The website DrugDigest.com, which allows anyone to check if their prescription drugs will negatively interact with each other, contains a very important disclosure: "Not all drug interactions are known or reported in the literature, and new drug interactions are continually being reported." Since new drugs are continually being approved by the FDA, it is nearly impossible to know how they'll interact with the hundreds of thousands of other pharmaceuticals on the market.
How are drug interactions discovered? Not until long after patients complain of adverse side effects, which means that if you currently take multiple medications, you are at risk for a potentially unknown drug interaction. After all, your risk of a drug interaction increases exponentially with every additional drug. If the math is followed to its logical conclusion, a person is guaranteed to suffer at least one adverse interaction if they take 10 drugs.
All drugs have side effects when taken by themselves. But when taken together, those side effects can multiply each other, or even enhance the action of one of the drugs so much as to cause serious harm. Even death. This is one reason why medical errors continue to be the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
Andrew Dexbury, MD, associate professor of geriatrics at the University of Birmingham, Alabama, has said: "The average person over 65 [in the United States] now uses seven different medications per day, four prescribed and three over-the-counter. There's never been a controlled study on a human being involving more than three drugs circulating in the body at the same time. So no one knows, scientifically, exactly what's going on in your body when you take seven, 10, or a dozen at a time." (emphasis mine)
Doctors in the USA are extremely worried about senior citizens who take seven different medications. Very real problems can and do occur every day, and it is essential that doctors and patients work together to prevent drug interactions. If you are being prescribed drugs by multiple doctors, it is essential that you inform each doctor about all the drugs you are taking.
That's why is it no understatement to say that this recent article from Britain's Daily Mail is shocking:
Average 17.8 Prescriptions For Every Person In England
More prescription drugs than ever are being given out, with the annual bill soaring to nearly £9 billion.
The amount of medicine dispensed has jumped almost 70 per cent over the last decade.
Last night fears were expressed that doctors were taking the easy way out when reaching for the prescription pad instead of considering other treatments.
There were also concerns about the huge amount of medicine which is simply wasted by patients.
But experts denied that Britain is over-dependent on drugs, saying an ageing population and more emphasis on preventing disease inevitably pushes up prescribing rates.
Acording to the figures from the NHS Information Centre, diabetes is the most costly condition, accounting for £713 million in England last year.
There has been a surge of 75 per cent in four years in type 2 diabetes, which is caused by obesity and lack of exercise.
Doctors prescribe insulin to treat it, but recent research has suggested that the disease can go into remission with exercise and dieting.
The highest number of drugs dispensed last year was for heart conditions, closely followed by painkillers and cholesterol-busting drugs including statins.
More than 7 million in Britain currently rely on statins, a 350 per cent increase on the 2 million users a mere four years ago. It means one in three over-45s take the cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Antidepressants are also on the rise, despite efforts to prescribe talking therapies rather than drugs.
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Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
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