« Could Sure Whip Me, Though | Main | With Friends Like These... »

November 30, 2005

Medicine Kills

The next front in the war of RU-486 is going to be its deadly side effects, its role as not only a baby killer, but a patient killer. And this guy's going to be the spokesman:

The father of a Livermore woman who died in 2003 after taking the RU-486 abortion pill is going international with his concerns over the drug's safety.

You can't argue with his loss, but let's put this in perspective. Including his daughter, there are four deaths that can potentially be linked to RU-486. But: :

(1996): "Each year, use of NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) accounts for an estimated 7,600 deaths and 76,000 hospitalizations in the United States." (NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, ketoprofen, and tiaprofenic acid.)

Medicine kills people. Medical treatment kills people. Being in hospitals kills people. Medical errors kill people. Improper treatment protocols kill people. Now, doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals cure more than they kill, and we as a society have decided easing our headaches and muscle pains is worth 7,600 deaths a year, but pretending that medicine is safe and RU-486 is dangerous is just crap. Particularly considering the sum of the evidence:

Jennifer Blum of the international organization Gynuity, which promotes access to RU-486 and other forms of abortion considered safe, said RU-486 has been approved in about 35 countries, starting with France and China in 1988 and now including England, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Spain, Israel and Russia. It was approved in the United States in 2000.

"There is no record, outside of these four deaths in California and the one in Canada, of Clostridium sordellii deaths anywhere in the world," Blum said. "The Europeans have had a good, extensive tracking service since the very first use of the drug in 1988."

Oppose RU-486 if you want, but it's not a dangerous drug. Not, at least, compared to aspirin.

November 30, 2005 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c572d53ef00d83498395969e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Medicine Kills:

Comments

Ezra,

do you have a link for the Gynuity data? I'm wondering what a more direct comparison (e.g., deaths per 100,000 doses for RU-486 vs., say Tylenol) would say.

This indicates that it is about 1:100000 for RU-486.

This study, from Spain, indicates a death rate of about 15:1000000 due to gastrointestinal events caused by NSAIDS.

Yeah- it isn't even close!

Posted by: TJ | Nov 30, 2005 12:11:55 PM

I think a more appropriate comparison would be with different methods of aborting pregnancies.

Also, I wonder why there isn't a prophylactic dose of antibiotics prescribed along with the medication. IANAD, but it seems like it might be an easy precaution to take.

Posted by: Sara | Nov 30, 2005 12:39:11 PM

Sara, I2ANAD, but you'd probably need a whole course of antibiotics. Not that it seems like that would be bad.

Posted by: TJ | Nov 30, 2005 12:47:42 PM

The debate around RU-486 has always been around efficacy and safety - pro-lifers may use "life begins at conception" as a slogan, but those first few days/weeks are awfully hard to sell to the public as the same thing as second trimester. The fact that the drug causes the body to expel the fetus and slough off blood (i.e. the drug's mechanism of action) probably opens the door to these concerns, and it's hard to minimize the riskiness inherent in that. Hemorraghing is not out of the realm of possibility. And yes the question is how much risk there is and what's an acceptable level (and how much oversight there should be by a medical professional is probably part of this). But, as usual, what would be a worthwhile debate if everyone approached this calmly and used actual science - and I mean that pro-abortion types didn't maintain that the drug was perfectly safe when that's not really the best way to put it just as much as pro-lifers making it sound like arsenic - is lost in the either/or extremes of the abortion noise machine. I still think it's more embarrassing to be a Republican scientist though, and they should cringe over what Bush has done to the FDA.

Posted by: weboy | Nov 30, 2005 12:50:07 PM

Just did a quick check, and as of 2000 the maternal death rate in the US was 17 per 100,000. Those are far worse odds than you'll get with RU-486.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Nov 30, 2005 1:56:30 PM

Oops- in my first post it should read:

This study, from Spain, indicates a death rate of about 15:100000 due to gastrointestinal events caused by NSAIDS.

I got zero-happy, there!

Posted by: TJ | Nov 30, 2005 2:30:24 PM

There's an obvious historical parallel to this: the hyping of supposed dangers of the birth control pill, which has reached semi-hysterical levels at times. The pill is generally considered potentially unsafe for a specific group: smokers over age 35. It is used safely by the vast majority of other groups. However, the tarring of it as dangerous didn't make those distinctions. What also was left out is that the pill lowers the risk of ovarian cancer, which is exceptionally deadly. What all of this is about, really, is anti-sexual-freedom-for-women politics. As a previous commenter points out, these issues could be discussed calmly, in a scientific manner, to determine how to make these practices as safe as possible, but that doesn't seem to happen much. The current ginned-up "controversy" over Plan B falls into the same category.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, RN, PhD | Nov 30, 2005 2:59:50 PM

It seems like everyone here is making crappy arguments. People saying that RU-486 is dangerous are peddling hysteria.

But pretending it's less dangerous than aspirin is silly. RU-486 users are going to be a healthier demographic than OTC painkiller users, because they will necessarily be young enough to bear children. Further, women considering an abortion will tend to be toward the younger side of that age range. Compare the rate of complications for painkillers and for RU-486 within the abortion-candidate demographic and I'm sure you'd see that there's a reason no one is pressing for RU-486 to be sold OTC.

