Gabapentin (Neurontin) Addiction

_20150917_080230

When I was originally diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy I was prescribed Gabapentin which was still a newish drug to treat the nerve pain in my feet. Within weeks myself and my family really started noticing changes in me we didn’t like. Changes like heavy mood swings, feeling like the walking dead, nauseous always, and much more. I discussed this with my doctor and I was told my body has to get used to the very potent medication and I needed to give it time. After about 6 months I did get used to it I guess you could say, it became a crutch to say the very least. At about that same six month period is when I began using VA medical facilities and I had yet another discussion with another doctor who couldn’t prescribe Gabapentin because the VA didn’t offer it so I was switched to Lyrica. After trying it out for a few months I made the choice to stop taking either of the medications because to me the extreme pain was better than the way on felt taking them. Those of you out there with diabetic
peripheral neuropathy and the associated pain know what it’s like and how its a game changer in one’s overall lifestyle. It’s been 15 months almost to the day since I stopped taking them and I can still say the pain is still better than the side effects. In my own experience, neither worked well for me and the pain I felt while taking the either drug was reduced very little. After some digging I found an article my mother forwarded to me a couple of years back because I was talking with another family member who was recently prescribed Gabapentin and was telling me how it really wasn’t working out for her either. It all got me thinking this morning that I wanted to share with y’all what was once shared with me. I copied and pasted the article but you can find a link to it at the very bottom. Please feel free to share more information or your personal stories in the comments.

***** begin article here ****

When Neurontin was the new drug on the block, physicians believed that they had found a real breakthrough drug to help patients with all kinds of nerve pain.  The drug had fewer side effects and drug interactions than current ones on the market and was classified as non-addictive, which meant you did not have to keep extensive records on it every time you prescribed it.[i] Soon Neurontin was generating over $4 billion a year in sales.[ii]

Then the trouble began.  A whistle-blower from the drug’s manufacturer claimed the company was spinning data on the drug’s effectiveness and using illegal means to promote its off-label uses among physicians.  When the dust settled from civil and criminal lawsuits, Pfizer paid out $572 million to claimants.[iii]  But not to worry. As soon as Neurontin became a cheap drug available generically, Pfizer marketed a close cousin of it named Lyrica, which today generates $3 billion a year in sales.[iv]

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an analog of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that slows down the activity of nerve cells in the brain. This means that gabapentin has a similar structure and is made up of similar chemicals as GABA, although its effect on the body is not the same. The scientists who developed gabapentin were deliberately trying to mimic GABA.

Gabapentin does not convert into GABA, does not inhibit it, does not alter the uptake of dopamine, and does not interact with GABA receptor cells.[v]  How gabapentin works and how it relieves pain and suppresses seizures is unknown.  One theory is that it increases the level of GABA by increasing the activity of glutamic acid decarboxylase, an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of GABA.[vi]

The chemical name for gabapentin is 2-[1-(aminomethyl) cyclohexyl]acetic acid and its molecule looks like this:

Gabapentin is not a Controlled Substance, that is, one that the United States federal government classifies as having potential for addiction and regulates under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act of 1970. However, gabapentin shares characteristics of addictive drugs in that it produces a withdrawal syndrome and certain psychoactive effects.  Its cousin drug, pregabalin, is a Schedule V Controlled Substance.

What are the Medical Uses of Gabapentin?

The United States Food and Drug Administration approved Neurontin for the treatment of seizures in adults and children, especially as a supplemental drug used for the same purpose. In 2002, the FDA approved it for treatment for pain from shingles. Horizant and Gralise are extended release versions of gabapentin that were approved for shingles pain in 2012.[vii] Gabapentin was also approved for restless leg syndrome in 2011.[viii]

When gabapentin was first introduced, doctors were excited about it because it had few side effects and drug interactions compared to competing remedies, and because it was not metabolized through the liver but rather excreted through the kidneys.[ix]  Physicians began to prescribe it off-label for various conditions, including hot flashes during menopause, pain from fibromyalgia, bi-polar disorder, pain after polio, neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, migraines, alcohol and drug withdrawal seizures, and diabetic neuropathy.[x] Later it was proven that the manufacturers of this drug had exaggerated claims about its effectiveness for various conditions.[xi]  Pregabalin, commonly sold as Lyrica, is a newer drug now prescribed for nerve pain, epilepsy and fibromyalgia, and it has largely replaced gabapentin.[xii]

The usual dose for people over 12 years old who have epilepsy is 300mg three times a day. This can be increased to 1800mg a day. Doctors prescribe the drug to children with epilepsy based on their body weights.[xiii]

For post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles), the dose is the same as for epilepsy. For adults with restless leg syndrome, the dose is 600mg taken at five o’clock in the evening.[xiv]

Dosages for people with kidney problems may be different than these.[xv]

If you break a gabapentin tablet in order to take just half, you need to use the rest of the pill as your next dosage or else discard it.[xvi]

One unusual aspect of gabapentin is that its bioavailability decreases with the dose.  For example, if you take 900mg, 60% is available to your body, but if you take 4800mg, that drops to only 27%.[xvii]

What are the Side Effects of Gabapentin?

The most common side effects of gabapentin are drowsiness, unsteadiness, sleepiness, loss of coordination, clumsiness, vision changes, and dry mouth.[xviii]  Some people report the following rare side effects:  edema, weight gain, swollen hands and feet, headaches, diarrhea, trouble thinking, abnormal thoughts, suicidal thoughts, fever, ataxia, diplopia, flu symptoms, shortness of breath, chest pain, mouth sores, chills, nausea, coughing, tremor, and other cold symptoms.

