There’s a lot of opinion floating around on this subject, from what appears to be well-researched and well-intended information, to claims that are obviously nothing more than layman hearsay and professional fear-mongering. Since I’m not a medical professional I’ve refrained from writing about this subject, but as a skeptic, voracious researcher and opinionated blogger, I thought I should at least share what I’ve learned in my search for truth.The common, but unfounded, claim that animal drugs are not safe for humans because they’re made from substandard or unregulated materials is simple not factual. The FDA regulates every drug sold in U.S. for quality, safety and environmental impact regardless if they’re intended for humans or animals.
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=211&showFR=1&utm_campaign=Google2&utm_source=fdaSearch&utm_medium=website&utm_term=21 C.F.R. part 211.&utm_content=2
Though the FDA’s record of always getting this right may be questionable, they are more reliable than nothing at all. I would only deal with FDA approved drugs, human or other, as drugs regulated outside of the U.S. can have far less stringent requirements for trial testing and safety, if any at all.
Some drugs specifically designed for animal use may contain the same active ingredient as the human equivalent, but may also contain inactive ingredients that were not trial tested for human consumption -making side-effects and allergic reaction possibilities of some of these drugs unpredictable for humans. However, many of the animal drugs on the market are the exact same, FDA approved drugs for humans, only they have been packaged and labeled for animal use.
The easiest way to verify if a drug marketed for an animal is also safe for human consumption is if it comes in pill form.A drug marketed for animal use may be labeled “Not for human consumption”, but if it’s a pill, you can easily find out if it’s actually a human drug too. By law -the color, shape, and markings of each pill must be unique. This helps Poison Control hotlines, hospitals, doctors, etc., determine what someone might have ingested, overdosed on, or is causing side effects, regardless of what package it comes in.
There are a handful of online resources that provide pill identification data bases, but I find RXList.com to offer the broadest range of additional information -including drug interactions, standard treatment recommendations, and even dosage and administration guidelines for various conditions.
One example is a pill-form antibiotic marketed for fish called “Fish Mox”. The label may state “Not for human consumption” or “For aquarium fish only” but the capsule identification markings on these pills can be verified by a pill identification data base as being the same high-grade amoxicillin that’s used for human consumption. Not just the same active ingredient, but the same pill, only packaged and marketed for pet owners.
So there you have it, stick with pet meds you can easily identify and obtain information about and you’ll at least be sure of what you’re taking.
The most serious risk in all this is self-diagnosis. If you have a cold for instance, antibiotics will not help you and can even be detrimental to your health. Using antibiotics for the wrong reasons can cause bacteria to become resistant, making future infections more difficult to treat. Antibiotics are also each very different and are only effective against certain bacteria -without a lab test it’s difficult to determine which antibiotic will be effective.
If you plan to stock-pile drugs, it’s important to stockpile relevant information along with them. Do your research now while the information is available. Create a hard file (of actual paper) for every drug you have -its drug interactions, recommended treatment for, and dosage recommendations.A “Physician’s Desk Reference” is not cheap, but can help you better understand what you might be doing. If you’re part of a group of people preparing to be self-sufficient, at least one person in your group should be seriously educating themselves as much as possible. No amount of personal research can compare to legitimate medical training, but it’s surely better than winging it on a sick child.
On The Flipside-Not all human drugs are safe for animals. Just one extra-strength Tylenol, for example, is enough to kill a cat. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or naproxen are the most common cause of pet poisoning in small animals, and can cause serious problems even in minimal doses. Pets are extremely sensitive to these drugs and may cause stomach and intestinal ulcers and even kidney damage. Never assume what’s safe for a child is safe for a small animal, that’s not how it works. If you have animals, do the necessary research for their care as well.
Prevention is always the best medicine. A healthy diet and regular exercise alone can help maintain a system that’s inhospitable to bacteria and viruses, and I’m not talking about an actual “diet”, or hitting the gym -just 20 minutes of walking every day can have a major impact on your health, and simply adding fruit to your diet can seriously boost your immune system.
“An apple (cider vinegar tonic) a day, keeps the doctor, and his horse pills, away.”