The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs: Episode 1 (Medical Documentary) – Real Stories

get your pills honest pharmacy we are selling pills with side-effects guaranteed my name is Chris van tulleken gastric bleeding sir I'm a doctor looking for answers to a crisis in medicine that threatens us or he can erode your stomach lining and then you bleed from your stomach and it kills a certain number of people every year every year doctors hand out over a billion prescriptions we're just prescribing more that's 15 courses of medicines for every man woman and child we got a headache 10% mom got back I heard wrong that is an overdose drugs do save lives but this growing binge on medicines is dangerous how could this ever be good for human being millions of people suffer from side effects I was waking up depressed and thousands died every year overuse of medication is one of the most serious problems that we face I believe there's another way today is the last day that you were going to take these drugs I'm going to take over part of a doctor's surgery where I'll replace the drugs by treating patients without pills from chronic pain to depression but with worried doctors stopping things can potentially be downright dangerous and patients who want the drugs I'm trying to stop most of those pills do not work at all but they painkiller persuading Britain to go cold turkey could be the hardest thing I've ever done intensely depressed about about how to make it change aha my pills thank you okay I've been a doctor for 14 years and I'm increasingly alarmed by the steep rise in prescription rates they've rocketed by over 50 percent so I've ordered bags of pills and I'm gonna try and work out how many of these things does a typical person take in a lifetime as babies we're given essential vaccines and more than likely several doses of antibiotics and then the only other thing that a well not to ten-year-old is gonna take really is drugs that reduce fever that's about 400 pills in there that's if the number of doses of drugs a well normal child gets in the first 10 years of its life all good but by the time we hit our teens it becomes utterly normal to pop pills on a regular basis 1,500 painkillers from oral contraceptives to antibiotics that's around about 4000 pills or doses so there's the second decade of your life things ramped up towards middle-age so 20 to 50 what drugs might we take and at some point it certainly wouldn't be unusual to hit a bout of depression in blackpool one in five people gets an antidepressant prescription it's a staggering number as you reach 50 you might be taking a thousand pills a year this is what we take on 2250 things really get going when we hit our 60s with a tsunami of drugs designed to prolong life just two pills a day to manage that blood pressure in the course of a lifetime a healthy person could easily consume up to a hundred thousand pills I mean this is just a staggering amount of drugs it's important to say that that some of these drugs do good they save lives they make you feel better but they can all do harm all of them that harm comes in the form of side effects from headaches to stomach bleeds in many cases they can be worse than the condition they're supposed to treat I believe we should be turning to new research that suggests that many common illnesses are best treated without drugs I wanna be today this is not some personal crusade against all medicines there are drugs that that benefit and save countless lives but modern medicine has got to a point where we treat millions of people in this country with drugs that the science says don't work very well for many people that don't work at all and they do massive amounts of harm they kill people I'm going to work when more than half of the NHS drugs budget is spent a GP surgery than instead of handing out drugs I'm going to take them away I found the nearby clinic that's willing to let me test my theory Oh chill Medical Center is in Chingford northeast London the doctors here agree that over-prescription is a serious national problem and they're keen to see what I can do about it but they aren't all convinced that I'll find answers by taking patients off their drugs I guess the worst-case scenario would be somebody died the notion that Chris is going to come in and just completely take people off drugs and then happily manage them without these things I think is ludicrous it would be lovely to see if he could do it I don't think it's gonna be a walk in the park it's great great I'm here best at work new school hi the staff have gathered to hear my plans thank you very much for making the time to see us today so I guess what I want to do is set up a clinic within this practice where I will attempt with guidance and advice to stop people's prescriptions it's quite a risky idea what is your instinct about this as a problem as a thing that needs addressing are you optimistic it was for everyone's very pokerface to have a fail so the principle behind it you know I don't think you're going to have anyone in the practice that turns around and says you know I think that's a bad idea oh great a bit of me was thinking some of you might just think I'm mad I mean I've read great it's going to take a while to convince them that I know what I'm doing so I'm not a cheap II being a GP as it is a highly skilled medical specialist am ready and I can't just turn up and do it unsupervised so I've been given a mentor or called cam who I'm about to meet and it's it's a bit like going back to medical school so doctor cam Sarah is one of the practice partners tamp hi hi I'm