Heath Ledger Death Highlights Dangers of Medications

February 6, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Heath Ledger Death Highlights Dangers of Medications
At least 100,000 Americans die every year from the expected as well as unknown side effects of toxic medications used primarily for symptom management. Another 3 million Americans require emergency room assistance to deal with injuries or severe side effects. While medical errors are a percentage of this problem, the expected side effects based on perverse “risk-benefit analysis,” Big Pharma hidden and suppressed information, along with FDA incompetence are the lions share of this problem. In the case of Heath Ledger, the dangers in the combinations of the drugs he was taking are well known – except to him.

The medical examiner tells us that Health Ledger died from a cocktail of six prescription drugs:

1. Oxycodone, a painkiller, sold as OxyContin.
2. Hydrocodone, a painkiller, sold as Vicodin.
3. Diazepam, a benzodiazepine sedative, sold as Valium.
4. Temazepam, a schedule IV benzodiazepine sedative, sold as Restoril.
5. Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication, sold as Xanax.
6. Doxylamine, a sedative over-the-counter antihistamine, commonly found in NyQuil.

Ledger was using a combination of four powerful central nervous system depressants, which caused his breathing to stop. It is unclear if he was warned of the interaction of these medications. It is unlikely that he knew that the adverse effects of these medications are cumulative with ongoing use, as the half-lives of the drugs build up in his system. Since the medical examiner found no one drug in high amounts it was not an intentional overdose. It is most likely that, like millions of Americans, he was simply trying to get a good night’s sleep – unaware that his remedies could kill him.

Millions of Americans take dangerous cocktails of drugs to manipulate symptoms and numbers on paper with little or no attention given to fixing their underlying health problems. The number of drug-induced deaths, while appalling, is undoubtedly grossly underreported. This is because the patient’s health, such as existing heart disease, old age, or cancer, is typically blamed when a death occurs while the patient is taking a medication cocktail.

It is an acknowledged fact that the incompetent FDA has almost no clue of the actual side effects of almost any medication in common use. It is an acknowledged fact that Big Pharma actively suppresses the publication of negative drug studies, especially in commonly used blockbuster medications. It is an acknowledged fact that Big Pharma widely promotes a false risk/benefit picture of its drugs in direct to consumer ads. It is an acknowledged fact that FDA management takes lucrative Big Pharma jobs after doing a “good job” at the FDA. Consumer beware – your life is at risk.


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