If you experience certain symptoms, you should call your doctor immediately because they can be a sign of a serious health condition. These can be black tarry stools, dark urine, tiredness, chest pain, suicidal mood, swollen glands, unusual bruising, rashes, or signs of an infection such as fever, cough and sore throat.[xix]

Children react to gabapentin differently than adults.  They may experience behavioral changes, moodiness, hyperactivity, overly emotional states, and restlessness.[xx]

What Drugs Interact with Gabapentin?

In general, you should not take gabapentin products with medicines that slow down the central nervous system and make you drowsy. These may be anti-histamines, narcotic painkillers, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety medications, and drugs for depression and seizures.[xxi] Gabapentin products will react with drugs used during surgeries, even dental procedures.[xxii] Do not take gabapentin products with morphine (Kadian, MS Contin), naproxen (Aleve) or hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin).[xxiii]

Drugs containing gabapentin will interact with ketorolac, aluminum carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, dihydroxyaluminum amino acetate, dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate, ginkgo, magaldrate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium trislicate, and morphine sulfate liposome. If you combine gabapentin with tobacco and alcohol and then take certain other drugs, you may cause an unpleasant or difficult reaction.[xxiv]

If you take any common antacids like Maalox and Di-Gel that contain aluminum or magnesium, you need to wait two hours before taking gabapentin.[xxv]

Which People Should not Take Gabapentin?

Gabapentin products have not been determined safe for pregnant or breast-feeding women or children, even though doctors sometimes prescribe it for children with epilepsy.  People with histories of depression, mood or mental disorders, and kidney diseases usually do not take gabapentin because it can make these conditions worse.[xxvi]  These drugs are used with caution for people with liver or heart diseases.[xxvii]

What Lawsuits Have Ensued Over Gabapentin?

At first the United States Food and Drug Administration approved Neurontin for only for epilepsy but by the year 2000, 78% of prescriptions that doctors wrote for Neurontin were for conditions other than seizure disorders. The new drug was widely prescribed “off label” for more than a dozen conditions, including fibromyalgia, nerve pain, migraines, menopausal symptoms, bipolar disorder, and even attention deficit disorder in children.[xxviii] Between 2000 and 2004, Neurontin was generating $1 to $4 billion in sales a year for its manufacturers, which were first Warner-Lambert and later Pfizer drug companies.[xxix]

In 2002, Dr. David Franklin, an employee of Warner-Lambert, went to authorities to report that his company was promoting Neurontin for uses not approved by the FDA. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses, it is illegal for a drug company to advertise and promote them for unapproved uses. [xxx] Dr. Franklin testified that Warner-Lambert paid to doctors to present themselves as authors of studies written by non-doctors employed by the company. He said that the company also paid doctors to speak to other doctors about the off-label uses of Neurontin, and offered physicians expensive retreats and dinners at expensive restaurants to promote the drug.[xxxi]

As criminal and civil lawsuits were filed against the company, more negative information came out. Pfizer had apparently delayed or suppressed publication of studies that were negative or neutral about Neurontin, and exaggerated any positive claims. For example, three double-blind studies showed that Neurontin did not improve the symptoms of bipolar patients any better than sugar pills, but the company manipulated the studies and how symptoms were defined in evaluating the success of Neurontin. Of the 12 studies of the drug’s effect on migraine headaches, two negative ones went unpublished, and some of the positive studies involved only patients who had taken 2400mg or more of the drug.[xxxii] In other studies, patients could easily figure out that they were not in the placebo group, and ordinarily this would have meant that the study could not be published. Company spokespeople denied all the charges, but Pfizer ended up paying out $430 million in claims to states enrolled in the Medicaid program.[xxxiii] In 2011, Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court in Boston ordered Pfizer to pay Kaiser Health $142.1 million for duping the company into prescribing Neurontin for migraines and bipolar disorder.[xxxiv]

In 2004, gabapentin became available as a cheap generic drug,[xxxv] which drastically reduced its value as a money-maker for Pfizer. Pfizer introduced a similar but more potent drug called Lyrica, which was approved by the FDA in December 2004. Lyrica was approved for seizure disorders and pain from fibromyalgia, but it is now prescribed for many other conditions “off-label,” especially all kinds of chronic pain. Today Lyrica ranks 19th among all prescription drugs, and generates more than $3 billion a year for Pfizer.[xxxvi]

What are the Risks of Taking Gabapentin?

Gabapentin doubles the risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, but the risk is still low.  In one study of 27,863 patients on Neurontin and 16,029 on a placebo, 0.43% of the ones on the real drug became suicidal compared to 0.24% on the sugar pill.[xxxvii]

Gabapentin has some potential for abuse because it has psychoactive effects.   Once you have been on it for a while, you may experience a difficult withdrawal syndrome when you try to stop taking it.

Gabapentin causes drowsiness and incoordination, which means that you are at an increased risk for accidents, and probably should not drive when you take this medication.[xxxviii]

Gabapentin increases the risk for sudden death after seizures in patients who have epilepsy.  It can cause certain dangerous and sometimes even fatal reactions. Symptoms of this condition can be fever, rash, painful lymph glands in the neck and armpit, unusual bleeding, and yellow eyes and skin.[xxxix] Both of these reactions are extremely rare.

Gabapentin may slightly increase your risk for cancer.[xl]

Does Gabapentin Show up on Urine Tests?

Gabapentin has a half-life of about five to seven hours, which means it should completely clear the body within 38 hours. Standard urine tests do not test for it because it is not a controlled substance.

What is a Gabapentin Overdose?

Symptoms of a gabapentin overdose may be appearing drunk and disoriented, with slurred speech and double vision.[xli]  Such overdoses are very rare.