Chris thanks very much for looking after me in advance um what do you think of my plan I would love for you to find some alternatives that are safe that a viable that we can carry through but I am quite skeptical I think it's worth it go I guess that's that's where I'm left is she in any pain this is a busy practice with 14,000 patients and 15 full-time doctors last year they handed out nearly 200,000 prescriptions I'm hoping to help them cut the amount of drugs they give out and make changes that could be taken up across the country so we only have 10 minutes per patients and in that time you know we're trying to address their the concerns that they've come in with so it's quite a lot to be able to manage intent in ten minutes kam has suggested I start by watching him treat patients so I can see the problem for myself hi gout is a type of arthritis that causes attacks of severe joint pain the medication used to treat it can cause ulcers and in extreme cases stomach bleeds so we'll give you some naproxen yeah which is twice a day which makes it easier for you when you're working and we'll give you one stomach protection tablet Cheers thanks do you think you could have avoided giving him those two pills well he's a builder he's on his feet all day doing you know heavy lifting I think he needed those tablets it's pretty hard to argue with that absolutely and those drugs were dispensed in just about the most responsible way I can imagine I'm Chris okay good have a seat dizzy pills again I can't wake up in the mornings probably makes me sick how often you vomited every time I'm due in just 10 minutes cam must examine the patient find out what's wrong decide the treatment to give and discuss it with them all before the next patient arrives that's for a couple of months okay and hopefully it should improve Thanks so so do you think that giving him drugs was the right thing to do I mean he's vomiting on a you know on a weekly basis and that's not gonna be healthy so this for me something that's gonna actually make him feel better is an easy medicine to be giving as the day passes I notice a pattern for now we will give you some treatment some antibiotics or treatments so more drugs can yeah more drugs if we don't treat him you could die we're trying to nip it in the bud really put a serious ear pain so we're going to give you some spray steroids and that's about it every single person walked out of here with the prescription virtually is that right when you're there in front of someone you can you can cite all the evidence you like this to learns that they're still in pain for example he's trying to have to manage that and it's very difficult to say well the evidence suggests that we don't treat you for this and so we're not going to give you we're gonna carry on you're gonna carry on in pain no one could deny that he is a superb doctor and yet he's your 40 patients and he dealt out 39 prescriptions when you look at each one of those decisions it feels like well yeah that's a coward do the same thing but but when you look at that big picture of everyone who comes in walks out with drugs that can't be a good thing I can't quite put my finger on what's going wrong to find out I'm meeting one of Britain's most senior doctors it's very nice to see so mu Grey used to be chief knowledge officer for the NHS overuse of medication is one of the most serious problems that we face in healthcare in every developed country how have we got to a point where we have too much medicine how has it all happened we've got these 40,000 doctors sitting in a room with 10 minutes to get closure we've got patients who have we've led to believe that the solution is a prescription and we I've got nothing else to offer them so surprise surprise how do we finish off the consultation the pressure is terrific to finish the consultation with the prescription and therefore we need a revolution we need to change the way we think I need to change the way we do things warning warning I'm going to start my revolution by helping patients who've become victims of the system the surgery soon finds someone that they hope I can help Wendy crystal I can have a seat there just feels like my whole shoulder on my arms it was that pins and needles in my hand I can't pick anything out great it hurts Wendy's been taking painkillers for the past 20 years to deal with chronic pain in her shoulder and back sought here pain despite physiotherapy and referrals to specialists her doctors still can't figure out what's wrong okay she's now being prescribed increasingly powerful drugs what helps is anything help it it's it it's a highly addictive I really baked its the problem is you have to take more and more and more and more for to get that same effect and it becomes extremely toxic and then when you stop taking it it's really dangerous consuming these drugs long-term could be causing Wendy real harm it's very nice to see okay we'll be in touch I want to help her find another way prescriptions for painkillers have shot up by nearly 50 percent in the last decade there now some of Britain's most commonly used drugs when is the normal right she's taking stuff that's mainly over-the-counter it's available to all of us and it's the stuff we all take a huge amount of and for the most part doesn't work very well a recent review of research into over-the-counter painkillers found many only work about half the time I wonder if the painkillers are really working for Wendy to find out more I'm abandoning the usual ten-minute appointment and making an old-fashioned home visit thank you for having me and who these guys boo