Don't get me wrong -- the anti-choice lobby's safety argument is bogus. But we shouldn't sink to their level.

Posted by: tom | Nov 30, 2005 3:04:52 PM

I don't have a problem with RU-486.

However, it does make sense to me that we have different standards of safety for drugs/procedures that offer a medical benefit above those that offer a quality of life benefit.

I think, for example, that it makes sense to have a higher standard of safety for Viagra than for a heart transplant.

RU-486 seems to be more to be like Viagra than a heart transplant.

That being said, the danger does seem minimal and blown out of proportion to me.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Nov 30, 2005 3:10:23 PM

Tom: Not necessarily. Tylenol, for instance, is most dangerous to children and teens, it causes a rare liver disease that's generally deadly. The OTC/non-OTC issue isn't generally safety, but ease of use. Antibiotics aren't particularly dangerous, but they're not OTC because they're useless for folks not in specific circumstances and those in need should be directed on use.

Posted by: Ezra | Nov 30, 2005 3:49:43 PM

Let's not forget: pregnancy kills people too.

Posted by: Greg | Nov 30, 2005 3:59:51 PM

Tom,
in the second link I put up they say that 90% of GI deaths in their study were elderly- however, that leaves a death rate of on the order 1:1000000 for NSAID. It isn't unreasonable to conclude that RU486 isn't much more dangerous than the OTC NSAIDs, even for the skewed demographic that you rightly pointed out.

Posted by: TJ | Nov 30, 2005 4:00:21 PM

So it's just the complexity of the instructions (RU-486 requires a couple of doses, if I remember correctly) and social hangups that results in RU-486 being a prescribed medication? Hmm. I could be convinced, although I'm not yet. Seems like safety is also probably a consideration -- witness Claritin's move to OTC status after its safety had become clear via widespread subscription use. Antibiotics seem like they're more of a special case.

The frequency of administration also contributes to the apples/oranges nature of this comparison. Painkillers tend to cause organ problems when they're used for long periods of time. Barring allergic reactions, a single dose administered to an adult is, at worst, likely to result in some stomach bleeding -- which is going to tend to be less significant than the bleeding induced by RU-486.

But hey, I'm not a doctor. I'm just dubious of sugarcoating the drug's safety profile.

Posted by: tom | Nov 30, 2005 4:01:46 PM

If I recall correctly when this girl's death happened, she had gone to the hospital because of complications and either wasn't up front with them about the use of RU-486 or they didn't do some of the follow up that they were supposed to. I lived near where this girl did, so I read about it at the time in the papers and remembered thinking "well, geeze, why is no one pointing a finger at the hospital? They didn't do their job either." If you take RU-486, the prescribing body (i.e. Planned Parenthood) is very persistant about doing a follow up to make sure that you are doing alright. I think maybe this girl didn't do her follow up or something...it's bugging me because I can't put my finger on the other shoe in this story, but it is significant because I believe it was an infection, not the RU-486 itself that resulted in her death.

Posted by: Baaaa | Dec 1, 2005 9:08:18 PM

Interestng discusion. But could you PLEASE stop referring to this drug as "RU-486"? That was the name used when it was still under investigation by the manufacturer and before approval in those countries in which it is now approved. Like any other drug it has a "generic" name--mifepristone-- and, in the various countries in which it is approved, a "trade" or commercial name--in the United States it is "Mifeprex"; in much of Europe is is "Mifegyn". By continuing to refer to this drug by its experimental name you only play into the hands of those who want people to think it is "secret" or unproven. Who knows the experimental name for Vioxx, or Celebrex? So stop with the "RU..." already.

Posted by: PDB | Jun 27, 2006 3:14:18 AM

Buy Lowest Price
Generic Viagra


Buy Generic Viagra 100mg Pill as low as $ 1.27 Per Pill

Buy Generic Cialis 20mg Pill as low as $ 1.50 Per Pill

Buy Generic Viagra

Posted by: Buy Generic Viagra | Jul 8, 2006 9:48:44 AM

xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2

xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2

xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2

xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2

xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2

xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2 xoomer.xxxvideos2

Posted by: JEROGatch | Oct 28, 2006 1:21:34 AM

ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA ORZ-TV-OMEGA


FORUM-lixium
FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium FORUM-lixium

Posted by: qwer | Dec 6, 2006 10:21:45 AM

wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
power leveling
power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
power leveling
power leveling

wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow power level
wow power level
wow power level

出会い
wow power level
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
world of warcraft power leveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
World of Warcraft Gold

World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold
wow gold
wow gold
World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow gold
wow gold
World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold

beijing travel
china tour
china tour
beijing
beijing
great wall
翻译公司
翻译公司
上海翻译公司
上海翻译公司
保洁
保洁

rolex replica
rolex replica
beijing hotels
beijing hotels
识别
OCR
OCR
即时翻译
即时翻译
身份证识别
身份证识别
税控收款机
税控收款机
高速扫描
手写
手写
光学字符识别
光学字符识别

Posted by: wow gold | Aug 30, 2007 12:07:59 PM

Not much on my mind right now. I haven't been up to anything. Today was a complete loss. That's how it is. Not much exciting going on these days.

Posted by: work | Sep 3, 2007 10:12:42 AM

Sex offenders should be, should not be castrated

Posted by: Lee | Oct 4, 2007 8:27:35 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.