What is Gabapentin Withdrawal or Discontinuation Syndrome?

When gabapentin was first introduced, scientists believed that it could not cause a withdrawal syndrome.  Since that time, there have been many case studies of people who experienced such difficult symptoms when they tried to stop using the drug that many had to go back on it.  For example, one 81 year old woman with bipolar disorder took Neurontin for five years, and developed severe cold symptoms when she stopped. On the tenth day after stopping Neurontin in a gradual way, she had terrible chest pain, hypertension, and mental changes that were difficult to manage. She was back to normal within one day of taking the drug again.[xlii]

In another case study, a 53-year-old woman vomited a black substance like coffee grounds and developed abdominal pain and black stools after stopping gabapentin.  By days four and five, she developed restlessness, anxiety, agitation, disorientation, confusion, headaches, and extreme sensitivity to light.  When her doctor administered gabapentin again, she was calm and normal within a day.[xliii] Another such study found that a 41-year-old male developed insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations, and excessive sweating after stopping Neurontin, but his symptoms went away when he went back on it.[xliv]

It has now been proven that gabapentin can build up in the body and cause a severe withdrawal syndrome similar to the ones for benzodiazepines and alcohol. The syndrome can last for weeks and even months, depending on the levels you took the drug and for how long you took it.  Symptoms are agitation, confusion, disorientation, sensitivity to light, headaches, heart palpitations, and hypertension, chest pain.  If you were taking gabapentin for epilepsy, your seizures will probably come back.  Some people develop seizures during withdrawal even if they never had one before.[xlv]

What is Gabapentin Addiction?

In theory, gabapentin should not be addictive because it has no affinity for the nerve receptors associated with addictions to marijuana, benzodiazepines or opiates.  It was marketed as non-addictive, but post-marketing studies showed that some people were abusing it.  In the early 2000s, the drug was being sold to thousands of people with sales were over a billion dollars a year.  Some of these patients were asking their doctors to increase their amounts (self-escalation) as they developed physical dependencies on Neurontin.  When they tried to quit, they entered a withdrawal syndrome that caused them to go back to the drug.  The new conclusion about gabapentin, as one expert put it, “The dependence and abuse potential for gabapentin has not been evaluated in human studies.”[xlvi]

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency does not list gabapentin as a drug of concern, even though it is being sold on the Internet illegally. Its street name is “morontin” because it makes you “dopey.”

What Treatments are Available for Gabapentin Addiction?

Because the withdrawal syndrome for this drug can produce unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms, you need to consult your doctor or an addiction specialist at a drug rehabilitation clinic about how you can safely stop taking the drug. The usual method is to wean a patient from the drug by gradually lowering the dosage, but this does not always prevent the withdrawal syndrome.[xlvii]  If you have tried unsuccessfully to quit taking gabapentin, you should seek professional help.

The state-of-the-art treatment for drug addiction is to enter a residential treatment center where your withdrawal can be done under medical supervision.  If you are addicted to other drugs or alcohol as well as gabapentin, your detoxification process will become even more complicated.

Once you have completed detoxification and your body is completely clear of drugs, you need to remain at the center for a few weeks or more so that you can undergo therapy to learn to live a drug-free life.  You will work one-on-one with a therapist who can help you with any psychological problems you may have that contribute to your drug abuse.  You may learn how to deal stress through non-pharmaceutical means such as running or other sports, yoga, meditation, journaling and so forth.  You may have classes in the chemistry of drugs and why they can get such a hold on people’s lives.  You will learn how to avoid relapsing into drug abuse or alcoholism, even if you have a genetic tendency or long family history of such problems.  Most drug rehab programs offer activities that are fun to do as well as ways of self-exploration, such as social gatherings, sightseeing, outdoor sports, and participating in art, drama and music. Once you return home, you usually remain in support meetings in your community and in individual and family counseling to help you stay on track.

How Can I Tell if I am Addicted to Gabapentin?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider talking to your family physician or an addiction specialist at a residential treatment center about your concerns with gabapentin.

Are you taking gabapentin without a doctor’s prescription? Do you ask your doctor to keep increasing your dose?Do you buy gabapentin from the Internet or other illegal sources? Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking gabapentin? Have you tried to quit taking gabapentin on your own but failed? Do you consider yourself to be someone who abuses drugs or alcohol?Do you use gabapentin along with alcohol or other drugs as a way of treating emotional pain? Are you taking gabapentin even though you experience unpleasant side effects and even though you are unsure if it is effective for you? If money were no object, would you enter an intense program to help you deal with drug problems? Do your friends or family members criticize you because of your drug abuse? Do you feel guilty about how you use drugs? Are you trying to cut down on your use of gabapentin or other drugs?

[i]  Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar Disorders, 7(3), 302-304.

[ii] Peterson, Melody. “Whistle-Blower Says Marketers Broke the Rules To Push a Drug,” The New York Times, March 14, 2002; and Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[iii] “Pfizer Told to Pay $142.1 Million Over Marketing of Epilepsy Drug,” New York Times, January 28, 2011.

[iv] “U.S. Pharmaceutical Sales  2013,” The United States Food and Drug Administration, see http://www.drugs.com/stats/top100/2013/q1/sales

[v] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[vi] Hellwig, T., Hammerquist, R., & Termaat, J. (2010). Withdrawal symptoms after gabapentin discontinuation. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 67(11), 910-912.

[vii] See articles on FDA approvals and clinical trials of Gabapentin at Center Watch, http://www.centerwatch.com/

[viii] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[ix] Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar Disorders, 7(3), 302-304.

