Giving and getting medical advice online.

December 19th, 2001, 3:41 am#1

Basic rule-don't do it. If someone tells you to try a medication or not to take another, ignore the advice. Any questions involving your medications should be resolved between you and your doctor and pharmacist.

If you are concerned about a person who is on a medication, whether it be online or in your real world life, who is having what you may think is an adverse effect, be a real friend and tell them to call their doctor who prescribed it, or, if they are unavailable call their pharmacist and if symptoms or reactions seem really threatening, call their local hospital emergency room. Let these people who are familiar with the patient or familiar with emergency procedures tell the person to stop it if they feel it is a problem. Just telling a person to stop or start a medication is possibly stopping a medication that really might be necessary, or one that may require medical supervision in order to get off of it safely.

We have posted on the board numerous times about giving medical advice on the board. Please honor this policy for it is in fact a membership requirement. Posts that give medical advice will be pulled and repeating of such posts will result in posting privileges being revoked.

There is only one piece of medical advice that we are comfortable saying applies to everyone here at Freedom. That is that smoking is deadly, and avoiding ever relapsing to this deadly addiction requires continuing to swallow our tough medicine of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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February 12th, 2002, 11:22 pm#2

This post was on medication advice--but really applies to any kind of medical advice. We can bring up possible reactions that a person may have from quitting--and we may say at times that this symptom or that symptom may occur when quitting. But that does not mean symptoms should be ignored or written off, especially any symptom lasting beyond a couple of weeks.

Then there are those symptoms that may happen the first few days, which are very likely from quitting smoking but, because of the nature of the symptom can't safely be written off either. Symptoms such as chest pains, which are common when quitting, can also be a warning of something happening totally independent of quitting and needs to be evaluated, even early on in a quit. The best advice we can give is always if you are experiencing a reaction out of the ordinary that is causing you concern, call your doctor, explain to him and her when you stopped smoking and what you are now experiencing and ask him or her if a visit is warranted. The other piece of life saving advice that we can give you is to prevent new diseases and minimize the risk if many crippling and life threatening conditions simply entails knowing from this point on to never take another puff!

Joel

Edited to include following videos:

Is anyone else experiencing the symptom...?

"Is this a symptom of quitting smoking?" (part 2)

"Will this get better?"
Last edited by Joel on February 22nd, 2015, 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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February 25th, 2002, 7:58 pm#3

As I mentioned in a post earlier today, I was doing seminars this past week for health care professionals this week. I also think www.whyquit.com was made available to many of the doctors who were not in the actual seminars. I would suspect that some of these health care professionals are concerned about sending patient to a site like this and the patients getting medical advice an opinions on areas other than quitting smoking.

I thought it would be a good idea to get it right out there that this does not happen here at Freedom. Quitting smoking is a topic important enough and comprehensive enough to warrant a site that is quite busy without having to expand out to other areas of health care. I want all medical professionals to feel comfortable sending their patients to us for insights of how to quit.

We will teach your patients that quitting is important, possible and that staying quit has numerous advantages over smoking--in many areas of their lives. The most important thing we can do for your patients is to help them understand that to quit smoking and stay free is no more complicated than knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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April 12th, 2002, 6:12 am#4

Running in and out here. There was a post from one member to another member advising the use of an over the counter medication. We have strict policies here at Freedom about giving such advice on the board. Use of medications, whether prescribed or over the counter are topics that members should talk over with their doctors and pharmacists, people who have all the information about the individual and the potential side effects of specific drugs.

Any posts giving direct medical or medication advice will be pulled.

Joel
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May 30th, 2002, 6:49 pm#5

I just had an email from someone writing me concerned with chest pains and wanted to know if he or she should call a doctor. I don't think the person was a Freedom member and may not have even ever seen www.whyquit.com since the email was sent to my old AOL address which I seldom use and which I don't think is referenced anywhere at whyquit.com anymore. I told the person to contact a doctor and to look into www.whyquit.com to help secure his or her quit. Just thought I'd bring this up in case the person looks in here.

