The Business of Medicine

I have long been observing what doctors – general practitioners, rheumatologists, psychiatrists and neurologists for the most part – recommend for their Fibro patients. Now, given that we are talking about 470 million people with Fibro in the world, this involves a LOT of doctors, so this is admittedly a gross generalization. Mostly what I see is that doctors limit their treatment of Fibro to medications. These medications include traditional pain killers, like opioids; anticonvulsants like Gabapentin; SNRI antidepressants like Cymbalta; Tricyclic antidepressants like Amitriptyline. This is pretty much the full monte. Now, I’m not saying there is NO benefit to these meds. Studies show that some people experience relief some of the time. And that’s great. But really, getting a bit of pain relief for a few weeks or months or even years is not the same as getting better. So why then are most of our doctors only offering a band-aid, when what we need is makeover?

I know it’s a cynical approach, but here it is: follow the money. The pharmaceutical companies that develop these medications spend billions of dollars every year in research and testing, and then they spend twice that in marketing. And to whom are they marketing? You guessed it…to doctors. So, when your doctor gives you gabapentin, someone benefits from that financially. On the other hand, no one benefits (other than the patient, of course) if your doctor suggests dietary changes, exercise, meditation or acupuncture. There’s no money in wellness. And that is a shame because the result of this formula is that most doctors think Fibro can’t be treated, so pain meds are the best they can do.

Again, I know this sounds like a conspiracy theory. I’m not saying this is a plot to keep information from us. I am saying that the huge amount of noise that surrounds the multi-billion-dollar drug industry overpowers the messaging about less expensive, less toxic, more effective types of treatment. So, my message to you, dear warriors, is this; Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware.) Medicine is a business, and you are a consumer. You don’t have to buy what they are selling. Fibro can be treated, just not with these meds. You can feel better, and you deserve better care.

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