hi boo Wendy lives with her husband Alan and her daughter Jade I want to go straight to your drugs cabinet you've been often on painkillers for 20 years this yeah the last two years nearly if we die I've been taking painkillers it's never really gone are you in a worse state now than you were 20 years ago I'm definitely worth now and I was definitely right so to talk about the drugs where where are the drugs okay so I've got my tablets in here if you want to see them I'll get it all help come on this is the cupboard of shame codes mom Wendy takes a daily cocktail of three different painkillers paracetamol ibuprofen and codeine they're supposed to work by interfering with pain messages sent to the brain can we lay it out do you mind if I pop out for the whole day pop out the pills that you would have okay taking a cocktail of painkillers like Wendy does every day can produce more of an effect but in cases where they don't work patients can end up taking bigger and bigger doses and now we've laid it out what do you think I know I did things myself especially in the volume and I'll take that one as well and I was thinking oh my god this is a lot of pills I'm taking when when you do take all of them and you're hurt because you're having a bad day I just does all the pain go away are you completely better no basically so ease it off and then I know it's four hours later I'm out that's like him again okay man the doctor talking nothing are you sucking that money daily ass anywhere not got a really bad back but then I've never seen you without a bad back you never walk through that door so my back feels better your whatever Johnny cover that door it's my bomber backs really bad because I need to have some public no I'll take them if you fire that I'm sometimes you told me don't worry about four hours free are you taking that amount no way no I didn't know you take it I didn't we liked you I thought you've taken one pill a toast I must be honest I was taking free of them oh my lord really oh sorry I thought you meant you were actually only taking them three times a day what do you mean is you were taking three four times a day that is an overdose I'm worried about Wendy's excessive drug use and I want her to understand the dangers so ibuprofen tank damage your kidneys especially the notice you're having it the proceeds molecules damage your liver so if you hurt your liver we can't do anything you either get a transplant or you die so the number one cause of acute liver injury in this country it's paracetamol overdose okay the other thing I think would really like to try and do to you is prove to you that the drugs don't work they're painkillers so they must work I gave it to the pain there's much pain I believe them all without no I mean more pain we said not me my knees will want disputing I don't think the painkillers as much relief is what you're saying or thinking they are okay dr. Allen no I'm just fine would you be willing to let me just take away all the drugs if I can have another solution and get rid of the pain then I'll be happy to do that when was the last time you went and saw a physio and did some exercises to help you shelter I'm normally do like I sort of a few stretches and whatever and then you just forget about it and go no how many times you you come in this house seem mundane any exercises for a bet I do them in the bed the truth no you're not here this morning how many acts did you do exercises for your bad shoulder no yesterday did you do exercises no I must admit No she's done bugger all other than take pills that's what I think she's done nothing she spent a huge amount on people poking and prodding and making that pain worse and she needs to do some graft some exercise I think and the other thing is those painkillers don't work I thought or maybe they did those painkillers do not work I just need to think of a clever way to convince her to stop taking them Wendy's pill habit is one part of a bigger problem in my day job I'm an infection doctor and a scientist and I'm now facing the most terrifying consequence of our pill-popping culture antibiotic resistance bite overusing antibiotics we generate antibiotic resistance which spells the end of life as we know on this planet as a doomsday scenario their vital for treating and preventing bacterial infections without them many medical procedures simply won't be possible but we've prescribed them so much that the bacteria they should kill have evolved to resist them people don't quite get this if we run out of antibiotics it's not that we can no longer treat your you know infected finger it's that we can't do any more bone surgery we can't treat cancer we can't run a hospital you can't have an intensive care unit you can't do anything drug-resistant infections are becoming increasingly common in hospitals unless we cut antibiotic use and slow the spread of these new superbugs it's estimated they'll kill 10 million people a year by 2050 I'm calling from Churchill Medical Center one of our patients less written to a sorry Catherine Eve it was amazing yeah free Sam she's here in two months and do you want to come to the fine I've discovered this practice has one of the highest antibiotic prescription rates in the area I've asked for a meeting to discuss what we can do about it I guess this is the the first time I've spoken to them and I feel like I'm going to fairly bluntly criticize I think that's really uncomfortable but I guess I do have the authority that I am the infection dr. Phil have a seat grab a sandwich so of the 45 practices you are the ninth biggest prescriber in in the local