Prescription Medications: Not Suitable for Fish or Humans

by Dr. David Brownstein

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An article in the New York Times (2.15.13) reported, “Traces of a common psychiatric medication that winds up in rivers and streams may affect fish behavior and feeding patterns.” The Swedish researchers exposed perch to different concentrations of an anti-anxiety medication – Oxazepam. Oxazepam is a benzodiazepine drug similar to the U.S. drug Xanax.

The scientists found that fish exposed to low-dose Oxazepam became less social, more active, and ate faster. In humans, benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety. They can cause the same adverse effects seen in the fish – social withdrawal, paradoxical excitement, and an increased appetite.

In the Swedish study, researchers found wild perch in the Fyris River near the city of Uppsala had high concentrations of Oxazepam in their muscle tissue.

Other researchers have found pharmaceuticals near waste water treatment centers in the water ways and in fish. Studies have reported that Prozac and Zoloft–two antidepressants – have been found in fish. Furthermore, commonly prescribed synthetic hormones have also been found in aquatic environments.

These studies should not surprise anyone. Doctors prescribe too many pharmaceutical medications. Patients take too many of these drugs. I should know. I was trained to prescribe the most common prescription medications. However, I woke up when I realized that the mechanism of action of nearly all prescription drugs is harmful to the body. Most drugs work by blocking important receptors or poisoning enzymes in the body. You cannot make a cogent biochemical argument that it is wise to block and poison things in the body. Over the long-term, most prescription drugs are bound to have serious adverse effects and they do.

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David Brownstein, M.D. is a Board-Certified family physician and is one of the foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is the Medical Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, MI. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success in using natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice.