Jerusalem Homeopathy Clinic

Vera Resnick-Weisz, DHom Med (Lic), IHM. Classical Homoeopathy. Local and online homoeopathic treatment available

Homeopathy and Tisha Be’Av

Here’s in interesting homoeopathic (I think) oddity. However – please note that I’m presenting this as a curiousity not a prescription – so please don’t rush out to buy the drug described below before the fast.  Most health shops have a lot of pre-fast options these days, and if you’re anxious about fasting I’d recommend you check that out.

While browsing through articles on the net looking for the next cure for all known ailments, I came across an article describing a study investigating the use of Arcoxia, a drug very similar to Vioxx and also made by Merck, if taken before a fast.  The study investigated the use of Arcoxia just before a fast day, to see if it could stave off headaches that many experience during Ramadan and Yom Kippur/Tisha Be’Av.  The findings seemed pretty positive.  Below you’ll find some excerpts from the article.

A little background:  Vioxx is an anti-inflammatory that was banned by the FDA because of clear links to heart attacks.  It is today banned in most – if not all countries, but was very popular in Israel before its banning.  Both Vioxx and Arcoxia are COX-2 inhibitors, a class of anti-inflammatories that are promoted as causing less stomach problems, but have a stronger link to heart attacks and elevated blood pressure.  Arcoxia was banned by the FDA due to this risk, but is still available and prescribed strongly in many countries.  Israel is one of them.

Why homoeopathic?  Because homoeopathy is based on the principle that a substance that can cause a symptom in a healthy person can cure that symptom in a sick person.  And Arcoxia can cause excruciating headaches – something I’ve seen first-hand.  As a homoeopath, I therefore found the connection especially interesting.

“About four in every 10 people who abstain from food and water all day during the month-long Ramadan period get headaches, said the study, published in the journal Headache. ….

“Religious fasting is associated with headache,” wrote lead researcher Michael Drescher, from Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, the United States, referring to Ramadan and Judaism’s Yom Kippur, when people fast for 25 hours.

“This has been documented as the ‘Yom Kippur headache’ and ‘first of Ramadan headache.'”

“Doctors aren’t quite sure what causes them. It could be dehydration, or caffeine withdrawal in people who are used to getting their morning coffee, Drescher told Reuters Health.

“There’s probably more than one thing going on,” he added.

“Drescher and his Israel-based colleagues had already shown that Jews who took the drug known as etoricoxib, or Arcoxia, before fasting for 25 hours on the Yom Kippur holiday got fewer headaches than those who didn’t.

“Arcoxia, a cousin of the painkiller Vioxx, isn’t approved for use in the United States because the Food and Drug Administration decided it was too similar to Vioxx, which Merck pulled from the market in 2004 when it was linked to a higher risk of heart attack. But Arcoxia is available in Israel, among other countries….”

“To see how Arcoxia would work during Ramadan, the researchers assigned 222 adults planning to fast in 2010 to either take the drug or an inactive placebo pill just before the start of fasting each day. All participants recorded how often they had a headache, and how severe it was.

After a week they switched treatments.

“During the first day of fasting, when headaches are thought to be most common, 21%of people taking Arcoxia reported having a headache, compared to 46% of those who took the placebo pill.

“The Arcoxia group also reported fewer total headaches during that first week, the researchers wrote. And when they did have headaches, they rated them as less severe than participants taking the placebo.”
and in the interests of full disclosure – nice for once:

“The study was funded by Merck, which makes the drug, and two of the study’s six authors are company employees.”

and in the interests of full disclosure of my opinion – something I try not to hold back on as I feel that’s not healthy:  How is it possible that Arcoxia is still being prescribed here?  Do US-trained doctors come to Israel and breathe a sigh of relief – “thank the lord, I can now prescribe Arcoxia to my patients”?  Surely a drug is either safe or not safe?  Or are Americans weaker than the rest of the world, and that which is dangerous in the US is perfectly safe to hardier constitutions elsewhere?

But relax, I’ll save this particular soapbox for a future post.  If you’re interested in the full article you can find it here.

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