area I guess that begs the question why I don't think we've got anybody who is very cavalier with that prescriber I'd say 99.9% of the time they are appropriate prescriptions I do come from a position where I think we do over in general overuse antibiotics we probably under report side effects and resistance is such an enormous problem that we should we should take every step we can it's all very nice sitting in front and saying you give too many antibiotics I challenge you to come and sit with me in surgery see the patients and see what you can do and yeah try and resist all right great I mean how hard can it be this morning I'm taking cam up on his challenge nine out of ten GPS feel pressurized to prescribe antibiotics I want to see if I'll be able to resist there's my first day as a GP and and it's it's very nerve-wracking because of gossip you know GP today I'll be the doctor in charge and cam will be in the room in case I need help I think coming in with his own agenda than what he will really find difficult is patients have their own agenda and when those clash then that doesn't lead to a good outcome really know what I'm not ready am I ready I'm not ready at all you've done clinics here we go okay why am i said watch my mouth try my palms sweat seeds okay have we called him Nick Cannes was that what's what's up today why have you come to see me well I've Adem the sore throat and you felt weak what do you feel you would like out of today's consultation and spiciest to just completely go yeah okay antibiotics only work with bacterial infections but they can be given unnecessarily to patients suffering from viral infections isn't around but there's no pus there this patient appears to have a virus which should clear up by itself I mean I think you are just gonna get better this can be self-limiting and in your case antibiotics might cause more problems than now they'll solve yeah you start all right with you yeah if you think I know you're better on my own then great okay very nice to see it's my first success and I'm feeling quite smug you know I mean that was very simple simple case someone came in with a sore throat and he was very amenable and I'm sure the next one is not as easy harder what's up okay well basically I've had an ongoing program with my tie it's gonna need reoperation so what would you do give a course of antibiotics what would you do well okay doesn't he have birthdays even with many bacterial infections patients get better over time without drugs well I guess I I would wonder if this is actually gonna go away with that device very well you've got a lot of pus there would I would I hold it antibiotics which I stopped my placement as a student this is no way so we'll prescribe some antibiotics perhaps I should have held out but the antibiotics may prevent serious complications say ah and when this mom wants antibiotics to help her child recover in time for exams some bacterial infections can kill if not treated and without a test to be certain it's not bacterial I prescribed antibiotics just to be safe so we'll give some a drops to have there is your prescription the ways I'm literally talking to myself with it you know me really bad it's the end of the day and I come across a patient that I'm reasonably confident doesn't need a prescription there are risks with antibiotics I do need them that's the way I look at it but to just walk out with nothing 97% of patients in the UK who asked for antibiotics are prescribed them unless you're certain the infections not bacterial it's the safest thing to do I did not want to give him yeah the course of antibiotics okay and I gave him a course of antibiotics and I would definitely would have stepped in if you had said no someone with so many other medical problems I would really be keen not to let them get any worse yeah so that's what we're really that you know that type of patient is what you're really trying to deal with it's been a difficult day I feel I'm kind of all at once in awe of what has to be done in a day and can Barry mind is still in there doing his stuff and intensely depressed about about how to make it change this drug problem can't be solved by just saying no I'm going to have to think of a different approach can you do 3:30 I found another patient Sarah isn't registered at this practice but she's heard about my work here and wants my help to come off her meds Sarah she's 24 and she's one of over five million people in this country who take antidepressants I've always just felt very low and very depressed and very uptight and then when I got to 16 I went to the doctors know what my self diagnose a depression and I got put on medication for my age and to kind of try and over myself back why do you want to stop your pills and I feel like they mask everything but they're not getting to any root of any problem they're not really resolving anything long-term okay what happens when you try to stop them I have really really bad downs okay I don't really see any other way of stopping the down spot you know making the answer depressants it's thought that antidepressants alter levels of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters which can influence mood have you ever read this okay very common side effects headache trembling dizziness palpitations nausea dry mouth constipation they are powerful drugs and in ideal circumstances would only be used short-term they perk you up they get you through the crisis the grief and then you can come off them and rebuild your life it's not the way they're being used in you've been on antidepressants now for eight years well it is