Prescription Drugs A "Pandemic"

No doubt you recall one of the more popular articles I've posted in recent months about the spike in prescription-related deaths at the beginning of each month due to errors at the pharmacy. These days, more health professionals than ever are beginning to embrace my vision to transform the existing drug-based paradigm for one gets to the true heart of disease.

So much so, a new article describes prescription drugs as "a major cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly in the elderly." No wonder, considering about 5 percent of all acute hospital admissions are a result of taking prescribed medicines in all age groups. Seniors older than 70 are the most vulnerable group of all with the number of problems rising to 10-12 percent of all acute admissions.

The author identifies several factors that exascerbate the problem:

  • Imprecise diagnosis.
  • Inadequate undergraduate and postgraduate education in pharmacology and therapeutics.
  • The uncritical application of evidence-based medicine.
  • The outstanding development of new drugs and their sometimes unjustified promotion.

At the top of the list is over-prescribing, the unnecessary use of drugs, leading to what the author calls "100 percent risk and 0 percent benefit." The list includes cough medicines, high potency steroids for mild eczema, proton pump inhibitors, diazepam for every trace of anxiety and antibiotics for the common cold, influenza, laryngitis and acute bronchitis

Antibiotics are particularly problematic because more than 70 percent of upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses which will not be affected by them. Instead, antibiotics devastate the normal bacterial flora throughout the body and make it more likely that viruses will flourish, secondary pathogenic bacteria will supervene and resistant strains will emerge.

Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice Volume 10 Issue 4 Page 491 November 2004 (full free text article)

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