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Fighting the Dr. Oz World

Fighting the Dr. Oz World
Author Information (click to view)

Linda Girgis, MD

Dr. Linda Girgis MD, FAAFP, is a family physician in South River, New Jersey. She holds board certification from the American Board of Family Medicine and is affiliated with St. Peter’s University Hospital and Raritan Bay Hospital.

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Linda Girgis, MD (click to view)

Linda Girgis, MD

Dr. Linda Girgis MD, FAAFP, is a family physician in South River, New Jersey. She holds board certification from the American Board of Family Medicine and is affiliated with St. Peter’s University Hospital and Raritan Bay Hospital.

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While I would probably earn much more money selling a magic weight loss pill or a mystical cream that vanishes wrinkles, I need to be a doctor first.
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As 2016 rolls out, many resolutions spring to life and others already lay broken underfoot. Everyone wants to be healthy, fit and lean but that goal is difficult for most. And as we grow attuned to easy fixes in our culture, we search for quick health and fitness cures as well. We want magic pills to help us sleep and lose weight. We desire supplements that build muscle without the hassle of going to the gym. While most doctors and medical professionals do not support the safety of these products, celebrity doctors like Dr. Oz profit hugely from them. It certainly seems like we are living in an Oz world.

Frequently, I am amazed at the “natural” products and supplements my patients buy into. There is no evidence to support their effectiveness, and research is needed to prove their safety. Yet, when a celebrity supports such products, people buy it. And then doctors in the exam room fight tooth and nail to explain why these may not be the best or safest treatment for them. Sure, there are some alternative medications that do work. I am sure that over time we will discover more and find that some of them we are hesitant to support have some use. But, until then we are fighting against the Oz-world of healthcare: fast solutions with no proven benefit at high costs.

“As we grow attuned to easy fixes in our culture, we search for quick health and fitness cures as well.”

 

Companies that produce supplemental products need doctors to support them otherwise they will not see any profits. I delete 3 or 4 requests from my inbox nearly every day. I am a doctor, and the standard of medical care is to provide evidence-based medicine to my patients. If I fail to do that, I step on the slippery slope of experimenting with unproven therapies on my patients. Why would any doctor want to do that? Why would any patient accept that?

As I mentioned before, some of these products are useful and many others may prove to be so too. But, until we have studies with statistically significant numbers, we cannot prescribe these products, unless we want to step outside science and go with the hype. For those who believe in the benefits of supplements, push for more studies to be done. If you are right, the studies will prove it, and more doctors will support their use.

While I would probably earn much more money selling a magic weight loss pill or a mystical cream that vanishes wrinkles, I need to be a doctor first. Dr. Oz and others like him may have chosen a different path of stardom and profit; most doctors stand on scientific principles and the Hippocratic Oath. Patients look to us as medical experts and trust us to give them the best medical advice. We cannot make up our own science. Science is what it is, and we cannot change it or neglect it. It may not sell as well but, at the end of the day, it proves itself and I have done the best I could have for my patients.

We may be living in an Oz world, but time always reveals the truth. Science will reign in the end. Hopefully, those who bought useless products will be compensated.

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Dr. Linda Girgis MD, FAAFP, is a family physician in South River, New Jersey. She holds board certification from the American Board of Family Medicine and is affiliated with St. Peter’s University Hospital and Raritan Bay Hospital. Dr. Girgis earned her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency at Sacred Heart Hospital, through Temple University and she was recognized as intern of the year. Over the course of her practice, Dr. Girgis has continued to earn awards and recognition from her peers and a variety of industry bodies, including: Patients’ Choice Award, 2011-2012, Compassionate Doctor Recognition, 2011-2012. Dr. Girgis’ primary goal as a physician remains ensuring that each of her patients receives the highest available standard of medical care.

