Tap Water Contains Excreted Prescription Drugs - is the City Unknowingly the Biggest Practitioner of Homeopathy?

August 23, 2004

In a startling finding the New York Post reports this Monday that drugs excreted after human consumption are finding their way into the upstate reservoir system. Waste-toilet water is pumped to a sewage treatment plant and the plants may or may not remove the drugs from the water before it is recycled back into the environment. Excreted drugs are finding their way back into the city's reservoir-water supply according to the Post. The City defends its water supply by stating that its water supply is safe and the drug concentrations are in the parts per trillion. The City goes on to say that even if the concentration of drugs in the water increased several hundred times over there still wouldn't be enough to notice.

Some of the drugs found in the reservoirs include atenolol (a beta-blocking drug used for high blood pressure), ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory drug), trimethoprim (an antibiotic used for urinary tract infections), and caffeine. Estrogens were also found in the reservoir water.

Vioxx with Low Dose Aspirin Spells Trouble

Usually taking low dose aspirin (82mg) or Vioxx by themselves are safe on the digestive tract. A new study shows that patients who routinely take a low dose aspirin (formerly known as baby aspirin [it is dangerous to give babies and kids aspirin]) to help protect them from heart disease, and then add Vioxx for arthritis relief; have the same risk of developing an ulcer as patients using ibuprofen.

In this study a total of 1,615 patients over the age of 50 with osteoarthritis were put on one of the following regimens:

After 3 months the placebo group had an ulcer rate of 5.8%, the low dose enteric aspirin alone had a 7.3% rate, the ibuprofen group had a 17.1 % rate, and the Vioxx 25mg plus 81mg enteric coated aspirin had a 16.1% rate of ulcer development. The study is published in the August 2004 issue of the medical journal Gastroenterology.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Vioxx, a drug which is not supposed to contribute to ulceration, strongly did when mixed with a low dose aspirin. On the other hand, both low dose aspirin, and enteric coated aspirin offer very little cardiovascular protection - this combination is a real loose-loose situation for the patient.