Daily Archives: August 4, 2012
So, I’ve been in hell for the last couple of days with head, neck and face pain that would not quit. No matter how much Panadeine Forte and self-treatment I threw at it, it persisted. I had a reflexology treatment on Wednesday with about an hour of some relief. I hid in my darkened, heated house for the whole day Thursday; and on Friday, I went to physio and hydro – still no relief (except while actually in the pool). Tried a joint – it loosened my shoulders but my face felt like it was about to explode. In the evening, I went to a shiatsu treatment. By the time I drove home with all the lights in my eyes, I was ready to die.
I looked up Sudafed PE and found that the three main ingredients are Guaifenesin, Dextromethorphan and decongestants. Hold on! I’ve seen that word somewhere – Guaifenesin?
Aah! The Guaifenesin Protocol: Dr St. Amand claimed that the drug Guaifenesin could treat FM symptoms by removing excess phosphate from the body. These deposits were believed to cause serious impediment of blood flow to these tissues, resulting in an impairment of vital cellular functions throughout the body. Naturally, if this were truly the case, it could explain the widespread pain and body-wide dysfunction that fibromyalgia patients have. Now I know absolutely nothing about this protocol (other than what I have just looked up) so I do not mean to offend those who are fans/followers with this post. I am only making personal comments from my recent experience.
The removal of the phosphate should supposedly lead to a reversal of all FM symptoms, which would essentially be as close to a cure as possible. Dr St. Amand claims that he has successfully reversed all FM symptoms in 90% of his patients. Additionally, Dr St. Amand himself claims to have had fibromyalgia, but that he has been pain-free for decades.
At the 1996, Orlando American College of Rheumatology meeting, Robert Bennett, M.D., presented the results of his one-year placebo-controlled trial of Guaifenesin. The Oregon Health and Science University professor from Portland posed the following question at the opening of his speech: “Why on earth would someone choose to study an expectorant for the treatment of fibromyalgia?” Bennett says: “The answer lies in the realm of popular demand.”
As Dr Bennett explained, the study of Guaifenesin for the treatment of FM had to do with the patient demand for this drug and the frequent claims on the Internet and elsewhere that it was a cure for FM. The proponents of this ‘cure’ often claimed Guaifenesin wasn’t for wimps! Yes, as this drug was drawing the calcium phosphate deposits out of your tissues and into your bloodstream, you would have to go through symptom flare-ups. In the long run, after cycling in and out of severe pain, Guaifenesin would rid your body of the damaging effects of these deposits. As long as you stayed on a maintenance dose of this drug, you would live out the rest of your life pain-free. What an enticement, especially for those patients who are already up to their eyeballs in pain!
The likelihood that Guaifenesin was the cure was slim, but for the benefit of patients who were dumping conventional therapies to try it, Guaifenesin needed to be tested. Dr Bennett agreed to take on the arduous task of a one-year double-blind, placebo-controlled study to get to the truth about Guaifenesin.
Twenty FM patients were placed on Guaifenesin twice a day and another 20 patients took a placebo twice daily. None of the patients knew what they were taking, but all were given the same instructions to not take salicylates (like aspirin) because they interfere with the functioning of Guaifenesin. After a year, the response to Guaifenesin was the same as that for the placebo. Now, what about the claims on the Internet and elsewhere that this study was fatally flawed because patients might have used cosmetics and other topical products that contain salicylates? Dr Bennett provided six scientifically based reasons to toss out this claim:
Lastly, Guaifenesin was not found to increase uric acid or phosphate excretions. Thus the postulated action of Guaifenesin—the reason cited for its effectiveness—could not be demonstrated.
Dr Bennett commented, “We have shown the placebo is just as effective as the placebo!”
Nonetheless, Guaifenesin, also, has a property which is not well-known by many people (including doctors), but is well documented in the medical literature. It is capable of acting as a skeletal muscle relaxant. It does this by depressing transmission of nerve impulses in the central nervous system. The reason that this information is not well-known is because Guaifenesin was a grandfathered drug, so it was never subjected to thorough testing, as later drugs had to be. And it is not used for this property, by traditional doctors, because other drugs with similar properties were found to be more effective.
Hmm, maybe Sudafed PE is the cheaper alternative to all those expensive FM drugs?
- I am not really promoting the use of decongestants or cough medicines to get Guaifenesin. There are potential side effects from various additives. I am NOT a medical practitioner and this post, although based on minimal internet research and my own personal experience, is tongue-in-cheek and should NOT be taken seriously.
- If any of my readers are actually on the Guaifenesin Protocol, perhaps they would be willing to tell us about their experience.