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9 Comments

  1. Dr.Oz is a New York cardiac surgeon but he has succumbed to the dark side of commercialism; on tv he is giving a veneer of credibility to many unproven “cures, health products” and the like. We all want the quick fix, the new cure, the secret trick to treatment of various maladies. Unfortunately we need to view Dr.Oz’s tv promotions with a jaundiced eye, if not just a discerning mindset. If only he would stay being a cardiac surgeon and help folks with his knowledge in his field. Alas the cashier machine rings supreme!

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  2. There are problems on both sides. The answer is down the middle. We need a fusion of both. Open minds on both sides.

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  3. Medical evidence….something as simple as the flu…..From a recent Cochrane review…..”The latest updated Cochrane Review, published on 10 April 2014, is based on full internal reports of 20 Tamiflu and 26 Relenza trials. These trials involved more than 24,000 people and the findings challenge the historical assumption that NIs are effective in combating influenza. The review confirms small benefits on symptom relief, namely shortening duration of symptoms by half a day on average. However, there is little evidence to support any belief that use of NIs reduces hospital admission or the risk of developing confirmed pneumonia.” Evidence?????

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  4. I, too, am tired of the Oz bashing, just as I am tired of doctors not being open to alternative treatments. I don’t watch Dr. Oz on TV, but no one has all the answers. The medical and pharmaceutical fields have been open to only those things that produce profits.

    Even when the science isn’t there, it is next to impossible to get the medical field to stop pushing certain drugs and regimes. Shall we talk about hormone replacement therapy? How about low-fat and fat-free diets? How about diet soda? Should we light up a Camel?

    In time, I feel sure that statins will be discredited. Just because something seems to make sense doesn’t mean that it is fact. The loudest voices screaming to have more mammograms are those of the radiologists. Do you think that gastroenterologists will be pushing the new, cheap, and safe DNA fecal occult tests, or will they be wanting more colonoscopies?

    The medical and pharmaceutical industries know next to nothing about nutrition, but they are first in line to criticize more natural remedies and healing processes.

    Also, I am sick and tired of reading about physician burnout. I understand that Taco Bell and Dollar General are hiring. Try working a couple of part-time minimum wage jobs for a while — and then tell me about burnout.

    Yes, be a doctor first. But don’t hurt yourself by patting yourself on the back and condemning someone else.

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    • I don’t think we bash Dr. Oz enough!

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  5. ‘ We want magic pills to help us sleep and lose weight. We desire supplements that build muscle without the hassle of going to the gym. ” is that not exactly what we go to the MD for.Yet often the pill prescribed offers little if any benefit and can harm.For example the use of atenolol for hypertension has been found to not work “Reducing heart rate in hypertension is harmful—or is it just atenolol” Heartwire “Senior author Dr Franz Messerli (St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital) told heart wire : “Slowing heart rate is known to prolong life expectancy, and with beta blockers post-MI and in heart failure, the slower you can make the heart rate, the better. But this new paper goes against the grain. What we show is that in hypertension, when you slow down the heart rate with a beta blocker, it actually shortens your life expectancy, it causes more heart attacks, more heart failure, and more strokes.” That was the 5th most widely given drug about 10 years ago.Several reviews have concluded the same . Yet with no evidence of effectiveness the medical profession was happy to prescribe. Anyone who has been damaged by these experiments is happy to try supplements.

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  6. I am amazed that doctors like you don’t understand why your patients are seeking out natural remedies. How many of your patients are addicted to or have suffered side effects from natural remedies or supplements compared with OTC or prescribed medications? Nuff said. And I’m sick of the Oz bashing. The man has shown millions of people that there are often much better alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs that help our bodies — through our amazing immune system — to heal themselves. Patients are no longer buying what pharma hacks like yourself are selling: A perpetual cycle of illness treated with toxic drugs that cause more illness. Shame on you and your ilk, who are charged by the hypocratic oath to “First, do no harm…”

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    • As a Pharmacist working for a major chain, I am daily asked about ridiculous supplements. Most of us do not endorce them and I often tell people to save their money. Dr Oz is prostituting the profession.

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      • I couldn’t agree more

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