Cardura and Me

I spotted an article in the NYT online today, The Evidence Gap: The Minimal Impact of a Big Hypertension Study which at first I thought I’d bypass but then decided, what the heck, I’ll read it. Toward the end of the first page I suddenly came across mention of my least favorite medication, Cardura.

The article is about a massive hypertension study called ALLHAT, short for Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial.

The purpose of the ALLHAT was to compare four drugs for effectiveness on people over age 55, a diuretic called chlorthalidone; an ACE inhibitor called lisinopril; a calcium channel blocker called amlodipine; and an alpha blocker called doxazosin, which Pfizer sold as Cardura.

Ah, there’s my old “friend”, Cardura — who was supposed to keep me from peeing in the night but instead knocked me out cold — as part of a big study. What did they find out about it?, I wondered.

Well. I didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Here’s the very next paragraph in the article:
Pfizer’s bet on Cardura proved a big mistake. As the Allhat data came in, patients taking Cardura were nearly twice as likely as those receiving the diuretic to require hospitalization for heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood adequately. Concerned, the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute announced in March 2000 that it had stopped the Cardura part of the trial. Ha ha. Cardura went out in 2000 and yet I take it in 2008. Amazing!

Perhaps the reason I took that Cardura pill on November 1, 2008, was that Pfizer didn’t like losing its bet on Cardura and fought back like a giant corporation. They managed to defeat a lawsuit by two patients who then went the route of a Citizen Petition. Read all about it here.

The Citizen Petition brought the FDA into the fray, a year after the original findings of the ALLHAT. Some of the outside experts at the FDA meeting claimed the ALLHAT data were not accurate while other experts disagreed. The FDA considered the net result a wash, and so, no warning was issued to doctors and patients about Cardura.

Well, I’d like to issue my own warning!

Here ye! Here ye! Here ye! I, Marden H. Seavey, issue my own warning about the dangerous medication Cardura. It caused me to faint and crash on our bathroom floor injuring my back and rib cage musculature, and I’m still sore a month later.

Worse, the little 2mg Cardura pill lowered my heart rate into the 30’s which worried the doctors at the hospital until the rate finally recovered. This was about eight hours after I had passed out. A cardiovascular specialist has given me thoroughgoing tests (echo cardiogram and Holter monitor for 24 hours), and now declares I don’t have to see him for a year.

His warning to me: Just don’t take Cardura!

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  1. Steve Hayes’s avatar

    What was that agout iatrogenic illnesses again?

  2. debi’s avatar

    Scary!!! This is why I take my dog to a holistic vet on the opposite side of the island! Worth the drive and every penny, IMHO.

  3. Dragonstar’s avatar

    The main question should be “Why did the doc prescribe it for you?”
    Never trust the drug companies, they’re in it for the money.

  4. Aileni Noyle’s avatar

    There you are – go to a vet. The service is better and you don’t need to speak.

  5. Mardé’s avatar

    Steve, I had to look up iatrogenic. Cardura is a good example of an iatrogenic medication? Or better, the urologist who prescribed it could be perhaps called an iatrogenic urologist? I’ll be seeing him tomorrow. hmmmm

    Debi, perhaps I could find a holistic urologist somewhere? Or is that a contradiction in terms?

    Good question, Dragonstar! I think I’ll ask the urologist if he’s ever heard of the ALLHAT study, and if so, why did he prescribe that pill for me.

    Yes, Alieni, perhaps it’s better to keep one’s mouth shut. Especially if a medication is being forced on one! 😉

  6. Zhu’s avatar

    Ouch, that’s scary!

    I heard about way too many drugs’ dangerous side-effects or recall these last few years…

  7. debi’s avatar

    If you look for one for a second opinion, it’s called “alternative” medicine. You know…Chinese herbs, accupuncture…methods that won’t kill you that’s been used for centuries. Sure the “western” practicioners will say that the “alternative” methods are not proven safe by the FDA, but (AHEM!!!!!!)

    Nowdays accupuncture is used to treat all kinds of things from headaches to fertility problems.

    I know when I asked the vet we used to go to, he tried to talk me out of taking her for the accupuncture. In the end, it didn’t help her to walk, but I had faith in it and needed to at least try.

    And yes, if you went to a vet, and you’re a good boy, you might even get a cookie!

  8. geologyjoe’s avatar

    our society has become too oriented towards ‘magic pills’.

    my dad-inlaw lowered his cholesterol by a huge amount just by changing his diet to include more nuts, fish and flax seed oil and less red meat. he didn’t even add exercise.

  9. Mardé’s avatar

    Yes, it’s very scary, Zhu. Too many drugs chasing too many people!

    Right, Debi, alternative medicine certainly has its place, and it’s amazing how the Chinese have used acupuncture for millennia. Too bad I don’t have a dog, or even a cat. I had a great cat, named Tibby, while growing up, and the last cat I had was named Socks by my daughter Kate. Socks would roll over when I commanded it. Just needed to snap my fingers at him.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right, Joe. Too many magic pills pushed by too many big pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer. I try to avoid red meat and do like nuts and fish, also turkey!

  10. SleepyLaKate’s avatar

    OOh, those nasty nasty drug companies.

    I have encouraged Zee Dad to explore the holistic route for a few years now. How many times have I said to try taking Flax Seed Oil? Many.

    But I think zee Dad is a scientist and perhaps doesn’t quite believe? I don’t know.

    However, zee Mom is very aware of healthy eating and I can insure the blogger readers that he eats very well. No salt, seafood more than once a week, and always home cooked. Right Dad? 😆 Have I said too much?

  11. debi’s avatar

    make him a delish batch of Flax Seed Oil Smoothie! Throw in a couple blueberries for antioxidants. 😛

  12. Mardé’s avatar

    Hey, that does sound good, Debi. I love blueberries, but it’s not the season. Ya sure I wouldn’t choke on a Flax Seed Oil Smoothie, though? Sounds strong. But the blueberries might make it palatable. Perhaps I will try it.

    Naww, you haven’t said too much, Kate. Zee Mom always has things prepared just right and in payment for her good work I always clean up afterwords and do the dishes.

  13. debi’s avatar

    What a good boy! Definetely on Santa’s “good” list! :mrgreen:

  14. 2e’s avatar

    It’s always the season for blueberries. I have a serving of Wyman’s frozen wild blueberries almost every day.

    Glad you survived the fall, 1e – guess that’s becuz you keep so young with all your activities.


  15. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks, Debi! Yes, I try to stay good re the wife, and keep building those wife points which if I’m not careful I could squander in an instant! :sad:

    Hey, 2e! Thanks fer yer comment! Up here in the boonies I hope we could find Wyman’s frozen wild blueberries. But it looks like I have no excuse now for not trying a Flax Seed Oil Smoothie laced with wild blueberries.

    Well, 2e, the fall still is putting a crink (sp?) in me. Last night I got sore again, but it’s slowly working its way out. Now! If I were as young as you are, 2e, I’d be fit as a fiddle by now.

  16. 2e’s avatar

    Y’know – I’ve been having physical therapy for neck pain. Do they have physical therapists up there in the backwoods? I’ve also been taking an anti-inflammatory that I think is helping – diclofenac. Haven’t noticed any odd side effects yet.

  17. Mardé’s avatar

    Diclofenatic? I’d be careful of that, 2e. Sounds kinda fanatic? But there are physical therapists up here. There’s one by the name of Kate Smith who ran for state rep last year and lost. She does her therapy at the Bridgton hospital. Of course many people up here live “off the grid” and do physical therapy on themselves. It’s easier than driving to the big town of Bridgton fer some folks. YeeeeeeeHaw! 😆


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