Joel
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June 4th, 2002, 11:22 pm#6

This post addresses the symptoms such as chest pains or any condition that can be indicative of any serious condition. Even in the first few days of a quit such symptoms should not be ignored or written off to withdrawal even though quitting may be the reason at these points in time. But in the case of symptoms weeks or months into a quit, it is much more likely that something other than not smoking is causing the reaction. Life goes on without smoking and things can go wrong with a person's health and anyone experiencing such symptoms should always seek professional medical attention.
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June 10th, 2002, 1:24 am#7

I just edited a post that was talking about a popular herbal remedy for depression. We do not give advice, recommendations, or critiques of any kind of medications or products here at Freedom. What may work safely and efficiently for one person may not work or even have adversive side effects for another. All medication issues are to be dealt with by your personal physicians and any posts mentioning specific medications or products will be edited or deleted.

Joel
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September 13th, 2002, 6:40 am#8

Sorry Joel, I didn't even realize I was asking for advice or that anyone would follow anything that was put up here as if it came from a doctor. I was just wondering what other people's experiences were so I can maby compare them to my own. But your right, sorry I posted that about the Zyban.
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September 13th, 2002, 6:45 am#9

Hello Karen:

That is okay. I was working feverishly here to bring up our general medical advice policy post and the string we have covering Zyban. I only have a few minutes today to be on the board and trying to address as many issues as I can quickly see. I hope the material on the Zyban string helps add some perspective here.

Joel
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September 13th, 2002, 9:06 am#10

Karen, I didn't get a chance to read your post before you deleted it but I did visit the thread only to find out that no one was home On a whole I think we've done a fair job in the thread Joel pulled up to address as many factual issues about Zyban and Wellbutrin as possible. I do hope it sheds light on your concerns. You'll find links back to the official web sites of both Wellbutrin and Zyban. Do take a bit of time to make yourself aware of the warnings.


I know one thing above all else Karen. It takes nicotine to relapse and without it we can guarantee a winner every time !!! There is absolutely no reason why all of us can't go the distance. Today is doable! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long. John
Last edited by John (Gold) on March 25th, 2009, 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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December 23rd, 2002, 1:13 am#11

Smoking did not cause everything. It causes a whole lot of things though and many things that it does not cause, it makes worse. On the same token, quitting does not cause everything. Quitting is usually accompanied with many repairs, but there are also some adjustments (see Medication adjustments) that go on that may need a partnership with your physicians to get worked out.

My general rule of advice is whatever happens the first few days of a quit, whether it is physical or psychological reactions, blame it on not smoking. It is probably the cause of most early quit reactions. If it is a symptom to a condition that could be life threatening, such as severe chest pains or signs or symptoms of a stroke-contact your doctor immediately. While it is probably nothing and just a side effect of quitting, in the long shot that it is something else coincidentally happening the week you are quitting, you need to get it checked out.

Things happening weeks, months, years or decades after your quits though should not ever be assumed to be a quit smoking reaction. It is life going on without smoking. Some of these things may trigger smoking thoughts-especially if they are similar to conditions you did have in the past when you were a smoker. The situation now is a first time experience with a prior feeling where smoking was integrates thus creating smoking thoughts. But even in this case, the condition is creating a smoking thought, it is not that your smoking memories or your smoking past is creating the condition.

Life goes on without smoking. It is likely to go on longer and it is likely that you will be healthier at each and every stage than you would have been if you had continued smoking. Your life will continue to stay better and likely last long longer as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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February 13th, 2003, 4:24 am#12

This post is important and can't be brought up enough. While the post was originally geared at advice about medications, in fact it really applies to any kind of medical advice. We can bring up possible reactions that a person may have from quitting--and we may say at times that this symptom or that symptom may occur when quitting. But that does not mean symptoms should be ignored or written off, especially any symptom lasting beyond a couple of weeks.