not it's completely gone here yeah I feel like so many other people in Britain but I don't think there's any evidence that these drugs are making you better no these drugs can help people but between 2005 and 2012 the number of young people prescribed them went up by over 50% there is something about giving antidepressants to a 16 year old that makes me uneasy not not that it should never be done but talking to Sarah it feels like you know 16 you're developing you're learning skills to cope with problems and this was a time in her life where she could have been learning that and instead she was put into what she describes as a chemical fog I'm on my way to see Sara at home to find out how I can help her come off the drugs hi how are you I guess one of the reasons to come round is is there all kinds of clues that you get about someone from from nosing around their house that you can never get no matter how long we sit in their doctor surgery for if there's anything you're really ashamed of that is the thing I most want to see go for it go for it you need you're in charge of the curtain TV yeah I'm you know it's really it's it's sort of its diagnostic of low mood having a room like this and if you didn't have a low mood then living like this gives you a low mood because it's so stressful a lot of the clutter belongs to her dead brother Ben both Ben and her father suffered from depression they died within a few years of each other my dad was an accidental suicide okay and was my brother he was a highly addicted to drugs and passed away last year everywhere I look I see signs of a woman who's put her life on hold apart from Evie's room when she was first born and when I found out I was pregnant with her I was that's when I started to feel like actually yeah I can do this because I need to do this I've got somebody that needs me to be strong are you gonna be the center of everything I am Sarah doesn't want Evie to see her taking antidepressant yes all live with amok who's depressed and I really want to help her find a way out okay so what about stuff you used to do like sport um hobbies I used to look in swimming and I used to be a good runner yeah I've kind of given up some hobbies well cause when I saw so much to me a few weeks back for her was thought so me did a bunch of lengths worth nothing good for a run yes Sarah I think is someone who is tough resilient used to love things that are physical is really social so I think a treatment for her is going to encompass all those things it's gonna be challenging it's gonna be outdoors it's gonna be physical and she still smoking if this works I'm hoping she can give up her antidepressants I'm back in Chingford I've come up with a way to try to convince Wendy to stop taking her painkillers we've arrived at Wendy's and I've got a little test as far as I'm aware no ones have really done before to find out if any of Wendy's pain killers who maybe they work brilliantly well maybe I'm totally wrong I've got a way of finding out and everyone's going to agree that it's worth a go okay I'll be honest from everything that you've spoken to me about from all your stories I don't think your painkillers are working so I want to do a test to find out if they are working okay I've worked out this test with the help of Wendy's doctors these are your pills for the next two weeks okay which ones are rich so in that blue tablet is a single codeine pill of 15 milligrams okay in each of those red tablets is half a gram of purses okay okay there is a twist with these tablets I've laid out that some of these tablets don't contain any medicine and you don't know okay which ones are real and which ones aren't real okay okay Bob oh no cuz I'll be in pain well we'll see won't we that's the point and I'm gonna get you to keep pain chart okay Wendy we'll use this to record her pain levels over the next fortnight I want to see if she notices the days when she's taking tablets without any drugs but the only way of knowing if this these painkillers work for you is to do this okay that's fine are you happy to do it yeah so the main thing I need to do now is take away all your other painkillers Oh barf I have a headache well you got a headache best treatment big glass water yes okay okay to make sure she doesn't take more than the prescribed dose all the painkillers in the house must go oh it's gonna be interesting I'm sure they'd load of titanium thing so I'll be fine is this it no this some more coming okay from the upstairs are you sure they're all these are all ya think might be my heel and remember this is what you want yeah giving Kansas there was 14 days toxic side effects in a bag not in a patient Paulson Capulet certainly do you know my cup thing well I mean that's such a pill food he only was it approved a I'm off to Portsmouth I've heard about new research being done there that might help Sara come off her pills but it's extreme this is the one thing I'm doing with a patient where I think my colleagues who are psychiatrists will turn around and go what are you doing you're a lunatic this is barbaric I want to take her swimming in water so cold that it could kill you from shock this is the thing I do know when I do it especially if I'm feeling a bit low my god is a pepper but so then when I looked into the science more like all the a mate who supervises this activity regularly he said no there's some evidence there's some evidence it helps with anxiety depression so that nail before I try this on Sara I'm going to visit my colleague to learn a bit more amid see Mike Lipton professor Mike Tipton is a world expert on the effect of cold