[x] Mack, Alicia (Ph Pharm). Examination of the Off Label Uses of Gabapentin, The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy,  see http://www.amcp.org/data/jmcp/Contemporary%20Subject-559-568.pdf

[xi] Peterson, Melody. “Whistle-Blower Says Marketers Broke the Rules To Push a Drug,” The New York Times, March 14, 2002; and Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[xii] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[xiii] “Gabapentin,” Medline, Information from the National Institutes of Health, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

[xiv] Ibid, see also “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xvii] “Gabapentin,” Medline, Information from the National Institutes of Health, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

[xviii] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709. See also “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xix] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xx] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[xxi] “Gabapentin,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs.com, see http://www.drugs.com/gabapentin.html

[xxii] “Gabapentin,” Medline, Information from the National Institutes of Health, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

[xxiii] “Gabapentin,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs.com, see http://www.drugs.com/gabapentin.html

[xxiv] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi] Ibid.

[xxvii] “Gabapentin,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs.com, see http://www.drugs.com/gabapentin.html

[xxviii] Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] Peterson, Melody. “Whistle-Blower Says Marketers Broke the Rules To Push a Drug,” The New York Times, March 14, 2002.

[xxxi] Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[xxxii] “Pfizer’s Headache,” Newsweek Magazine, October 7, 2008.

[xxxiii] Winstein, K. J.  “Suit alleges Pfizer spun unfavorable drug studies.” Wall Street Journal. October 8, 2008.

[xxxiv] “Pfizer Told to Pay $142.1 Million Over Marketing of Epilepsy Drug,” New York Times, January 28, 2011.

[xxxv] Saul, Stephanie, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies,” the New York Times, October 8, 2008.

[xxxvi] “U.S. Pharmaceutical Sales  2013,” The United States Food and Drug Administration, see http://www.drugs.com/stats/top100/2013/q1/sales

[xxxvii] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xxxviii] “Neurontin (Gabapentin),” The Staff of the Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600709

[xxxix]Ibid.

[xl] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xli] “Gabapentin,” Medline, Information from the National Institutes of Health, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a694007.html

[xlii] Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar Disorders, 7(3), 302-304.

[xliii] Hellwig, T., Hammerquist, R., & Termaat, J. (2010). Withdrawal symptoms after gabapentin discontinuation. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 67(11), 910-912.

[xliv] Finch, C., Eason, J., & Usery, J. (2010). Gabapentin Withdrawal Syndrome in a Post–Liver Transplant Patient. Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, 24(3), 236-238.

[xlv] “Neurontin,” the RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/neurontin-drug.htm

[xlvi] Ibid.

[xlvii] Tran, K. T., Hranicky, D., Lark, T., & Jacob, N. J. (2005). Gabapentin withdrawal syndrome in the presence of a taper. Bipolar Disorders, 7(3), 302-304.

Original Article

Does Tequila Qualify As A Hobby?

giphy-149

There is no doubt that people continue to make choice, there really are no boundaries or limitations, because tequila will NEVER let you down. Y’all don’t have to take my word for it, y’all don’t have to let the fact that tequila is my favorite alcohol, nor do y’all need to let my 20 plus years of bartending make a difference, but one can NEVER go wrong drinking tequila. As an insulin dependent type 2 diabetic, I wonder if it was coincidence that my diagnosis only happened within a few months of me quitting drinking. Things that you’ll read might get you to wondering the same damn things I’m wondering.

As the Pringles campaign so eloquently put it, “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.”

You know that group of friends who can never decide what type of round to buy at the bar? These people spend their time arguing between Jameson, vodka and Fireball. But do you know the one suggestion that will shut them the F up? That’s right — tequila. I mean, people went as far as creating deep-Fried tequila that will actually get you drunk. Do you see people doing that with vodka? I think not. So get ready to open your eyes to the benefits of tequila, some of which you never even thought could be possible.

_20150511_202934

1. It helps lower blood sugar. How exactly is this possible? Well agavina, which is a sugar that comes from the agave plant used to produce tequila, triggers insulin production and therefore lowers blood sugar. We can thank our friends at the American Chemical Society for this one.

*** Exhibit A ***: A sweetener created from the plant used to make tequila could lower blood glucose levels for the 26 million Americans and others worldwide who have type 2 diabetes and help them and the obese lose weight, researchers said here today.

The main reason it could be valuable, they explained, is that agavins, a natural form of sugar found in the agave plant, are non-digestible and can act as a dietary fiber, so they would not raise blood glucose. Their report was part of the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The meeting, attended by thousands of scientists, features more than 10,000 reports on new advances in science and other topics. Being held at the Dallas Convention Center and area hotels.

“We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levelsand increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin,” said Mercedes G. López, Ph.D. GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is a hormone that slows the stomach from emptying, thereby stimulating production of insulin. She added, “Agavins are not expensive and they have no known side effects, except for those few people who cannot tolerate them.” In addition, agavins, like other fructans, which are made of the sugar fructose, are the best sugars to help support growth of healthful microbes in the mouth and intestines, she said.

Agavins can help people feel fuller, which could help them eat less. Agavins contain fructoses, which begs the question: Are agavins like high-fructose corn syrup, a processed sweetener that has gotten a lot of bad press recently? López pointed out that, indeed, high-fructose corn syrup is loaded with fructose sugars and, therefore, can raise blood sugar levels. But agavins are fructans, which are fructoses linked together in long, branched chains. The human body can’t use them in that configuration, so they don’t affect blood sugar, she explained. Agavins also sometimes get confused with agave nectar or agave syrup, which appears on many health-food store shelves. These products contain fructans that have been broken down into individual fructoses, so they are much more similar to high-fructose corn syrup.