Then there are those symptoms that may happen the first few days, which are very likely from quitting smoking but, because of the nature of the symptom can't safely be written off either. Symptoms such as chest pains, which are common when quitting, can also be a warning of something happening totally independent of quitting and needs to be evaluated, even early on in a quit.

The best advice we can give is always if you are experiencing a reaction out of the ordinary that is causing you concern, call your doctor, explain to him and her when you stopped smoking and what you are now experiencing and ask him or her if a visit is warranted. The other piece of life saving advice that we can give you is to prevent new diseases and minimize the risk if many crippling and life threatening conditions simply entails knowing from this point on to never take another puff!
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March 15th, 2003, 7:36 am#13

I had to bring this one up quickly before. I deleted a post from a new member who wrote that he was upping a prescription medication in order to ease his quitting symptoms. He was also asking what others thought of the idea. Considering it was his first post I am guessing he hasn't been reading much at Freedom.

We in fact have a number of new members starting to participate. I am bringing up a number of posts to layout how we operate here at Freedom. For the record medical advice posts are going to be pulled and repeat violations will be cause for pulling of membership and posting priviledges.

The only advice we give on taking of drugs is that to stay nicotine free you must stop delivering nicotine and to stay smoke free means knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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May 11th, 2003, 4:15 am#14

Then there are those symptoms that may happen the first few days, which are very likely from quitting smoking but, because of the nature of the symptom can't safely be written off either. Symptoms such as chest pains, which are common when quitting, can also be a warning of something happening totally independent of quitting and needs to be evaluated, even early on in a quit.

The best advice we can give is always if you are experiencing a reaction out of the ordinary that is causing you concern, call your doctor, explain to him and her when you stopped smoking and what you are now experiencing and ask him or her if a visit is warranted. The other piece of life saving advice that we can give you is to prevent new diseases and minimize the risk if many crippling and life threatening conditions simply entails knowing from this point on to never take another puff!
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November 9th, 2003, 8:54 pm#15

I saw where a member wrote that while we are not allowed to give medical advice on the board, she felt as if she needed to advice any person who was having an extended cough one piece of medical advice which was to see a physician. This piece of advice is fine. So I guess this piece should have ended with the following statement:

There are only two kinds of medical advice that we are comfortable saying applies to everyone here at Freedom. They are that if you are experiencing any symptoms that are not normal and concern you, then you should consult your personal physician, and that smoking is deadly, and to avoid ever relapsing to this deadly addiction requires continuing to swallow our tough medicine of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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January 5th, 2004, 7:28 am#16

I normally tell people who experience wild or bizarre reactions the first few days not to be surprised or unduly alarmed, it is likely from not smoking. But at the same time they should not totally ignore certain symptoms, in case in the long shot that something else is happening just coincidently at the same time as they are quitting smoking. The symptom of muscle tightness is often felt through out the body. Back aches, neck pains such as those experienced from times of extreme stress, even leg cramps can be felt by some. Chest tightness too can be experienced. While quitting smoking is the usual reason behind the reaction, for obvious safety reasons it is prudent to get the symptoms checked with ones doctor. You just don't want to take the chance that you were the exception to the rule, that the chest pain was actually a signal of real heart trouble.

I have literally had over 4,500 people in smoking clinics over a 26 year time period and had only had two people actually have heart attacks within a week of quitting. And they were both people who were quitting because of doctors advice that a heart attack was an imminent danger because of pre-existing conditions. So while I am not trying to say that the risk of a heart attack is high from quitting, in fact your risk of heart attack decreases upon cessation and relatively quickly, there still is a risk as there is with all smokers, ex-smokers and even all never smokers. Ignoring a cardiac symptom is just an unnecessary risk that no one should take. It is better to check in with your doctor and to be safe than sorry. Doctors are often very receptive to work with a person when they are quitting for they often recognize the serious nature of the effort.

So as for symptoms, don't be surprised or alarmed by anything, but be cautious and stay aware. If you experience any symptom that would normally be a reason to get checked out immediately, follow through with the same expedience now. Life goes on without smoking and things can always happen.

