Friday, September 01, 2006

Out, out, damn pills

…Must we take all this stuff? HA had an almost-fatal medication reaction four years ago—and still takes four pills.

…One doctor looked over the list and said, “I like these.” You take them!

…Amy Dockser Marcus, writing in the Wall Street Journal in 2003, said a lot of docs today try to steer people away from taking so many meds, especially those from the drugstore shelves that people tend to layer on willy-nilly.

…This is “less-is-more” medicine, Marcus says.

…Studies show that OTC cough syrups, such as Robitussin and Dimetapp, work no better than a sugar placebo.

…Some docs think fevers serve a purpose—to “cook” out infection. If the person is miserable, sponging and drinking fluids can help.

…Colds seem to last the same amount of time whether you treat them or not.

…Coughing up yellow gunk, docs used to think, meant an infection was bacterial—bring out the antibiotics.

…Now, they know viral infections can also produce this delightful substance. Antibiotics are no good for those—and giving them for no reason just allows bacteria to become more resistant to their effects.

…Some decongestants, such as Sudafed, can raise blood pressure. Anti-inflammatories can have the opposite effect on stomach lining. Aspirin and ibuprofen can thin blood and pop little bleeds.

…At the same time, docs are writing out more prescriptions than ever. So many drugs, so many older people, so little time!

…Most viruses last three weeks, yet most people don’t give in, admit they feel bad, and spring for a doctor until week 2. Then they take home the drugs, take them, and feel better.

…In many cases, they would have felt better anyway.

…Some suggestions (you have to decide): If you get a cough, steam in the shower and drink hot tea with honey. Headache? Cut back on caffeine (you may feel worse before you feel better).

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