water on the human body he's going to demonstrate why it might be helpful for Sarah essentially what we're going to do is demonstrate a cold shock response the most dangerous of all of the responses associated with immersion in cold water if you go through get changed and then we'll get you wired up and ready to go just need to push yourself back with your feet there three-two-one Mike's team have discovered that our bodies respond to cold water in a similar way to an anxiety attack as the skin cools down rapidly the body enters a state of shock flooding the blood with stress hormones it's a big stress response one of the biggest stresses you can put the body under do you see why we called it the cold shock response it's a shocking response deeply shocking yeah this chemical surge can leave swimmers feeling euphoric once it's passed it is exhilarating you're now experiencing what every open-water wild swimmer says it's just great because it's that's that skin stimulation releases adrenaline and gets you you know all your stress hormones shoot up and it's it's kind of exhilarated is kind of exhilarating yeah hey but there is another potential benefit for Sarah the evidence shows that repeated exposure to cold water conditions the body to deal with the stress response I'm hoping that this conditioning will help her respond better to the stresses in her life associated with her anxiety and depression I'm gonna go to a man-made lake just keep wild swimming America sounds good to me you have your bailout excited but scared but yeah I know it's gonna help say I trust I'm still very nervous now I'm so nervous about if this works I think she'll be ready to start coming off her pills but it will be a challenge here we are it's really really picture the lake is cold and winter has only just ended what do you think you are for this I'm after this I've asked mark and Heather cold water swimmers to come and support Sarah oh this okay leave me excellent the therapy seems to be what amazing as well as the euphoric boost swimming regularly will give Sara exercise which is recommended as an alternative treatment for depression by the IHS it's still a bit odd to me that we did four legs in there yeah we rescued yeah so over the next four weeks I'm gonna say I want you to go swimming six times okay or not not massive and and the final things we need to start tapering your antidepressants you've made an appointment to see your GP to do that okay good all right let's go home I think sarah is now ready to be slowly weaned off her antidepressants she's beginning to see that there are other ways to treat medical problems than just pills I wonder if that message will get through to Wendy and I must say my all my my family had headache the whole weekend and they were like there was no pills to take they've got me got no pills got no pills and I was like wow this is where I think there was nothing in them Wendy's committed herself to the experiment I devised to see if her painkillers are really working spent two weeks marking a chart I've given her to record her pain levels about her smoking by saying my neck is screaming so I don't think there's anything in them tablets I think you should tap it is I just took an evening with acebos stay fifteen last day of the trial and will be worried that dr. Chris comes around is gonna so just taking into the psycho taking em hopefully that won't be the case if this proves when these drugs aren't working it means she's been wasting her time and money on them for the past 20 years we're gonna join the dots we all will be revealed this I'm cautiously optimistic we brought a bottle of wine it's very very nice seeing you yes so um I guess what I want to know is how has it been going last few nice good and I'm not been in a lot of pain have you got your pill box yeah you've written a little note in here what does that say but the rest thing we feel there probably was something in them yeah can I draw the graph before I tell Wendy what's in the pills I want to fill in her paint chart the higher the dot the more pain she's in it's not easy to join these dots with because your pain is really variable so why don't we draw on this what we've done with your pills so the red is your paracetamol we reduced Wendy's dose of paracetamol over the first week so she's had no paracetamol at all for ten days it's been ten days since you had a single gram of paracetamol your phone was quite low that phone here's what we've done with your codeine okay you were a hundred percent of codeine we kept Wendy it's her full dose of codeine for the first week and then reduced it gradually so she's had no codeine at all for the last five days died I've had no paracetamol codeine no and yesterday you didn't have any and the day before that he didn't have any you lost had a painkiller on Monday morning you had one car that was it that was the last painkiller you had so the pills that you have been wolfing I think what I was really genuinely terrified about is I would see your pain down here getting worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and there is no way I can see that on that graph I'm so happy it's a perfect demonstration for Wendy that drugs aren't treating her pain the road to salvation with that shoulder will be in exercising it and strengthen it well I'm never buying any privacy in mall again so the kids can go swinging for [Applause] so it's good but the battle is only half won because Wendy does happy and I don't think it would take all that much before she went in a while maybe I'll go back and try those naproxen all those near Faneuil my