Also, she and her team said agavins are better than artificial sweeteners, which are absorbed by the body and can cause side effects, like headaches. “One slight downside, however, is that agavins are not quite as sweet as their artificial counterparts,” she said.

Of course, the agave’s claim to fame is as the plant from which tequila is made. López explained that agavins are the only carbohydrates used to produce the drink. All ethanol in tequila comes from the fermentation of glucose and fructose generated after agave pines are cooked. But because the agavins are converted to ethanol, agavins are not found in the finished product.

López said that in the study, her team fed a group of mice a standard diet and added agavins to their daily water. They weighed the mice daily and checked their glucose blood levels weekly. Most mice that drank agavins ate less, lost weight and their blood glucose levels decreased when compared to other sweeteners such glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup and aspartame.

“This study represents the first attempt to evaluate agavins as sweeteners in spite of their lower sweetness compared to sugar,'” she said. **” End Exhibit A **”

2. It aids in weight loss. Yes, you heard me correctly; there are certain components in tequila that can help you lose weight. In further tests done by the ACS, tequila helped overweight mice lose a significant amount of pounds.

3. You don’t get hungover. You may quickly disagree, but we’re not talking about that shitty watered-down tequila most people are accustomed to. Rather, we are discussing real 100 percent pure agave tequila. Try drinking this instead and see if that headache becomes a memory of the past.

_20150511_204515

4. You can drink it straight without wanting to throw up afterward. Have you ever tried throwing back straight shots of vodka? Chances are they’re coming right back up. When it comes to tequila, you can rest assured that it will sail smoothly down your throat.

5. It helps fight cholesterol. OK, let’s get scientific for a moment. Increasing fiber in your diet helps in the reduction of cholesterol levels. Like fiber, agavins lower triglycerides in the blood and levels of cholesterol as determined by researchers in Plant Foods For Human Nutrition.

6. Tequila may be used to help treat colds. Back in the 1930s, doctors were known to promote this tequila concoction to fight off the common cold: .5 ounce of tequila blanco; .5 ounce of agave nectar; .5 ounce of fresh lime juice.

7. It helps you numb the pain. Tequila has been proven to dilate the blood vessels, which results in better blood flow, minimizing pain levels. When it comes to emotional pain, you can bet tequila is the remedy for that too.

8. It can serve as a “drug delivery system”. WTF does that even mean? OK, so basically when drugs are taken, the acid in your stomach typically breaks them down before they can even hit your intestines. Why is this a problem? Because it decreases the drug’s effectiveness. Tequila serves as a protective barrier of these drugs as they work their way into your system.

9. Diabetics can indulge too. The high amount of sugar that is present in alcohol is what poses an issue for diabetics. The thing with tequila, however, is that it has significantly less sugar; therefore, it will have much less of an impact on blood sugar.

_20150511_204449

10. You look like a damn badass on a first date. How many times do females worry about what to order on the first date? I only know this because I’ve had countless conversations with friends on whether or not it’s appropriate to order anything but wine. The answer? Order tequila and stand out from the crowd. Make a long-lasting impression because you can be certain he will always remember you as the girl who ordered tequila on the rocks on your first date.

11.  It won’t make you feel as fat as vodka and beer. Raise your shot glass and cheers to this because tequila helps to regulate the absorption of fat in your intestines! And when it comes to alcohol, everyone knows how much drinkers detest bloating.

12. You don’t have to waste your calories on a chaser. One of the best parts about ripping shots of tequila is that you don’t need soda to chase them with. Honestly, you don’t really even need a chaser because the taste of tequila is that good, but if you can’t really stomach it, there are always limes!

13. Everyone respects a person who rolls up with a bottle of tequila to a pregame. There are always those people who insist on bringing a bottle of Fireball to every pregame they go to and the word we use to describe these people is: basic. A unique individual busts out the tequila and really gets the party started.

14. It cleans your colon in a different way than you may think. Touching upon the points found in eight,Researchers at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara claim that blue agave found in tequila helps deliver drugs to the colon, which helps to treat illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS and even cancer.

15. It chills you out and helps you sleep. Everyone knows tequila and relaxation go hand in hand. You don’t need to drink an excessive amounts one or two shots will do. Next time you can’t fall asleep, try sipping on some Don Julio.

Below are some recommended warning statements tequila producers should add for friendly public service announcements.

_20150511_204335

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may leave you wondering what in the unnatural fuck happened to your bra and panties because tequila does make your clothes fall off ladies.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may make you think you are whispering when you are really not.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to think you can sing.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to text them at four in the morning.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting or drooling on them.

_20150511_204422

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may often lead to attempting and successfully repeating the revered tequila body shot. Will you give or receive?

_20150511_204406

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to roll over in the morning and see something really scary (whose species and/or name you can’t recall).

WARNING: The consumption of tequila is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burns on your forehead.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than some really, really big redneck who proceeds to kick your ass.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may lead you to believe you are invisible, resulting in you attempting to grope members of the opposite sex. Sometimes this works out, other times not so much, what the hell, roll the dice.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may lead you to think people are laughing along WITH you.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause a disturbance in the space-time continuum, wherein gaps in consciousness appear, and eventually disappear forever.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila has been known to inexplicably cause pregnancy.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila is a major factor in dancing like a talentless teenage boy.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to tell the same boring story over and over again until your friends or perfect strangers feel inclined to SMASH YOUR HEAD IN or at least entertain the idea.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to say things that you think make you sound clever to people you are trying to communicate with, this is your brain lying to you but the tequila takes over and speaks for you.

