Alternative Medicine

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by Bear, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    For desparate and not so desparate times.....

    Fish antibiotics a drug loophole
    Last Updated Thu, 18 Jul 2002 17:13:14
    BOSTON - A U.S. soldier may have inadvertently discovered a loophole in consumer protection rules when he purchased fish antibiotics to treat his sinus infection, the New England Journal of Medicine reports.

    Doctors at the Pentagon Clinic wrote in the journal Thursday that one of their patients admitted to buying penicillin and sulfa antibiotics "in the fish medication aisle" of a local pet store to treat his sinusitis.

    Antibiotics sold for fish are not regulated for use in humans, the doctors said in the article. Even so, the soldier said the pet store was a common source of over-the-counter antibiotics, the doctors wrote.

    Although prescriptions are required for most antibiotics for humans and pets, fish antibiotics appear to be the exception.

    The doctors were able to find antibiotics such as erythromycin, penicillin, tetracycline and sulfathiazole at local pet superstores.

    In Canada, antibiotics such as tetracycline and erythromycin are available online from pet stores such as SuperPet and Fins N Fur Pet Supplies. They are sold to treat such ailments as body slime and cottonmouth.

    Some of the antibiotics carry the disclaimer "For aquarium use only."

    Written by CBC News Online staff

    Copyright © 2004 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - All Rights Reserved

    Humans using drugs meant for animals
    By Benedict Carey, Special To The Baltimore Sun, September 29, 2002

    A veterinarian must prescribe most pets' drugs, but thoese for fish can be sold over
    the counter. Photo by Francine Orr, LA Times.

    Some customers visit pet-supply stores to scoop up antibiotics withou a prescription

    Getting a drug prescription to treat a simple infection isn't always so simple. Drug prices are on the rise, doctor visits can be time-consuming and expensive, and 40 million Americans have no insurance to help pay.

    For many, it's easier to get drugs for a pet cat or fish - and take those pills. Animals are prescribed many of the same medications humans are, sometimes for the same conditions, and there are plenty of Internet sites providing advice on drug dosage.

    "The use of animal antibiotics without prescription is a major issue for us," said Dr. Don Klingborg, associate dean of public programs at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. "This kind of use can cause adverse events for the people taking them, and also lead to more antibiotic resistance in the diseases we're trying to control."

    With increasing amounts of prescription drugs moving across the Mexican border and through Internet pharmacies, a variety of vet medicines are likely being bought and sold for human use,
    doctors say. Some emergency-room doctors say patients occasionally turn up with veterinary pain medications, sleeping pills and anabolic steroids, among other products.

    "I've seen people that go to Mexico for the meds and return with the vet form instead of the human form," said Dr. James Keany, an emergency-room physician in Mission Viejo, Calif.

    One of the biggest dangers, he said, is having a severe allergic reaction to an unknown drug. "I've seen people come to the ER with allergic reactions, usually saying, 'This looks just like when I took penicillin.' " They were taking penicillin without knowing it, he said.

    Danger in the fish aisle

    Perhaps the biggest loophole in the regulation of veterinary drugs is the sale of fish antibiotics in pet stores, according to Brandon Goff, of the Pentagon Clinic in Washington.

    In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in July, Goff and two other Pentagon doctors reported the case of an Army Special Forces soldier who had been treating a sinus infection for three months without a prescription. After some questioning, Goff said, the middle-age serviceman acknowledged that he'd been buying the drugs from the fish aisle of a local pet shop.

    Goff visited pet stores and Internet sites that sell pet supplies and found a range of antibiotics available: packages of penicillin, in 250-milligram tablets; tetracycline, in 250-milligram capsules or tablets; erythromycin, in 200-milligram tablets. In all, there were about a dozen antibiotics commonly used by humans sold in clearly labeled doses.

    Many of the same products are available through Internet sites operated by large pet-product chain stores or discount veterinary supply outfits.

    When bombarded - but not killed off - by antibiotic drugs, bacteria eventually evolve defenses against the drugs. The tougher bugs are difficult to eradicate.

    In recent years, for example, scientists have detected strains of the tuberculosis bacterium resistant to nearly every antibiotic available.

    Stolen from vets

    Shawn Underwood, a spokesman for Petco, a large pet-supply chain based in San Diego, said the company had not heard of customers buying fish drugs for personal use. "It's news to us," he said.

    Other pet-shop owners, though, have noticed a problem. "I quit selling drugs 10 years ago for that very reason: People would come in and buy a bunch of medicine and you knew they didn't have a dog," said Hervey Chapman, owner of Verdugo Pet Shop in Los Angeles.

    Some animal medications have a following among recreational drugs users. Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin, of the American Veterinary Medical Association in Schaumburg, Ill., said there have been burglaries of veterinarians' offices in which the anesthetic ketamine - used most commonly on animals - was stolen.

    Sometimes known as "vitamin K," when used in clubs or at parties, the drug can cause hallucinations and disorientation - a high that lasts up to two hours, doctors say.

    "It's a very important anesthetic for animal medicine, but we have to advise vets to keep as little of it as possible, and put it under lock and key," Curry-Galvin said.

