(April 05, 2005)
by Jeanne Ringe
Reprinted with Permission

The FDA’s decision to keep Vioxx® and Celebrex® on the market was applauded by many who are dependent on these drugs. For patients with fibromyalgia, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are lifesavers—but at what cost?
There is no question they provide much-needed relief from the agony of living with chronic pain, but the relief lasts only until it’s time for the next pill. Long-term use can alleviate pain, but it can also create plenty of collateral damage in the body.

Dr. Alberto Peña of Sanoviv Medical Institute, an integrative medicine hospital just south of San Diego, says he has seen plenty of evidence of NSAIDs’ toxicity.
Earlier this year, doctors at Sanoviv were concerned about high levels of proteins in the urine of a fibromyalgia patient, a clear indication of kidney trouble. She presented with chronic pain, exhaustion and swelling in her legs. After the Complete Health Assessment, Sanoviv’s threeday intensive functional and diagnostic testing, a team evaluated her medical condition, and prescribed a course of treatment that improved her condition and got her off the NSAIDs. What had they found? The NSAIDs had actually caused more problems for her than they had solved. Once she went off them and improved her diet, her kidney problems and edema disappeared, and the 31-year-old went home healthier, happier and pain-free.
Dr. Peña says he is seeing more and more young patients with chronic inflammatory diseases. He attributes it to poor diet, stress and overuse of NSAIDs. “If you eat tons of bread, soda, and animal fat, then take NSAIDs, your body will lose its ability to produce its own anti-inflammatory prostaglandins,” Peña says. But easing people off NSAIDs is not the complete answer. “You have to address the fundamentals of the case—what may really be the cause of the disease,” he adds.



Sanoviv offers its patients (or “guests”) a healthy alternative to dependency on drugs like Vioxx, Celebrex, and other pain relievers.

Each guest is assigned a doctor, a dentist and a psychologist. Together, they monitor progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan. This holistic approach to caring for patients is at the core of the Sanoviv philosophy: to treat the person as an individual, with a genetic, an environmental, and a physical life story.

In addition to complementary medical treatments, plus a healthful (and as this reporter can attest, delicious) diet, the program includes gentle exercise, cleansing (colon hydrotherapy), massage and other therapeutic bodywork, and classes on nutrition, wellness and stress management. For $100 additional per day, a companion can share the room, meals and classes.

The beautiful oceanfront rooms, with nontoxic furnishings and organic cotton linens, ultra-purified water in all the taps, and professional, friendly staff and doctors, make Sanoviv a shining example of what good medical care can and should be in the twenty-first century.