Summary & Study Guide - Mind over Meds - Lee Tang - ebook

Are you using any of these medications? antibiotics; statins; medications for GERD; antihistamines; medications for the common cold and the flu; sleep aids; steroids; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); psychiatric medications for adults; psychiatric medications for children; medications for ADHD; Opioids; antihypertensive drugs; and medications for diabetes The must-read summary of “Mind Over Meds: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better–and When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own” by Andrew Weil, MD. This complete summary of Dr. Andrew Weil’s book outlines the risks and benefits of reliance on medications on the above fourteen categories of medications that are most over-prescribed, overused, and misused. It provides reliable integrative-medicine approaches (with less drug use) to treating common ailments such as depression, high blood pressures, allergies, and the common cold. This guide includes: Book Summary—The summary helps you understand the key ideas and recommendations. Online Videos—On-demand replay of public lectures, and seminars on the topics covered in the chapter.Value-added of this guide: Save time Understand key concepts quickly Expand your knowledgeThe information in this book can help you become a wise consumer—to know whether drugs are really needed, and weigh their benefits against possible risks.

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Table of Contents

Title Page



A Caution to the Reader

Books by Lee Tang



1. Antibiotics

2. Statins

3. Medications for GERD

4. Antihistamines

5. Medications for the Common Cold and the Flu

6. Sleep Aids

7. Steroids

8. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

9. Psychiatric Medications for Adults

10. Psychiatric Medications for Children and Adolescents

11. Medications for ADHD

12. Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain

13. Antihypertensive Drugs

14. Medications for Diabetes

15. Medications for Osteopenia and Other Preconditions

16. Overmedication of Children

17. Overmedication of the Elderly

18. Getting a Pharmacist’s View


About the Author

Summary &Study Guide


Know When Drugs Are NecessaryWhen Alternatives Are Betterand When to Let Your BodyHeal on Its Own

Lee Tang

Title: Summary & Study Guide - Mind over Meds

Subtitle: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better - and When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own

Author: Lee Tang

Publisher: LMT Press (

Copyright © 2017 by Lee Tang

All rights reserved. Aside from brief quotations for media coverage and reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced or distributed in any form without the author’s permission. Thank you for supporting authors and a diverse, creative culture by purchasing this book and complying with copyright laws.

First Edition: July 2017 

Issued in print and electronic formats.

ISBN 9780995943155 (ebook)

ISBN-13: 9781973833376 (paperback)

ISBN-10: 1973833379 (paperback)

Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: The publisher and author make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of these contents and disclaim all warranties such as warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. The website addresses in the book were correct at the time going to print. However, the publisher and author are not responsible for the content of third-party websites, which are subject to change.

To my wife, Lillian, who is the source of energy and love for everything I do, and to Andrew and Amanda: watching you grow up has been a privilege.


IF YOU ARE on the medications discussed in this book, and if what you read makes you uneasy about staying on them, keep this advice in mind:

Never stop taking a prescribed medication suddenly.

It is always best to wean off medication gradually and under the supervision of a health professional.

Never attempt to discontinue medication without first putting in place other measures to manage the condition being treated.


For a complete list of books by Lee Tang and information about the author, visit


“Mind Over Meds: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better–and When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own” by Andrew Weil, MD.

Book Abstract

The book outlines the benefits and risks of reliance on medications on fourteen categories of medications that are most overprescribed, misprescribed, overused, and misused. It presents science that proves drugs aren’t always the best option and provides reliable integrative-medicine approaches (with less drug use) to treating common ailments such as depression, high blood pressures, allergies, and the common cold.


Andrew Weil, M.D.,is a pioneer in integrative medicine, a healing-oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit. He is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, where he is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health and the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology.

Important Note About This Study Guide

This guide is a summary and not a critique or a review of the book. It does not offer judgment or opinion on the content of the book. This summary may not be organized chapter-wise but is an overview of the main ideas, viewpoints, and arguments from the book. It is NOT meant to be read as a replacement of the book which it summarizes but, instead, a supplement for review of the book's main premises and to provide commentary and additional resources.


Drug therapy is only one method of treating disease and maintaining health. Diet, lifestyle modification, and other non-drug therapies can be effective in treating chronic illnesses such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and allergies. But lifestyle modification is demanding, and non-drug therapies need the active participation of patients and may take more time to produce results. Many patients would rather skip the effort and take a pill.

So why is this cause for concern?


Adverse drug reactions are America’s fourth leading cause of death. All drugs have multiple effects on various organs and body functions. For example, antibiotics we use to kill disease-causing bacteria may alter liver and kidney function and interfere with digestion. Do not assume that over-the-counter medications are safe. They can cause serious adverse reactions on their own and also interact with other drugs to increase risk.


Too often, these medications only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause of the disease. For example, insulin is very effective in lowering the blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes. But it does not cure the underlying cause of type 2 diabetes which is the condition of insulin resistance. High blood sugar level is just the symptoms. The insulin therapy increases the level of insulin in the body, making the body more insulin resistant; i.e., worsening the condition.