Also, once over the first few days, be really cautious of blaming symptoms on smoking cessation. While some reactions can linger, especially coughing and excessive phlegm reactions, other factors can happen too, especially during cold and flu seasons. Pretty much stay aware and follow the normal precautions you followed before while smoking. Unless as a smoker you never did anything, for some smokers are intimidated to go to the doctor when having symptoms for shear embarrassment that the doctor would just chastise them for smoking and tell them to stop. Rather than putting up with the admonishments, they would ignore problems in the past.

As an ex-smoker you won't face the same complications. Again, doctors are often more prone to work with you when they see you working for yourself, and not to ignore symptoms writing them off to a normal smoker's ailments. They are often more supportive when you quit.

So to stay healthy, learn to listen to your body. Smokers are notoriously bad at this, for their body was likely telling them to quit for a long time and they ignored it. But the day the quit smoking was a good indication that they were now working with their body to maintain health. To keep a good partnership going with your doctor, other health professionals, your family, friends and your own body always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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June 25th, 2004, 11:34 pm#17

We have posted on the board numerous times about giving medical advice on the board. Please honor this policy for it is in fact a membership requirement. Posts that give medical advice will be pulled and repeating of such posts will result in posting privileges being revoked.

There is only one piece of medical advice that we are comfortable saying applies to everyone here at Freedom. That is that smoking is deadly, and avoiding ever relapsing to this deadly addiction requires continuing to swallow our tough medicine of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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August 7th, 2004, 12:31 am#18

I just removed a post suggesting the use of specific over the counter medications to aid in sleep disturbances when quitting. Besides this post, the strings Crutches to Quit Smoking and The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom futher explore why such advice should never be passed along at Freedom and why it will in fact be removed whenever it occurs. Also, repeated offenses will likely result in the loss of membership.

Joel
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September 1st, 2004, 3:21 am#19

There is only one piece of medical advice that we are comfortable saying applies to everyone here at Freedom. That is that smoking is deadly, and avoiding ever relapsing to this deadly addiction requires continuing to swallow our tough medicine of knowing to never take another puff!
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October 15th, 2004, 11:59 pm#20

Once over the first few days, be really cautious of blaming symptoms on smoking cessation. While some reactions can linger, especially coughing and excessive phlegm reactions, other factors can happen too, especially during cold and flu seasons. Pretty much stay aware and follow the normal precautions you followed before while smoking. Unless as a smoker you never did anything, for some smokers are intimidated to go to the doctor when having symptoms for shear embarrassment that the doctor would just chastise them for smoking and tell them to stop. Rather than putting up with the admonishments, they would ignore problems in the past. As an ex-smoker you won't face the same complications. Again, doctors are often more prone to work with you when they see you working for yourself, and not to ignore symptoms writing them off to a normal smoker's ailments. They are often more supportive when you quit.

So to stay healthy, learn to listen to your body. Smokers are notoriously bad at this, for their body was likely telling them to quit for a long time and they ignored it. But the day the quit smoking was a good indication that they were now working with their body to maintain health. To keep a good partnership going with your doctor, other health professionals, your family, friends and your own body always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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October 7th, 2005, 7:05 pm#21

We seem to be getting a few physicians, dentists and I suspect other allied health professionals using www.whyquit.com as a resource to pass along to their patients. I think that it is important for all professionals in the medical field to feel comfortable knowing that what we cover at www.whyquit.com and Freedom will not interfere with any medical advice that they give. We only cover one topic here at Freedom and that is smoking cessation. As our medical disclaimer states:
Medical Disclaimer
This site is not meant to replace the advice of any physician. Do not rely upon any information that you read here at Freedom (or that you obtain through posts, email, links) to replace consultations or advice received by qualified health professionals regarding your own specific situation. The information provided here at Freedom is intended as smoking cessation educational materials only and it should NEVER be construed as medical advice.

If you have any question in your mind regarding any lingering health concern, including depression or mental health, IMMEDIATELY seek medical assistance. If you are not satisfied with the advice being rendered by a physician, you always have the right to obtain a second medical opinion. We are not physicians or doctors here at Freedom. We are students and teachers of smoking cessation.

