Too many Americans on prescription drugs

  • Article by: Paul John Scott
  • Updated: August 11, 2013 - 11:37 AM

During a given year, seven out of every 10 people in my town go on some kind of a drug.

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omnipresentAug. 10, 13 6:33 PM

Things to think about from the article: (1) How many of the antibiotic-users strong-arm their doctor into prescribing an antibiotic? What's the connection between that sort of behavior and the evolution of antibiotic-resistant germs? (2) There's more than one way to read statistics: "We view these numbers and say 'mental health is a huge issue and something we should focus on,' when we could just as easily conclude 'antidepressants are addictive drugs that do not work very well.' (3) Addiction to pain killers makes recreational drug use (e.g., marijuana) look benign by comparison. (4) I've got to ask my very young, very smart doctor about alternatives to statins. I hope she tells me that "all [you] really need[ is] the lake and the dog."

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goferfanzAug. 10, 13 6:58 PM

While the general premise of the article is correct, the author seems rather misguided in his lipid attack. His LDL insights are rather lacking when he fails to mention the importance of triglyceride and HDL levels in relation to LDL. And treating LDL for the tens of millions of diabetics is a must--- since the author must know diabetics have the same risk of MI as those people who have already had an MI. Sure, Americans take way too many antibiotics, pyschotropics, and narcotics, and need to be far more cautious of the stomach and kidney effects of the motrin/aleev group. That said, in an era where life expectancy rose over 30 years last century, maintaining that stunning increase against the obesity epidemic remains impressive. Obesity has spawned diabetes and joint destruction epidemics to name a couple of big drivers of .......Rx's. Living far longer has also introduced the world to dementia and all its high dollar commitments. If only it were so easy to cite a guy and his dog ;o) How about a few less calories?

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dr4golfAug. 10, 13 7:57 PM

Interesting article and comments. With parents now in their 90's who certainly would have died earlier if not for the wonders of modern medicine, I wonder the value of living so long. The bottomline is that some part of the body falls apart, and the body becomes frail with age. We are now spending a ridiculous amount of money keeping the severely aged and incapacitated alive. For what? Is that what they want? Unlikely. All I know is that when you can't control your bowel movements, and need help cleaning yourself, your dignity has eroded. Really old age sucks in most cases, with some exceptions. Let's stop trying so hard to keep people alive, and start focusing on dying with dignity.

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elle2008Aug. 11, 13 8:13 AM

Watch out for the newest Antibiotics out there. You can rupture a tendon after three days. I am not kidding. There are some serious side effects of the new antibiotics out there. Be careful!

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vlombardyAug. 11, 13 9:26 AM

Easy to say old people should die when it's their time. Problem is: old people don't want to die when faced with it.

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rms316Aug. 11, 1311:18 AM

After working 20 years in the Pharma. Industry in branded, generics and distribution, the author makes some interesting points. Pharmaceuticals have done remarkable things for people and surely have a large place in society. But there are many many cases where they are over prescribed and misused. Statin drugs could be put in that category of being over prescribed. More emphasis should be put on healthier habits and eating the right foods in appropriate quantities. While slow to change, I believe we may be headed in the right direction. But, asking masses of people to change long standing habits is difficult. The medical community, insurers and consumers need to be on board.

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strathyreAug. 11, 1311:38 AM

This was an interesting and provocative article, and talks about an important topic that may soon become an avalanche as baby boomers get older. A large and growing body of medical literature indicates that, for most people, the benefit of using statins is at best speculative. And it concerns me that, based largely on pharmaceutical industry studies, the definition of "normal" seems to keep getting lowered. Over the last 10 years, the definition of "normal" has been decreased for both blood pressure and LDL, with the result that the percentage of the population that "should" be taking medications has skyrocketed. There is no question that side effects from prolonged use of some of these medications are significant. I work in an office full of people over 40 where on a daily basis I can see tiredness, lack of focus, and lack of energy from medications. There's even a medication-specific cough, where people taking one blood pressure medication all have a persistent, constant, annoying cough. Doctors seem to find it very difficult, if not impossible, to believe that some of their prescriptions are compounding or causing significant problems. They believe that "most people tolerate this medication fairly well." Complaints about side effects are met with even more tests, because there "must be something else wrong." To the extent that a doctor is part of a clinic, they will be very reluctant to question established medical wisdom, both because of clinic policies, and to avoid potential conflict and practice "low risk medicine." If you watch television at night and see the dozens of ads for prescription medicines you can see how out of control and money-driven it's become.

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kirkmorganAug. 11, 1311:50 AM

Without quality of life,Quantity of life is useless !

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stein78Aug. 11, 1311:57 AM

Loved this article. Doctors hand out the statin and antidepressant drugs like they are candy!! With no good studies backing up this usage. Then the side effects cause more problems that more pills are thrown at. Putting 80 year olds(my mother, who has no health problems) on a statin with scare tactics like stating "you will be dead if you don't take this" is a crime. Now they are considering putting children on statins---frightens me incredibly and makes my blood boil!!

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jpcooperAug. 11, 1311:58 AM

"It's so different today", I hear every mother say They just need something today, for confidence And though she's not really ill, there's a little yellow pill She goes running for the shelter of her mother's little helper And the kids are all away, it's a blue and busy day"

Oh doctor, please, I'm (on my knees), outside the door she took for more What a drag it is, getting old

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