Death of Glenn Frey Highlights Concern about Rheumatology

By Justin Penoyer
January 24th, 2016

The unfortunate passing of Glenn Frey has been blamed partly on the drugs he took to combat rheumatoid arthritis. These pharmaceuticals known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) suppress patients’ immune systems, which can make them vulnerable to infection. They are prescribed by rheumatologists in the belief that immune suppression is the correct strategy for addressing arthritic pain.

Some biomedical models I advocate and support, others I criticize as terribly mistaken. Rheumatology is near the top of that list.

As a profession I have seen few others develop such strong opinions on so little scientific evidence. Their drugs are mostly off label and unknown in their method of action, and their clinical methodology is slim to non-existent. In an apparent rebellion against reason they’ve adopted the ideology that further damaging the immune system, whose dysfunction created the very problems they believe they are treating, will somehow be of benefit to the patient.

Scrambling the immune system is a Bad Idea. You may see short term relief, but there are serious and potentially fatal dangers involved. In my experience that strategy is not only ineffective, over time it significantly damages the patient’s overall health. Numerous treatment strategies exist that are safe, effective, less costly, and non toxic to patients and the environment.

Correctly applied Chinese medicine, for example, can be an effective means for treating the gut, cardiovascular, and immune dysfunctions that create the majority of arthritic presentations, particularly those that are auto-immune in nature.

In my humble seven years of practice using herbs, acupuncture, and diet I have helped six patients diagnosed with RA transfer out of the pharmaceutical model and into a natural, holistic based health management plan. Further, in each case the patient’s RA levels fell below detectable levels, in addition to multiple ancillary improvements to health status. RA is a condition I consider as highly treatable by Chinese medicine.