It is also important for you to understand that as a smoking cessation forum Freedom is staffed entirely by cessation educators who are not physicians, pharmacists or dietitians. Further, Freedom's Rules prohibit any member from rendering any medical advice to other members, from giving medication or herbal advice or recommendations or from giving dieting advice or recommendations, other than advice to seek the assistants of trained and qualified health care professionals.
Links
Freedom and its members may provide links to other Internet sites from time to time but Freedom from Tobacco's managers are not responsible for the availability or content of any other site, nor do they each individually endorse, warrant or guarantee the accuracy of the information at any other Internet site, including sites maintained by managers or members in other capacities.

There are organizations and individuals who have such disclaimers and policies to simply protect themselves legally. We have these policies though because we believe they are right for every individual reading here. We do all we can to make sure that any information or concepts picked up here at Freedom do not pose any medical risk to our readers.
When it comes to the treatment or management of any medical condition we believe that it is best for every person to deal with a qualified medical professional in their real world. The materials and concepts that we cover only gives information making it clear how people can improve their health and likely extend the productive years of their lives by simply making and sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff.
Joel
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July 20th, 2006, 6:07 am#22

No volunteer at this site shall render any medical, medication, herb, or dieting advice other than advice to seek the assistance of trained and qualified health care professionals.

There are organizations and individuals whose sites have disclaimers such as this to simply protect themselves legally. We have this policy because we believe it's right for every individual reading here. We do all we can to make sure that any information or concepts acquired here do not pose medical risks to readers.

When it comes to the treatment or management of any medical condition we sincerely believe that it is best for every person to deal with a qualified medical professional in their real world. The materials, concepts and information shared here allow readers to improve their health, and likely extend the productive years of their lives, by simply making and sticking to a personal commitment to Never Take Another Puff.
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April 29th, 2007, 7:48 pm#23

At Freedom, dieting advice falls under the category of medical advice. Do not ask for dieting advice at Freedom and don't give it. We have some general weight control articles available for our readers that I will attach below. As it says in our Courtesies & Rules :
MEDICAL ADVICE, MEDICATIONS, HERBS, EXERCISE, OR DIETING RECOMMENDATIONS - Members are not permitted to render advice or make recommendations on these topics. If you have specific health concerns, medication or herb questions or need exercise or dieting assistance, please seek the assistance of qualified professionals. Freedom is a smoking cessation forum staffed entirely by cessation educators who are not physicians, pharmacists or dietitians.
Members are limited to one Freedom membership per lifetime.
Continuing membership is conditioned upon compliance with
the forum Rules and Freedom's Relapse Policy
Patience in weight control issues
Eating Healthy - Blood Sugar
"I would rather be a little overweight and not smoking than underweight and dead
After I Lose Weight I Will Quit Smoking
Video addressing weight control issues for people quitting smoking
Last edited by Joel on November 11th, 2009, 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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November 17th, 2009, 11:45 pm#24

This post is important and can't be brought up enough. While the post was originally geared at advice about medications, in fact it really applies to any kind of medical advice. We can bring up possible reactions that a person may have from quitting--and we may say at times that this symptom or that symptom may occur when quitting. But that does not mean symptoms should be ignored or written off, especially any symptom lasting beyond a couple of weeks. Then there are those symptoms that may happen the first few days, which are very likely from quitting smoking but, because of the nature of the symptom can't safely be written off either. Symptoms such as chest pains, which are common when quitting, can also be a warning of something happening totally independent of quitting and needs to be evaluated, even early on in a quit. The best advice we can give is always if you are experiencing a reaction out of the ordinary that is causing you concern, call your doctor, explain to him and her when you stopped smoking and what you are now experiencing and ask him or her if a visit is warranted. The other piece of life saving advice that we can give you is to prevent new diseases and minimize the risk if many crippling and life threatening conditions simply entails knowing from this point on to never take another puff!
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Like