_20150511_204434

The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog disclaimer. Never have I claimed to be a medical care giver nor do I have any formal or informal education and/or training which would quality me to give medical advice. The preceding post was for informational and entertainment only. You go read and find your own conclusion. However, I am a formally trained bartender with over 20 years of professional experience, since retired, so I do feel I know something about tequila, which so happened to be my specialty and my personal preference in alcohol, so call me a little biased. If the preceding made you think, entertained you, filled you heads with useless information, left you wondering, and left you thirsty for my friend tequila, my job is done here.

It’s A Small World………………..Afterall

_20140922_150857

Now that I have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, let me tell you just how small a world this really is. Let’s start with the fact I started a new job recently, those of y’all keeping up may have noticed my delinquent behavior here at the blog, and with every new job there is a fair share of “new hire” paperwork that has to be done. At the point when I started mine, given to me by the assistant, I realized I new her, I couldn’t place from where, but I knew her for sure. Its not a case of de ja vu either, I knew her from somewhere. It will come to me sooner or later is all I can think. Later that afternoon, after leaving work, I stopped by a strip club which was right up the street to inquire about a part time, evening, maintenance position I came across is my job searching the week prior. I thought if it were for a few hours each night it might not be a bad gig since it was a half mile from the other place. When I called, the manager said to just come it at my convenience and we could talk.

I went in and asked around for her at the bar. I was asked to have a seat and she would be out shortly. My eyes were drawn to the stage for a moment because all strip clubs are not created equal by no means. Then, a dancer caught my eye, I mean really got my attention, I had to get a closer look for sure. I got that same feeling from earlier in the day, this was truly bizarre to say the very least. When I approached the stage it hits me, like a ton of bricks kinda hit, all asses are not created equal either. It goes way beyond it being the girl from my new job, its deeper, a few years ago I had met her at the club I was a bartender at, she just didn’t show up one day, and that was that, it happens with strippers. When she turned around and saw me looking up at her she just grinned and kept going, never missing a beat. I headed back to the bar where the manager was now waiting on me. In the end, I did not take the job. Why? They wanted a janitor to clean bathrooms, not a maintenance guy. Before I left I looked for her now that she was done dancing, but never did see her, so I left.

The following morning I was bent over a pallet on the floor loading it out for delivery. Between my legs I noticed she was standing directly behind me. She squatted down beside me and asked if we could talk a second. She talked, I listened. She explained she recognized me right away the day before, but didn’t think I recognized her which is why she didn’t say anything to me then. After going down memory lane about the things she would do on my bar in my plain view and sometimes with my assistance, she asked I not mention where she works or what she does to the others. Um, okay then. Before she walked off she tells me that anytime I come by the club to ask for her because she would make sure I had free lap dances that I wouldn’t soon forget. Interesting proposal, but I doubt I will be going back, lap dances are the least of my worries in life.

Fast forward to this morning, a morning without a happy ending, but one I saw coming a mile away. To say it simply, I was let go. Why? I was hired on the contingent that I would have my Class A CDL in a timely manner. I was doing my part over the last, now two weeks, to get it, in fact I posess my learner permit now, which I got this past Friday. You see, I have been studying my ass off for this test, for this job, but they had other plans in their agenda. They hired a driver, no wait, no muss, no fuss, and they no longer had a need for me. OK, yes, this is bullshit, because I applied for a warehouse position and was being paid that of a warehouse worker which was to change at a future date. Whoops, I missed the memo that they hired someone else for the position which I did not have the credentials to fill. To hell with it I guess, I didn’t like the 55 minute drive anyway to get to work. Plus, with the new laws I wasn’t 100% positive I could get the medical part of my CDL requirements because of being an insulin dependent diabetic. There were allot of factors that could’ve fucked me in the end, so I look at it as the silver lining in the cloud. This just might have saved me allot of heartburn because there were many unanswered questions about it all. It us what it is, tomorrow I start the hunt for a job again, hopefully the next one works out better. No worries though, I’m like Tigger, I gots allot of fucking bounce left in me.

OMG WTF VA? Make Up My Mind

_20140725_110406

I mentioned halfassedly yesterday that I would be visiting the VA clinic to have a fasting blood panel done to gage my A1C level (diabetes) to see where that all stands. I could get into my trypanophobia and how it really blows being a diabetic, but I have come to accept the overabundant amount of needles in my life so blood work and insulin injections are easier for me to accommodate these days. This part of my visit remained very clinical and well executed. Other than having to be stabbed twice, that appointment went alright.

Scheduled directly afterwards was an appointment with the orthopedic clinic to follow up with my issues I am having with my almost 7 year old knee replacement. As a recap, my initial visit was a disaster because in the doctor’s opinion it shouldn’t have been replaced due my age and higher activity level. I was lectured with an “I told you speech” eventhough it was done in the civilian sector. Anyway, I felt 4 years old while he handed my lollipop, swatted me on my ass, and sent me on my way for being a bad, bad boy. I was so pissed and frustrated that I filed 2 complaints, one to the VA, and one to my congressman. How was the appointment? Short and sweet. There was a no touch examination which resulted into a referral to finally see an orthopedic surgeon, after new xrays and MRIs of course. I have been officially handed off to the next provider, bit I feel discarded at the same time. The drama continues next week.

Let me tell y’all what keeps my head above water. Other than being very patient, I have people to talk with who have personal experience with the VA “system”. Last night I was reminded (thanks Rexi) that the goal of the VA is to wear you down so you give up. It just reenforced my own reasons for not EVER giving up. Plus, I have way to much time and energy invested into getting my knee operational once again. Let’s not forget I started this little adventure back in the spring of 1990 when I initially broke my knee. Maybe I need to write about that one day.