competitor Amidala she have another goal and so I have to prove to her fairly quickly that exercise and strength building is gonna get a fix happen Wendy's attitude to her medications changed when I proved to her that they weren't working he'd need to come in himself to register and that's given me an idea that may help cut antibiotic prescriptions at the surgery after all I failed to show how it can be done by taking a clinic myself in general practice is really hard to tell the difference between a bacterial infection and a viral infection foreign infections don't need antibiotics but bacterial infections if you miss them and you don't prescribe antibiotics patients can die doctors can get sued it's really bad news the other difficulty I had was persuading patients that they didn't lead them today I've brought along something to solve both these problems so this brings the hospital laboratory to the GP bed Sultan patient's bedside this machine will help me decide if they have a bacterial infection or not come on I'm hoping it will help cut the surgeries prescription rates today hi you think very dirty this machine works by measuring inflammation markers in the blood a result of over 20 means the infection is more likely to be bacterial CRP of 65 I think you might be getting some ass fired well not an ideal start but at least she needs them ty do you want to come in it's quite a gang did you want antibiotics this is a test to see how bad your chest infection is as well as reassuring worried patients they're getting the right care it will also give doctors peace of mind see I'd be less than five I would say on the basis of this result you you will only be harmed by antibiotics that's one course of needless antibiotics avoided because what you have to do now is wait okay so you're just gonna get better slowly but none of my patients will leave empty-handed you can have a book a DVD honey lemon that's your prescription what's your name Jake Howell d12 all right I am gonna give you a prescription today you're gonna get a lemon you're gonna get some honey and the James Bond film spawned an x take three days off train there's your prescription with a dose of the 22 antibiotic prescriptions written out that day my machine and I managed to stop took a reduction of nearly ten percent and if we did that every day of the year if we did that across the country that is a massive reduction in the number of antibiotics so I guess it's not for me to say the practice should take this up but I think I think there is room for this I've arranged a meeting with the partners to see if they're interested in the machine the machine is somewhere about between 700 and 800 pounds is 4 pounds 50 a test is this a thing that you think you'd be interested in so first of all visit the cost of the Machine and who's paying for it there's an also the cost of yeah someone to either to run the machine or the cost of our time doing those tests we're never going to be in the position where at our fingertips we have every test that we may wish to have the problem here is the doctors simply don't have the time or money to run even simple tests like this if I'm gonna make any changes here it has to be seamless it has to be things that do not take any time and it seems trivial like oh it's global catastrophe you can do your best and they're like we're already doing our bit we already prescribed carefully and you know like hell we're gonna use your machine and run even later than we already are when did you know exercises in very limited space invention it's taken a while to convince Wendy to give up her painkillers she's now trying a program of exercises to strengthen her back to see if it will help with the pain I mean when I last saw Wendy hi caraway all her drugs that I I'd confiscated so I hope she hasn't had a wobble none of you people – Wendy wait there she is hi Wendy how's the back expect it's better if I'm not in I'm not in pain like I was before so that is what no one has ever told you is that exercise is a painkiller but almost everything whether you've got knee pain or hip pain or back pain or neck pain even if you've got a headache exercise is a painkiller so for me to not take any drugs or contacts you believe it myself but don't even take him for a headache now I'm take anything it's home I feel like I am leaving you in quite a good State okay well it's our last consultation have a hug oh no no no you've totally inspired me you've totally you have literally cheers Wendy by interesting journey they're really really happening I don't take any drugs at all I'm exercising every other night and I think I'm going to get better I think for 20 years when he took drugs that totally distracted her and everyone else from finding the actual cause of the pain what amazing place we've got to with healing and medicine that we just go take these and take these pills wendy is the clearest example of the madness of the way we do this I'm beginning to make sense of the madness Wendy's now off her drugs and I'm hoping Sarah will soon start coming off the antidepressants I'm more convinced than ever that drug free treatments can work better than the pills next I'm going to supersize my experiment to take as many patients as possible off drugs keep up everyone come on I try to get a group of patients at risk of a heart attack off their medication this is a disaster I take on the pharmaceutical industry this is a multi multi-billion dollar industry I don't know how we come up and I discovered just how hard it is to treat people without drugs but you need to make these swings like doctor's appointment