When used long-term, many medications can prolong or worsen the conditions they relieve. This is because the body reacts to the drug actions and become resistant to the drug. That’s why people taking antidepressants to treat depression often find it hard to get off the medication. And using them for long periods can worsen the depression.


IN THESE CHAPTERS, we will discuss the unintended consequences of relying on medications on fourteen categories of medications that are most overprescribed, misprescribed, overused and misused. In each chapter, we will discuss the benefits and risks of the medication, and how to integrate the drug therapy with non-drug therapies to effectively manage the conditions.



Antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial infections, such as ear infections, strep throat, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases, Lyme disease, and acne. Common classes of antibiotics include penicillin, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, macrolides, sulfonamides, tetracyclines, and quinolones.


Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance develops when bacteria evolve the ability to neutralize the drug in response to its presence. Bacteria can collect multiple resistance traits over time and become immune to entire classes of antibiotics. The prevalence of resistant bacteria is due to the overuse of antibiotics by human and in food production.


The toxicity of antibiotics varies with the class and range from mild to life-threatening.

Antibiotic Classed

Toxic Effects

Penicillins, Cephalosporins

Rashes, diarrhea


Loss of hearing, kidney damage

Macrolides, e.g., erythromycin

Nausea, abdominal pain


Discoloring of the teeth of young children


Sun sensitivity


Inflammation of the eyes, sun sensitivity, insomnia, fatigue, tendon rupture, and C. diff infections

Allergic Reactions

Antibiotic allergies affect one in fifteen people, with penicillins and cephalosporins being the most common triggers. They can occur in response to unexpected exposures, such as an antibiotic in the food.

Antibiotic allergy may occur as immediate or delayed reactions. Immediate reactions are marked by a lip or facial swelling, hives, itchy throat, vomiting, and anaphylaxis (allergic shock). The symptoms of delayed reactions include rash or swelling, blood abnormalities, and organ dysfunction (hepatitis, nephritis).

Damage to the Microbiome

Antibiotics upset the body’s balance of gut microbes, making the gut lining more permeable, allowing large molecules that normally stay within the gut to leak into the systemic circulation. This can induce immune responses that might lead to allergy and autoimmunity. It may also help the transmission of dangerous germs.

Infants born to women given antibiotics during pregnancy, or delivered via cesarean section, may start life with an abnormal microbiome. This is a concern because the composition of the gut flora plays a major role in the infants’ health, both physical and mental.

In 15 percent of patients with antibiotic-associated diarrhea, the cause is C. diff, an “opportunistic” organism that proliferates when antibiotics kill off the good bacteria that normally keep it in check. Every year about 500,000 people in the United States acquire C. diff infections associated with antibiotic treatments; about 30,000 people die.

Mitochondrial Damage

Mitochondria are the cell’s powerhouse. They produce energy essential for cells to function. Antibiotics can damage the mitochondrial function by impairing mechanisms that protect mitochondria from oxidative damages, or by altering the mitochondrial DNA.


The most effective approaches to avoiding transmissible infectious illness are washing your hands with soap often and staying home when you are sick. But sanitizing our surroundings with bleach and other disinfectants will weaken our immunity. Constant exposure to an array of biodiverse microorganisms is an effective defense against infection. It may also reduce the risks of allergy, autoimmune disease, and other health problems.

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that confer health benefits. They include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, other species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. When probiotic supplements are given with antibiotics, they reduce the risk of developing digestive symptoms, including C. difficile diarrheal illness, by 64 percent. Regular consumption of probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, yogurt, kefir, and miso is better than taking supplements.

Foods that contain bitter compounds, such as dark leafy greens, the peel on certain vegetables and fruits, coffee, and dark chocolate, enhance immunity and prevent infection in the digestive tract, ear, nose, and throat, increasing defenses against colds, sore throat, and flu.

Raw, unprocessed honey also can boost immunity and prevent wound infection.

Botanicals such as astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), echinacea (Echinacea spp.), and elderberry (Sambucus nigra), can also boost immunity and help prevent infection. So can medicinal mushrooms like turkey tail (Trametes versicolor), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), maitake (Grifola frondosa), and shiitake (Lentinula edodes).

Thyme and sage also have antimicrobial properties.

Essential oils of eucalyptus, tea tree, and lemongrass, are selectively effective against various types of bacteria, including famously resistant ones like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).


Antibiotics can be important for people with overwhelming bacterial infections. But we must consider their detrimental impacts on short- and long-term health.

We are coming to the end of the antibiotic era as bacteria have developed resistance to our latest and strongest drugs. This may force us to explore other ways of preventing and fighting infection. Alternative approaches are important for decreasing not just the human use of antibiotics but also their use in food production. Meanwhile, heed this advice:

Reserve antibiotics for treatment of severe bacterial infections.

Never take an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection that is likely viral.

Do not go on long-term antibiotic therapy.

If you eat meat, choose ones certified to be free of antibiotics.