Anyway, for those playing at home, the score is now  tied, VA – 1, Me – 1. Don’t worry, as I continue this bizarre journey, I will continue to update y’all. Until then, remember to eat it everyday because everything else just bites!

The History Of El Alacrán (Scorpion)

_20140722_181707

The history of the deadly El Alacrán (scorpion) throughout time. Why do a history lesson on the scorpion? Well, other than obvious reasons (just look around here), I was asked to do it. However, I cannot comply with the exact request because, if my translation is correct, she would like it to be in Spanish, something I cannot do on my own. But, if any of my bilingual friends would like to help I will be sure to add it to this post, in fact, I think that would be a cool addition to the post. Anyway, this information is from a school report I did in the 80’s (yes I still have it), back when information was collected from books, not Google. So, here’s the story behind one of the most feared creatures on the planet. Do y’all think they truly deserve their awful reputation? Be sure y’all check out my personal, final thoughts on all of this at the end of the post.

Scorpions are among the most visually abhorred creatures that roam the planet, and most people will run a mile to avoid any possible contact. You have to feel sorry that the press scorpions have received over the centuries has been so bad, but when something looks like this creature does, and has since the dawn of time, it is not that hard to see why. Scorpions kill over a thousand people a year in Mexico alone. Perhaps you would be grateful not to live there, but scorpions are not always that easy to avoid. They are venomous arachnids and are considered relatives of spiders. Between 1,300 and 2,000 species varieties are thought to exist, each recognised primarily by the curved tail tipped with a stinger.

Scorpions occur in many places people might not expect them to, from grasslands through forests of all kinds, and caves, and they can even be found over 12,000 feet high in the Andes Mountains and the Himalayas. Thankfully, despite their fearsome appearance, only 25 varieties can kill people, though many have stings similar to that of a bee. Scorpions also glow brightly under ultraviolet light, which makes them easy to find for scientists on field expeditions. The glowing is due to some ultraviolet sensitivity mechanism, perhaps allowing the creatures to avoid damaging light levels. The colour of scorpions under UV light can be quite eerie, from green to bright blue. Preservative alcohol in which scorpions have been submerged may also glow.

Scorpions are fascinating animals, though most people see them as potentially deadly killers, a wildly inaccurate assessment to say the very least. However, it is true that after man himself, followed by snakes and the bees, scorpions cause more human deaths than any other no-parasitic animal. Mexico is one hotspot to watch out for scorpions, as are India, North Africa parts of South America and the USA. The incredibly small percentage of dangerous species cause death via complex neurotoxins, bringing both local and systemic paralysis, severe convulsions and cardiac arrest, which can all occur within a few hours of being stung. Fortunately, good anti-venoms are widely available and death can be avoided with proper medication. In fact, the neurotoxins employed by Death Stalker scorpions are being studied by scientists researching a treatment for some diseases, including some forms of brain cancer and diabetes.

Although only medium-sized, the Death Stalker is one of the deadliest. The extremely potent venom causes extreme pain, fever, convulsions, paralysis, and often coma or death for people stung. The Death Stalker Scorpion is found in North Africa and the Middle East. It prefers a dry climate, and makes its home in natural burrows or under stones. Scorpions can truly be seen as living fossils because they have changed very little in 400 million years of evolution. These amazing creatures have some of the lowest metabolic rates ever recorded in any animal. Most species stay within 1 meter of their burrows and some may spend as much as 97% of their lives inside their burrows. Some species can go a full year without food, and some live without water at all, taking what they need from prey creatures.

Scorpions are often well suited to surviving where food comes by only once in a while. Scorpions also tend to be long-lived for their size, and the females put a lot of effort into raising the young. Another amazing fact about scorpions is that they have the same basic body plan now as they did when they first appeared over 400 million years ago. The first scorpions were most probably marine animals, existing until about 250 to 300 million years ago. The first earth-bound varieties appeared around 340 million years ago, and early versions produced some very large species, with the biggest fossils found so far being about 1 meter or 3 feet in length.

There have always been myths associated with them. The Babylonians dreamed up the 12 constellations of the zodiac, and of course one of these was Scorpio, an indication of how potent a force the scorpion was to people 4,000 years ago. Warrior-god Sadrafa has as associates the scorpion and the snake. He was a forerunner of the god Mithras who, in an old Persian legend, sacrificed the sacred bull in order that his blood might fertilize the universe, thus creating life. The evil Ahriman, however, sent a scorpion to sting the bull on the testicals, poisoning its seed.

Scorpions are frequently found etched on Egyptian tombs and monuments. A part of the ‘Ebers papyrus’ covers “How to Rid the House of Scorpions”. They are mentioned in the ‘Book of the Dead’ as well as in the Talmud and the Bible Old Testament. Hebrew history relates how the scorpion was the emblem of the Dan tribe. ‘Scorpion Man’ is also the guardian of Mount Mashu in the Gilgamesh epic of Indian folklore. The Egyptians also had a scorpion-goddess called Selkit or Serqet who was ‘friend of the dead’. Egyptians really believed until recent times that scorpions originated from the bodies of dead crocodiles. Greek mythology has it that Orion the Hunter, son of Zeus, was also killed by a scorpion sting, and scorpions feature on 14 pages of the great Chinese Encyclopaedia.

No matter how much science tells us that scorpion, snake or spider venom can be used for good as well as bad, we will always hearken to that primal instinct that brings a scream to our throats and adrenalin to our leg muscles whenever we see one because scorpions have no desire to play with us.

