Is Medicine Making You Sick?
Much has been said about the opioid crisis of late, and indeed, it is a serious issue. The dose and quantity of pills frequently prescribed following routine surgeries is a well-documented problem. But if you are under the conception that prescription opioids are the only problem facing consumers when it comes to medications, you are sadly mistaken.
Alarming Medication Data
While the population in this country has risen by about one-fifth in the past twenty years, prescription drug usage has risen by a staggering 85 percent.And Americans who take more than five prescriptions has increased three-fold in the past two decades. Older Americans use even more drugs, with nine percent taking 10 medications. Are they necessary? Of course, many are, But caution is advised when one considers the facts.
- 53 percent of patients receive medications from multiple providers. That increases the chance of miscommunication and could be a factor in drug errors;
- 55 percent of people in this country take daily medications, at an average of four different prescriptions;
- In addition to prescriptions, three out of four Americans report taking an over-the-counter drug on a regular basis;
- Over one-third of patients report that no physician has ever taken inventory of their drug usage in an attempt to see what could be eliminated from the regimen;
- One study of patient prescriptions identified potential problems with drug interactions in 90 percent of medication lists. Half of those were serious.
The detriment associated with improperly prescribed medications in this country is astounding. Emergency rooms saw well over one million patients as a result of unfavorable drug effects, with nearly ten percent of those resulting in fatalities. As many as half of those hospital visits and deaths could have been prevented.
Problems with Pills
The problems associated with prescription drugs come in three key categories: taking too much medication, using medications that really aren’t needed, and taking medications prematurely. Each of these issues has the potential to have serious impacts on the central nervous system, the respiratory system, digestion, circulation, and other body systems.
- Too many: Prescription medications are often associated with troublesome side effects, so doctors prescribe additional medications to deal with those;
- Unnecessary: Many symptoms experienced by patients are misdiagnosed and treated with medications that compound problems or lead to serious side effects;
- Premature: Many conditions, such as pre-diabetes, could be handled with lifestyle changes, but some doctors jump to prescriptions to handle the problems associated with blood levels that are in the high-but-normal range, without giving more holistic approaches the chance to work.
The money associated with all of this unnecessary medication is in the hundreds of billions of dollars every year. One estimate puts the cash involved in prescribing unneeded medicines and treating the confounding effects of those drugs at $200 billion. Additionally, because prescription medications are so costly, many individuals skimp on grocery budgets and other monthly costs in order to afford them.
Work with an Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered serious harm due to dangerous prescription drug issues, the experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton can help. Contact us in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a free, confidential consultation.