    Veterinarians estimate that 300 drugs have been approved for use in companion animals like dogs, cats and horses. Many of the compounds contain active ingredients that are identical to those in human drugs; some are used for the same purpose, but have different brand names.

    The anti-inflammatory etodolac, for example, is prescribed for osteoarthritis in dogs and humans. The human product is called Lodine; dogs take EtoGesic.

    Yet even when it comes to these parallel drugs, there are risks of taking animal medications, doctors say: The dosages for animals are different from human doses; the drugs are often made by different manufacturers, and the production standards may vary.

    Benedict Carey is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

    Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun
  2. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I don't know how to reply to this post. Knowing what I know, I can't in good conscience say that this is a smart thing to do. Medications involve some serious risk. You never really know how your body is going to react. Add in the fact that these meds are created for a different species, 1/100 th your weight, and you can see how there could be problems.

    Due to the fact that there is medical care available, even for those on a limited budget, I would recommend not going to a pet store over a pharmacy. Instead I would stock up on knowledge about what you are possibly trying to treat, what human doses could be used, and what the pet store equivalent might be. The only way I could suggest the pet store method, would be if the local pharmacy was picked clean with no chance of restocking. If you think that is an immanent threat, then you would have already gathered the info that you need to possibly administer the meds safely.

    Perhaps Bear could post some links (if he has some) for proper dosing?

  3. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    I'd have to do a search on sites as I don't have any readily available....
    I've used a bunch of these medications on tropical fish that I've raised over the years.... only recently through reading and some quick searching did I read that the medicines used by vets were possibly the same as those used for humans..... (2 90 gallon aquariums with synodontis catfish, red hooks and cool cichlids..... oh a boxers, american bulldogs and assorted mixed breeds)
    I agree that in a normal situation appropriate meds, doctors and facilities are definitely the way to go.....
    Having the right references that describe symptoms, deseases and courses of action and medication is a smart thing to do.... hard copy of course.... a quick stop the next time you are in the bookstore to the medical section will reveal all kinds of resources from detailed anatomy, medications and diagonistic references....
    I am definitely not recommending anyone practice medicine unless properly trained.... I am recommending awareness and education....
  4. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Well this is all I could find in a quick search.... that's probably a good thing... otherwise alot of folks might be using the information instead of going to the doctor....

    One more time, I am not advocating this sort of alternative.... see a doctor or go to the hospital if you're not feeling well.....

    My dog, Brandy, was put on amoxicillin by my veterinarian for a bladder infection. My daughter has been on amoxicillin in the past for an ear infection. Why is my veterinarian giving human medicine to my dog? Is this safe?

    Many medications that are used for people are also used in animals. Dogs and cats get many diseases that are similar to those of people, as a result, many of the same medications can be used.

    The medications that pets are given can range from antibiotics to arthritis medicines or even chemotherapy drugs. An important point to remember however, is that the dosages of these medications can be very different for animals compared to people. The dosages can even be vastly different for dogs versus cats. Some medications may require a much lower or much higher dose in animals compared to people. Some human medicines may be lethal to pets even though they are safe for people. (An example of this is that aspirin can be toxic to cats, thus never give aspirin to cats.)

    There are also some medicines that are only allowed to be used in animals and not people. Your dog and your daughter were on the same mediciation because they both had bacterial infections that were responsive to the antibiotic amoxicillin. The medicine is neither an animal or human medicine, it is merely an antibacterial that the respective doctors thought was appropriate for the infections concerned.

    Because pets are not people, NEVER give your animals prescriptions or over-the-counter human medicines without the consent of your veterinarian since it may be harmful or even lethal to your pets.

    This information, prepared as a public service by the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association, answers problems Rhode Island veterinarians currently are seeing in their practices, as well as new developments in animal care.
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    phishi has to carry that opinion.. I understand where he is coming from as an Medical Professional.

    I do know this. My wife, before she kicked her allergies naturally, used to get a very expensive antihistamine from her Doc. One of my dogs was having some itching problems and the Vet gave us an Antihistamine for him.

    We got home and I looked at the bottle of 100 pills for $7. (Hers were 20 for $30) and they looked the same. I got out the glass and sure enough, same stamp. Same mg dose and same manufacture. I'm sure they were cheaper as they didn't have to go through the whole FDA approval thing.

    Some have mentioned that maybe they were not made to the same specs or quality control... Pharmaceuticals are a business. I really doubt that they had a separate "line" to make the pet ones. My guess is that they were the exact same thing.

    In a SHTF case where there is no Meds anywhere, those animal meds you have will be better than nothing or as good IMHO as the ones from CVS.

