November 29, 2018

Medication Abuse?

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Does it seem like more people take more medication than they used to?  In this world of quick fixes and pain control at all costs, many more people are taking prescription drugs. If you are an adult and do not take a regular prescription, you are now in the minority in America. It is not your imagination that more drugs are given than they have been in the past.

Between 1997 and 2016 the total number of prescriptions filled in the United States increased by 85%, yet the population only increased by 21%. A study recently found that about 8% of all prescriptions, or about $200 billion per year, are improper and/or unnecessary. 75% of doctor visits end in a prescription being given! 75% of Americans take at least one prescription regularly.

Adverse drug reactions (ADR) are medication errors, problems that came from taking multiple prescriptions, the misuse of antibiotics and/or inappropriate prescribing. The FDA says there are more than 2 million ADR’s every year, resulting in over 100,000 deaths. ADR’s are the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. ADR’s cost the U.S. about $136 billion per year.

Moreover, ADR’s are responsible for 1 out of 5 injuries or deaths per year among hospitalized patients. When an ADR occurs to a person in a hospital, it doubles their stay, cost and mortality rate.

Depending on your doctor to not prescribe drugs that react with each other is unwise, as is depending on the pharmacist to catch it. A recent study found that dangerous drug combinations are putting millions of lives at risk every year. 52% of the pharmacies were found to have failed at basic drug interaction detection.

Protect yourself from dangerous drug interactions. Every time you are prescribed any medication, specifically ask the doctor first, and the pharmacist next, if it has any interactions with any current medications you are taking. Assume nothing, ask and investigate everything for your own health’s’ sake. Make sure you actually need the drug they are attempting to give you, and that the drug they give you is actually for the present complaint.

Some medications are absolutely necessary for some conditions. Before becoming dependent on drugs for your life, take control of your health. Maintain a healthy weight, eat better, and get your exercise. These are simply very effective at helping you stay away from the medications.

The less medications your take, the less likely you will have an adverse reaction, or death. Look to the root cause of your problems first, not just for a quick masking of your symptoms.

This goes for most musculoskeletal and back problems. Doctors are quick to prescribe a pain pill, an anti-inflammatory drug or a muscle relaxer for these joint problems. But are they the cure or just a cover up? Why is that inflammation in that joint or spine? Something had to cause it. Is it something that can be fixed naturally by manipulation, exercise or therapy? Why not try the chiropractor before the medications? It may just save your life.