My Patients, Friends, and Family Need to Know: Fewer ‘meds’ = Better Health!

For a long time, people believed they could get healthy by taking medicines. Yet, in recent years there’s been a lot of publicity about the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The result is a trend away from medicines and toward natural health care. Sadly, however, many people still take far too many pills.

In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, prescription drug usage in the United States is continuing to rise. A recent report finds the number of prescriptions filled each year increased by 39% between 1999 and 2009, and the amount of money spent was $234 billion in 2008. The average American fills 12 prescriptions each year!

It shouldn’t be this way, according to a new research study that concluded both lives and money would be saved if medical doctors prescribed FEW drugs. What’s surprising is that the research was conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy! The report appeared in the online edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine as part of that journal’s “Less is More” series.

According to Bruce Lambert, the paper’s co-author and UIC professor of pharmacy administration, several studies over the past decade have concluded that the use of many new and frequently prescribed medications was either harmful or not beneficial to patients.

Medical doctors need to move away from the mindset that they need to prescribe the “latest and greatest” new drugs. Instead, they should prescribe fewer and only time-tested medications, said Dr. Gordon Schiff, associate professor of medicine at Harvard University, who co-authored the report.

The top “principle of conservative prescribing” suggested by the researchers is one that doctors of chiropractic already practice: The report urged people and their doctors to: “Consider non-drug therapies such as diet, exercise or physical therapy; look for and treat underlying causes rather than just mask symptoms with drugs; emphasize prevention rather than treatment.”

Another research project, this one conducted in Great Britain and published by the British Medical Journal, found that general practitioners prescribed high-risk medications for thousands of patients who – because of their health history or status – should never have received them.

Researchers pointed out how improper prescribing can cause considerable harm, and noted that “adverse drug events [negative side effects] account for 6.5% of all hospital admissions, over half of which are judged to be preventable.”

Dr. Russ Altman, a professor of bioengineering, genetics and medicine at Stanford University said, “Many side effects from drug interactions (not all) are exacerbations of known side effects of the single drugs that are made worse by the two drugs together.” Dr. Altman co-authored a study in the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics that found a widely prescribed antidepressant used in conjunction with a common cholesterol-lowering medication caused unexpected increases in blood sugar levels.

When it comes to prescription and over-the-counter drugs, the medical journal’s right – less IS more!

Thank You to the The Chiropractic Journal For the Article!


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