Its not until religion, Christianity, and the Bible are explored that we see that the scorpion should be viewed and hated as something which is beyond evil. Below are common findings in a variety of religions known worldwide. The scorpion, one of the largest and most malignant of the in sect tribe. It lives upon other insects, but kills and devours its own species also. It frequents dry and hot places, and lies under stones and in the crevices of old ruins. The Jews encountered it in the Wilderness. (Dent. viii. 15.) The bite of the scorpion is generally fatal, but not always so. The poison is injected by means of a sharp, curved sting at the end of the six-jointed tail. It occasions great pain, in­flammation, and hardness, with alternate chills and burning. (Rev. ix. 3-10.) – Animals, Birds, Insects, And Reptiles Of The Bible

Scorpion in Easton’s Bible Dictionary mentioned along with serpents (Deut. 8:15). Used also figuratively to denote wicked persons (Ezek. 2:6; Luke 10:19); also a particular kind of scourge or whip (1 Kings 12:11). Scorpions were a species of spider. They abounded in the Jordan valley.

Scorpion in Fausset’s Bible Dictionary ‘akrab. Of the class Arachnida and order Pulmonaria. Common in the Sinai wilderness, typifying Satan and his malicious agents against the Lord’s people (Deuteronomy 8:15; Ezekiel 2:6; Luke 10:19). Rolling itself together it might be mistaken for an egg (Luke 11:12). Found in dry dark places amidst ruins, in hot climates. Carnivorous, breathing like spiders by lung- sacs, moving with uplifted tail. The sting at the tail’s end has at its base a gland which discharges poison into the wound from two openings. In Revelation 9:3; Revelation 9:10, “the scorpions of the earth” stand in Contrast to the “locusts” from hell, not earth. The “five months” are thought to refer to the 150 prophetical days, i.e. years, from A.D. 612, when Mahomet opened his mission, to 762, when the caliphate was moved to Bagdad. In 1 Kings 12:11 scorpions mean “scourges armed with iron points”. The sting of the common scorpion is not very severe, except that of Buthus occitanus.

Scorpion in Naves Topical Bible -A venomous insect common in the wilderness through which the people of Israel journeyed De 8:15 -Power over, given to the seventy disciples (the best mss. have “seventy-two”) Lu 10:19 -Unfit for food Lu 11:12 -Sting of, located in the tail Re 9:10 -FIGURATIVE Of enemies Eze 2:6 Of cruelty 1Ki 12:11,14 -SYMBOLICAL Re 9:3,5,10

Scorpion in Smiths Bible Dictionary (Heb. ‘akrab), a well known venomous insect of hot climates, shaped much like a lobster. It is usually not more than two or three inches long, but in tropical climates is sometimes six inches in length. The wilderness of Sinai is especially alluded to as being inhabited by scorpions at the time of the exodus, and to this day these animals are common in the same district, as well as in some parts of Israel. Scorpions are generally found in dry and in dark places, under stones and in ruins. They are carnivorous in the habits, and move along in a threatening attitude, with the tail elevated. The sting, which is situated at the end of the tail, has at its base a gland that secretes a poisonous fluid, which is discharged into the wound by two minute orifices at its extremity. In hot climates the sting often occasions much suffering, and sometimes alarming symptoms. The people have clearly no allusion whatever to the animal, but to some instrument of scourging –unless indeed the expression is a mere figure of evil.

Scorpion in the Bible Encyclopedia – ISBE skor’-pi-un (aqrabh; compare Arabic aqrab, “scorpion”; ma`aleh `aqrabbim, “the ascent of Akrabbim”; skorpios. Note that the Greek and Hebrew may be akin; compare, omitting the vowels, `krb and skrp): In Dt 8:15, we have, “who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents (nachash saraph) and scorpions (`aqrabh).” Rehoboam (1 Ki 12:11,14; 2 Ch 10:11,14) says, “My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” Ezekiel is told to prophesy to the children of Israel (2:6), and “Be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions.” “The ascent of Akrabbim,” the north end of Wadi- ul-`Arabah, South of the Dead Sea, is mentioned as a boundary 3 times (Nu 34:4; Josh 15:3; Jdg 1:36). Jesus says to the Seventy (Lk 10:19), “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions,” and again in Lk 11:12 He says, “Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion?”

Scorpion Scripture – Luke 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Scorpion Scripture – Revelation 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment [was] as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

I have been asked, many times in fact, why I personally have such a fascination with the scorpion. As interesting as the question might be, I simply don’t have an actual answer. But, I will tell y’all this much, it has a great deal to do with the mythology behind the scorpion as well as the real life fascination with such a deadly creature. Part of the reason I named this blog The Sting Of The Scorpion was because I was a bit pissed with Google for killing off my accounts (almost a year ago now), which erased almost 6 years of work and dedication. I almost quit blogging because I was frustrated, but then I decided to sting back, and here we are today. Normally, in today’s times, I don’t refer to religious documents for my information, but, since they continue to prove the point of history, in their own unique way, I thought it to be applicable in this case to leave them in as an original part of the writing.

Well, I hope we enjoyed this look at El Alacrán, written as a research paper so many years ago, (30 to be exact), and I’m sure y’all wonder what my grade was, sadly, I received a failing grade because I didn’t exactly follow the guidance of the assignment which was to “write an essay involving a significant or prominent person or place which has been revered as globally terrifying”. Seems, even back then, I liked to ride the razors edge a bit. Oh, if there are any of y’all wishing to do a free translation to Spanish (or any language really) just leave a comment below and I will contact you back. Do y’all know why The Sting Of The Scorpion will always pack a powerful punch? Simple…… because everything else just bites!