cancer.

By contrast, none of the other antihypertensive drugs examined seemed to raise skin cancer risk.

"We knew that hydrochlorothiazide made the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun's UV rays, but what is new and also surprising is that long-term use of this blood pressure medicine leads to such a significant increase in the risk of skin cancer," comments Pottegård.

Choosing a different drug might be advisable

Dr. Armand B. Cognetta Jr., chief division of dermatology at Florida State University in Tallahassee and a co-author on the study, weighs in on the findings, saying, "We have seen and followed many patients with different skin cancers where the only risk factor apart from exposure to sunlight seems to be hydrochlorothiazide."

"The combination of living and residing in sunny Florida while taking hydrochlorothiazide seems to be very serious and even life-threatening for some patients," he adds.

"The study carried out by Pottegård and his colleagues will have [a] great impact on skin cancer prevention and public health worldwide," Dr. Cognetta explains.

However, Pottegård cautions against dismissing the use of HCTZ altogether as a result of his study, saying, "The risk of skin cancer must, of course, be weighed against the fact that hydrochlorothiazide is an effective and otherwise safe treatment for most patients."

"Nevertheless," he continues, "our results should lead to a reconsideration of the use of hydrochlorothiazide. Hopefully, with this study, we can contribute towards ensuring safer treatment of high blood pressure in the future."

"You should not interrupt your treatment without first consulting your doctor. However, if you use hydrochlorothiazide at present, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor to see if it is possible to choose a different medicine."
Anton Pottegård

Of course, my recommendation is to always get to the root cause first and balance the body. Generally this will reduce your blood pressure and eliminate your need for hydrochlorothiazide, or any other blood pressure medication for that matter.

I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy.

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Get the benefits of marijuana without the marijuana

If medical marijuana has done anything, it has been to educate us about our own endocannibinoid system, which we will just call ECS for short.

This is a system of receptors on cells that play a role in inflammation, appetite, pain, mood, memory, and even cancer prevention. These receptors have come to light because they respond to compounds in cannabis, or marijuana and is the reason that cannabis can be very helpful in a medical sense.

Antibiotics. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Such a cool picture.
Anyway, onto the good stuff, and bad, and the ugly.

antibiotics. The good, bad, and the ugly.
First, the good. Antibiotics were first discovered back in the late 1880's. When they first came out they were thought to be the miracle cure that was going to save the world from all disease. To a certain extent, they did a very good job and saved many lives. Until, that is, the diseases and bacteria got smarter, which brings us to the bad.
good and bad
The BAD! Over the last 50 years, the bad of antibiotics has been getting exponentially worse. The really bad part is it's all our own fault. That's right, we may have screwed ourselves. Here's the run down on basically what's happened. Antibiotics worked so well for years that everyone wanted to take them whenever they got sick. Whether it was a little sniffle, runny nose, flu (which is viral by the way, so antibiotics don't work anyway) everyone was asking their doctors for antibiotics. Doctors were handing them out like candy, and still do. Eventually, the bacteria started to change and mutate into strains that are resistant to antibiotics.

In the last year alone these drug resistant bacteria have killed over 65,000 people. This is more than prostate cancer and breast cancer COMBINED!

The Ugly! Really ugly!
Even if you have never taken antibiotics, the odds are that you have still ingested large amounts of them. The only way to completely avoid them is to be informed and aware of what you ingest. Did you know that antibiotics are used in cows to produce more milk and in livestock to make them grow bigger so they can make more money (The antibiotics are passed to use through the milk and in the meat).

Antibiotics are even in our water (
always drink reverse osmosis water). It's hard to avoid them but it can be done. The really bad part about all this is even if you do everything perfectly, other people are messing it up for us. They are the ones that are over using antibiotics for everything from ear infections (which 9 times out of 10 are viral) to tummy aches (I'm not joking!). They become the hosts for the antibiotic resistant bacteria and if someone that does everything right happens to get an infection they are up a creek without a paddle. The damage is done!


I could go on and on about this subject. Here is an article that I actually read on my blackberry and was amazed to see it there. Please take the time to read it. It really is in the best interest of everyone's health.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
While there may be little pieces of the sky falling there are some people taking action and there are some things you can do to help.

This topic is getting so big (finally) and so important that our federal government and other governments of the world are taking strong actions to prevent this from getting worse.

The WHO (World Health Organization) is even involved.

There is a worldwide campaign to reduce the usage (which is mostly unnecessary) of antibiotics. They are pressuring doctors big time to actually test before prescribing antibiotics and only use them in severe cases. Even if antibiotics would help, unless it is life threatening your body
WILL heal itself and get better. Give it time.

I usually recommend giving it a week and if at the end of the week you are not ANY better then get it checked out. Here is the problem with relying on doctors for the best health possible. They get paid to prescribe those antibiotics and drugs. So its kind of in their own best financial interest to prescribe more not less.

So that leaves you and me. Leave antibiotics for use as a last resort. Always ask for testing before taking antibiotics and give your body a chance to heal itself. It will make you healthier in the long run.

