Shingles Facts and Shenanigans, Part 2 of 2

In part one of my shingles discussion, I describe my concern about drug companies marketing a vaccination for shingles. It’s up to you to decide if you should be super concerned about shingles. I am not. It’s painful, but usually resolves on its own in several weeks. My greater concern is that people who have been vaccinated might be unknowingly spreading shingles to their friends and co-workers. If that is the case, then the drug companies will certainly win a double bonus; they can then get you on Neurontin (also known as Gabapentin) for your shingles pain.

Neurontin was approved by the FDA in 1993 as an epilepsy medication. Other off-label uses have popped up since then, so it is not uncommon for me to find out my patients have been prescribed Neurontin for back pain or fibromyalgia. Now it is being marketed by Pfizer for shingles pain.

Here are some comments from patients using Neurontin from the website Ask A “I am in a living hell,” “muddle-brained and impatient,” ‘hard to keep balance and judgement,” “memory loss, spacey,” “hearing voices,” “snapping at my loved ones,” and “homicidal, suicidal thoughts.” Below is a graph citing the top adverse Neurontin events reported to the FDA:

Clearly, clinical trials performed to get Neurontin on the market do not tell the whole story. It can cause death. So far, 590 people actually did complete their suicide attempts after taking this drug (see full article at Doctors and patients alike should understand the possible side effects of drugs like this. Shingles is not life-threatening, so why do some doctors prescribe a life-threatening drug to cope with it? Ditto for prescribing Neurontin for fibromyalgia or back pain.

Let’s all wake up and smell the coffee here. People in the United States take a staggering amount of prescription medication compared to other people on the planet. You know, chiropractors have been helping people with shingles since 1895. Ask me how I can help.

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