20 thoughts on “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs: Episode 1 (Medical Documentary) – Real Stories

  1. He is like the Gordon Ramsay of the medical field, for a bit I though he was gonna take wendys pill boxes and throw them against the wall and scream "you don't bloody f*&^% need these, comon people".

  2. Stating the bleeding obvious


    Drugs were originally invented for very sick folks

    Were not produced industrially

    Didn't have endless supply

    Were supposed to be taken for a short period of time

    Were taken by relatively active folks

    Who had to be active again after recovering

    The modern humans who think they can substitute activity and good diet by relatively cheap drugs

    Are putting themselves in a horrible vicious cycle of prolonged misery

    Now they have longer lifespans (total number of years they breathe)

    And shorter healthspans (total number of years they stay healthy, strong, and without drug dependency)


  3. Medicines do serve a purpose and it isn't safe to completely shunt them, I myself absolutely will not take meds until its absolutely necessary.

  4. Wow. You guys from the first world countries take a lot of drugs. I'm shocked. I can go a whole year without a single drug,

  5. “Thousands die every year” yeah but millions used to die in medieval times when the only medicine they had was leeches lol, we’re blessed to live in the age of pain killers and medication

  6. Yeah I don't agree. If a drug is used when its side effects are worst than the condition it's supposed to treat, it only means the doctor who prescribed it did a mistake and didn't respect the benefit/risk ratio. In other cases, many drugs have very good efficiency and for those who have small efficiency (a small positive effect), well it's still better than nothing, it ain't like if we had any better alternative. And at least drugs are non-invasive unlike other treatments like surgery who can do A LOT of harm.

  7. The pharmaceutical industry has been given credit for something they had nothing to do with,longer life's. Soap and doctor assisted child birth added the bulk of years to our lives, sure chemistry played a small roll but not the roll big pharma wants us to believe

  8. @14:17 minutes the blond lady has pain in her back since 20 years! Maybe she just need to do exercise for her back!!!!!!!! Because she seem to do work office. stay sit make muscles lazy.

  9. Drs just want to spend 10 min with you and prescribe you drugs in which they take some commissions (profits) from pharma companies for each drugs. Then they go home with a good day's income and good pension retirement after 65 old. They don't care about you if you'll have side effects or die by drugs consumption.

  10. Again ! we choose to ignore the ugly truth ! the fact that mankind is a mistake of nature and must terminate! grugs or no drugs ,this disease called humanity must vanish!

  11. These are the kind of doctors who "commit suicide," "drown," vanish," or are murdered without an investigation.

  12. Even if there are a couple of drugs that can save lives, there are natural cures that would do the same job, without the side effects.

  13. Doctors nearly killed me with their medication. I had never taken long term drugs, but they all add up. NHS doctors don't listen to their patients on the whole, even belittling and ignoring any clues that might help them diagnose properly. I've been repairing my system with probiotics after too many courses of antibiotics and ridiculously strong nasal steroids that I was told were the only things that would work. This was seriously untrue as a saline nasal spray is doing a better job. They are making people sicker. I'll be staying well away from them unless in dire need in the future.

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