Thursday, March 20, 2014

Before you pop that pill-think

Every year, 3.8 billion prescriptions are filled in the US--an average of 13 per person. Each is approved by the FDA (which is no guarantee), but the combinations are not.

The combinations are on you--and your doctor. Taking a lot of different things is called polypharmacy.

Polypharmacy accounts for one-fourth of all hosp admissions each year. The oopsies.

You get into trouble by getting different things from different doctors with no one looking at the whole picture. You may continue a drug you don't need. Or you may take a double dose because two drugs have the same name, you forget, or one drug works on the side efx of another.

This especially applies to older people, who register more aches and pains and see more doctors, who in turn pump out the meds. A third of seniors take more than five prescription drugs. And then there are the over-the-counter things.

Someone dies of an unintended interaction every 19 seconds. This is more than die in car wrecks.

The next time you go to your doctor, ask if any pills can be eliminated. Over the years, I have refused a number of things. It may cost me, but I am cautious.

Just the other day, my primary said he no longer routinely tests everyone for Vit D deficiency--so many people were ending up on prescription D. Yes, sometimes this is trendy, this stuff.

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