|Orthomolecular Medicine News
Service, October 13, 2008
Antibiotics Put 142,000 Into Emergency Rooms Each
U.S. Centers for Disease Control Waits 60 Years to Study the Problem
(OMNS, October 13, 2008) The US Centers for
Disease Control (CDC) has just released "the first report
ever done on adverse reactions to
antibiotics in the United States" on 13 Aug, 2008. (1) This is "the
first report ever"? How is that possible? Antibiotics have been
widely used since the 1940s. It is astounding that it has taken CDC
so long to seriously study the side effects of these drugs. It is
now apparent that there have been decades of an undeserved
presumption of safety.
Antibiotics can put you in the emergency room.
Common antibiotics, the ones most frequently prescribed and regarded
as safest, cause nearly half of emergencies due to antibiotics. And,
incredibly enough, people in the prime of life - not babies - are
especially at risk. The study authors reported that "Persons aged
15-44 years accounted for an estimated 41.2 percent of emergency
department visits. Infants accounted for only an estimated 6.3
percent of ED visits." They also found that nearly 80% of
antibiotic-caused "adverse events" were allergic reactions.
Overdoses and mistakes, by patients and by physicians, make up the
Allergic reactions to antibiotics may be very
serious, including life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Searching
the US National Library of Medicine's "Medline" database (2) for
"antibiotic allergic reaction" will bring up over 9,700 mentions in
scientific papers. A search for "antibiotic anaphylactic shock"
brings up over 1,100. Many papers on this severe danger were
actually published before 1960. (3) Given this amount of accumulated
information, one might wonder why CDC took so long to seriously
study the problem.
Overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic
resistance. At its website, CDC currently states that antibiotic
resistance "can cause significant danger and suffering for people
who have common infections that once were easily treatable with
antibiotics. . . Some resistant infections can cause death." (4)
In the USA alone, "over 3 million pounds of
antibiotics are used every year on humans . . . enough to give every
man, woman and child 10 teaspoons of pure antibiotics per year,"
write Null, Dean, Feldman, and Rasio.
(5) "Almost half of patients with upper respiratory tract infections
in the U.S. still receive antibiotics from their doctor" even though
"the CDC warns that 90% of upper respiratory infections, including
children's ear infections, are viral, and antibiotics don't treat
viral infection. More than 40% of about 50 million prescriptions for
antibiotics each year in physicians' offices were inappropriate."
Additionally, every year, a staggering 25 million
pounds of antibiotics are administered to farm animals, most given
in an attempt to prevent illness. Seepage from feedlots results in
low concentrations of antibiotics in our waterways and food. This
increases human antibiotic resistance. (6)
Antibiotic resistance and antibiotic allergic
reactions continue to be major public health problems. Both dangers
are directly related to the huge amount of antibiotics we consume.
One immediate way to decrease the incidence of side effects from
antibiotics is to use antibiotics less often. Reducing use "by even
a small percentage could significantly reduce the immediate and
direct risks of drug-related adverse events," the CDC study authors
Alternative, non-drug treatments can also be an
answer. Robert F. Cathcart, M.D., observed that high doses of
vitamin C substantially reduce the dosage of antibiotics needed to
treat patients. Vitamin C also specifically counters allergic
reactions. Dr. Cathcart, a practicing allergist with decades of
experience, said: "Patients seemed not to develop their first
allergic reaction to penicillin when they had taken bowel tolerance
vitamin C for several doses. Among the several thousand patients
given penicillin, two cases of brief rash were seen in patients who
had taken their first dose of penicillin along with their first dose
of vitamin C . . . Many patients find the effect of ascorbate more
satisfactory than immunizations or antihistamines and
Back in the 1950s, physicians such as William J.
McCormick, M.D., (8) and Frederick Robert Klenner, M.D., (9) found
that very high doses of vitamin C can be safely and effectively
used, by itself, as an antibiotic as well as an antiviral and
antihistamine. Dr. McCormick wrote that vitamin C is known to
"contribute to the development of antibodies and the neutralization
of toxins in the building of natural immunity to infectious
diseases. There is a very potent chemotherapeutic action of ascorbic
acid when given in massive repeated doses, 500 to 1,000 mg (hourly),
preferably intravenously or intramuscularly. When thus administered
the effect in acute infectious processes is favorably comparable to
that of the sulfonamides or the mycelial
antibiotics, but with the great advantage of complete freedom from
toxic or allergic reactions." (10)
Using more vitamin C means needing fewer
antibiotics. Using vitamin C along with antibiotics reduces their
side effects. Orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians have been
reporting this for years. (11)
The CDC has a long and lamentable history of
ignoring dangerous antibiotic side effects. And still today, CDC
demonstrates a striking disinterest in nutritional alternatives to
drugs. At their website, there is not a single word about the value
of vitamin C in reducing the need for antibiotics, or for reducing
antibiotic side effects.
A cynic might speculate that drug companies have
heavy influence at the US Centers for Disease Control.
Whatever the reason, patients are the losers.
(1) Shehab N, Patel
PR, Srinivasan A,
Budnitz DS. Emergency department visits for
antibiotic-associated adverse events. Clin
Infect Dis. 2008 Sep 15;47(6):735-43.
(3) Some examples include:
Arrigo G, D'Angelo
A. Achromycin and anaphylactic shock.
Clin. 1959 Oct;14:719-22.
Harvey HP, Solomon HJ. Acute anaphylactic shock due to
para-aminosalicylic acid. Am Rev
Tuberc. 1958 Mar;77(3):492-5.
Lythcott GI. Anaphylaxis to
viomycin. Am Rev
Tuberc. 1957 Jan;75(1):135-8.
Farber JE, Ross J, Stephens G. Antibiotic anaphylaxis.
Calif Med. 1954 Jul;81(1):9-11.
Farber JE, Ross J. Antibiotic anaphylaxis; a note on the treatment
and prevention of severe reactions to penicillin, streptomycin and
dihydrostreptomycin. Med Times. 1952 Jan;80(1):28-30.
Patterson DB. Anaphylactic shock from
chloromycetin. Northwest Med. 1950 May;49(5):352-3.
http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/community/ Accessed September
(5) Null G, Dean C, Feldman M,
Rasio D. Death by medicine.
Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2005. Vol
20, No 1, p 21-34.
http://www.doctoryourself.com/deathmed.html See also: Rabin R.
Caution about overuse of antibiotics. Newsday. Sept. 18, 2003.
(6) Egger WA. Antibiotic resistance: unnatural selection in the
office and on the farm. Wisconson
Medical Journal. Aug. 2002.
(7) Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, titration to bowel tolerance,
anascorbemia, and acute induced scurvy.
Medical Hypothesis, 1981. 7:1359-1376.
(8) Saul AW. The pioneering work of
William J. McCormick, M.D. J Orthomolecular Med, 2003.
Vol 18, No 2, p 93-96.
(9) Klenner FR. The use of vitamin C as an antibiotic. Journal of
Applied Nutrition, 1953. 6:274-278.
(10) McCormick WJ. Ascorbic acid as a chemotherapeutic agent.
Archives of Pediatrics NY, 1952. Vol. 69, No. 4, April, p 151-155.
(11) Read full text, peer-reviewed nutritional research papers, free
For more information:
Dr. F. R. Klenner's work, summarized as "The Clinical Guide to the
Use of Vitamin C," is posted in its entirety at
The complete text of Irwin Stone's book on high-dose vitamin C
therapy, "The Healing Factor," is posted for free reading at
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