    But again, I build houses.
  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I'll toss in my nickle here too. One thing I wanted to clarify is the idea that theres 'affordable' health care even for those with low incomes, our county hospital dose have a slideing scale for financial aid on med bills where if you provide enouph documents to show them you have several bills AND make under about 8K a year treatment is free, under about 10k and enouph bills and you can get 50% off and over about 12k you still have to pay the whole bill. By what I was told when I looked into medicare (or whatever the regular gov med assistance is) a few years ago I was told that since I was working and at that time makeing around $80 per week I made to much to qualify, now if I didnt work at all then I could get more money than I was makeing, food stamps AND the medical care, but since I insist on earning my way as best as I can then I didnt qualify for anything. So while a majority of folks can get professional care iether by haveing insurance through an employeer or purchased indipendantly or else by playing by the rules to get what they need from the system, there is a segment of us that cant afford to pay $100 to see a doc and get a script but if pressed hard enouph can manage the $10-$20 for those meds packaged for animals.
    For anyone who hadnt picked up on it yet, yeah, I have used animal meds before and they did what they would have if I had gone to the pharmacey. Most of them do indeed come off the same line but regardless where they are used most Rx drugs only cost 1-3 cents or so per dose to make but where they can get people to pay $5 for a pill to keep them alive most farmers (where the most animal meds are used) would put an animal down before looseing money on it by putting say $100 or more of pills in it for something that may come back but the Rx companies can sell them the meds at say $0.20 per pill and still make loads of profit and it is still low enouph for the farmers to administer without thier bottom line going into the red. Some of the meds are indeed manufactured seperatly but they are still regulated for quality controle.
    If you have the option of going to a Dr and haveing them examine you and getting a script from a pharmacey then by all means it is the better way to go since the Dr is going to be more knowledgable and may know things going on that you dont as well as the fact that the meds available for animals have a lot fewer options (much smaller selections) and also the pros will then know what they are looking at if you have a bad reaction like say you didnt know you were alergic to penicilin or that the meds you bought were from that family, but if the Dr is not a possibility then yeah, animal meds are a viable option just keep in mind that if you take the wrong meds weather from a Dr or the pet store they can easily kill you so you have to decide if the person decideing what meds you take knows enouph about medications to make the risk from the meds low enouph in comparison to what you are trying to fix is worth the chance. In other words if you have a cold and no HIGHLY extensive knowledge of medicine then its really not worth the risk you take of the meds reacting badly to your body chemistry or other substances you have in your system killing you in order to get rid of the cold, now if you have phneumonia and no acess to a Dr and a decent knowledge of medicine then the risk of the treatment in comparison to the risk of the illness shifts and it may then become a viable option. Like I say, its not something to do just because it can be done and you feel a little 'ickey' but if the need is there, and I know first hand it can be even in our present society, then animal pharmacuticals are a viable option.

    Oh, BTW, yeah if I drove to the city there is a hospital there that has to treat you (even if there is not emenent danger to your life, in which case all hospitals are required to stabalize you) without consideration of your ability to pay, though they will sick collections on you, but there is just one there thats like that and its the same hospital where my friend died in thier parking lot this spring 10 minutes after they released him and it took them more than 30 minutes after notification to make it out there to help him, had a friend in HS bleed to death in thier waiting room from an abdominal wound, and my GF sat in thier waiting room without even haveing her vitals taken for over 30 minutes (at which time I took her out of there to another hospital) with chest pains, short of breath, arm tingleing, and dizzey. So while I could be treated there and then just be hounded by thier collections folks, I'ld rather die in the streets than allow those scum to get ahold of me and would trust ANY vets medical opinion far more than thiers, but thats the only options I would have unless I was in danger of dieing soon so that any ER would be required to stabalize me.
  7. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Monkeyman, I can understand your reluctance to going to that hospital. I would have similar thoughts myself. I also realize that "affordable" health care is a huge gray area often defined by where you live and how much you make.

    Have you tried to find free clinics in your area? I ask because I know that some of the docs that I work with often run them on the weekends, in the basement of churches, in some of the outlying areas of where I live. The clinics are free, no insurance needed. You get examained by a good doc and get a script for what ails you. That 100 dollars that would have been spent on the appointment, could now be spent on a script. If there are free samples of a drug that can fix you, they don't hesitate to pass them out.

    If there are docs doing that here, I believe that there would be some in your area also. I don't know what the quality of the care might be, but it is an option worth considering in an effort to look after your health.

    Just my two.
  8. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It is something worth looking into in a given area. In the city about 100 miles away they have one that operates 1 day a week and IIRC you call in on Mon to make your apointment for that week, they start takeing calls at 8:00am and if you can get through before they fill the slots for that week you get an appointment, if not you try to get through the next week in time to get an apointment, the slots are generaly all full by around 9:30 and IIRC the day they see people is Wed or Thurs. In the county south of us there is also a clinic where you can go if you meet income requirements even if you work and can get things like vaccine shot and boosters and such and then one evening a week you can see a Dr., but if your illness dosnt fit with that day (I think they are first come first seen) then you're SOL as far as a script or diagnosis. So if you can wait a week or 2 then you could generaly have a decent shot at seeing a Dr if you make sure you are after it early, but I figure if you can wait a week or 2 then its generaly not something Im worried about a Dr for anyhow. Which aside from thier utter incompetence that hospital I mention isnt free or anything, its just that they have to see you regardless then bill you and come after you later.
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