If you would like some recommendations on different supplements I recommend to help boost the immune system take a look at the short list below. While not all inclusive to every condition they are very helpful.

This is a great all around immune system booster.
Pure Encapsulations - Daily Immune - 120ct [Health and Beauty]
This is a good Kids option.
Gaia Kids Echinacea Goldenseal Herbal Drops, 2-Ounce Bottle

And for all you garlic lovers, you know I love it. Good for sooooo many things.
See my previous post on garlic and vampires.

Vital Nutrients - Garlic Extract 300 mg 60 caps

his is a list to just start with. If you are looking for other check out Healthwave for you supplement needs.

That's enough for now. I'm sure there will be more later.

Make informed decisions and ask for testing before taking anything. Keep your body healthy and it will take care of itself.
After all, if you don't take care of your body. Where are you going to live?

As always if you have any question you can always
contact me or make an appointment. I’d be happy to help.

Giddy up!

Dr. Craig Mortensen

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Antibiotics do NO good for Most sinus infections

This is an article that was all over the news in the Wall Street Journal, yahoo news, CNN and Fox News. This is important not just for our individual health but also for the health of society as a whole.
The following article was in the Wall Street Journal.

antibiotics dont help sinus infections

Most sinus infections are caused by viruses rather than bacteria and shouldn’t be treated with antibiotics — a common practice that contributes to the development of drug-resistant “superbugs,” according to new guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

The  guidelines, which also include new recommendations for treating bacterial infections, are the first issued  by the society, which represents specialists in infectious disease. A panel that developed them included experts from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Physicians.

Nearly one in seven people are diagnosed with a sinus infection each year. These cases are the fifth most common reason doctors prescribe antibiotics. But as many as  98% of cases are caused by viruses, which aren’t affected by these drugs.

With no test to easily determine whether a sinus infection is viral or bacterial,  many physicians prescribe antibiotics as a precaution.
Deeds done with good intentions often do the most harm.

And, patients may ask doctors for antibiotics on the mistaken theory “
that they can’t harm them and they might help,” says Thomas M. File,  co-author of the guidelines and chair of the Infectious Disease Section at Northeast Ohio Medical University. But in addition to concern about drug-resistant bugs, he adds,  antibiotics can have serious side effects such as diarrhea, rash and headache, and can add to the cost of health care.

Sinus infections,  known as  acute rhinosinusitis, are an inflammation of the nasal and sinus passages that can cause uncomfortable pressure on either side of the nose and last for weeks. Most develop during or after a cold or other upper respiratory infection, but allergens and environmental irritants may also trigger them.

If symptoms last for 10 days without improvement, or include fever of 102 degrees or higher, nasal discharge and facial pain lasting three to four days, the infection is likely bacterial and should be treated with antibiotics, the guidelines say.

Viral infections can also initially seem to improve and then get worse, with the addition of a fever, meaning a bacterial infection has likely developed.

In those cases the new guidelines call for shorter treatment time than older guidance from other groups,  which called for 10 days to two weeks of antibiotic treatment for a bacterial infection. The IDSA suggests five to seven days is long enough to treat a bacterial infection without encouraging resistance in adults, though children should still get the longer course.

Because of increasing resistance to the antibiotic amoxicillin — the current standard of care — the ISDA recommends amoxicillin-clavulanate, a combination which helps to overcome resistance by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down the antibiotic.

The guidelines also recommend against other commonly used antibiotics, including azithromycin, clarithromycin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, because of growing drug resistance.

Whether the sinus infection is bacterial or viral, the ISDA says  use of decongestants and antihistamines  may make symptoms worse. Nasal steroids can help ease symptoms as may nasal irrigation using a sterile solution — including sprays, drops or liquid, says  Dr. File, who also  recommends patients  take acetaminophen for sinus pain and drink plenty of fluids.

So whats an aching patient to do with a sinus infection? Our recommendations in our office always include drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest. Take Immune system boosting supplements and vitamins. Get adjusted by a chiropractor (which helps the sinuses and nasal passageways drain) and do some sinus rinses. In 98% of all sinus infection cases this will take care of the problem and get you back to normal faster.
Here are some of my favorite supplements for boosting the immune system and fighting infections.
Daily Immune by Pure encapsulations
M/R/S Mushroom Formula
Garlic extract (allicin yield 12,000 mcg/g) 300mg
Echinacea-Goldenseal with Olive Leaf
Do yourself a favor, save some money and get it through Healthwave - sign up in the sidebar
I guarantee you will save money.
It’s routinely 10-20% cheaper than amazon!

For those of you with chronic sinus infections or who seem to always be getting sick, consider this. Taking antibiotics has shown to reduce your own bodies immunity and ability to fight off sickness and infection. So the very drugs you were taking to try to make you better are actually making you worse.

HHHMMMMM........That sounds familiar!

In Good Health,
Dr. Craig Mortensen

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