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Are Prescribed Drugs Making You Sick?


AT LEAST 85 DRUGS INTERACT WITH GRAPEFRUIT JUICE

Half of these drugs can cause side effects including death - Click here

Is Anesthesia related to Alzheimer's?

DEADLY-DOSE DRUG DEATHS
Exploring the nation's drug crisis

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

"Death by medicine is a 21st-century epidemic, and America's "war on drugs" is clearly directed at the wrong enemy! Prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs, and while most major causes of preventable deaths are declining, those from prescription drug use are increasing, an analysis of recently released data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the Los Angeles Times revealed." -- Mercola.com

Points To Ponder

"There are a lot of people taking drugs to treat the side effects of drugs."

"...medications can cause other conditions unrelated to the health problems
they're prescribed to treat. This syndrome is known as a drug "cascade."

"Serious drug reactions (including chemotherapy?)...are the fourth leading
cause of hospital deaths, topped only by heart disease, cancer and stroke."

"There is a tendency for physicians to prescribe a medication for every symptom."

"Physicians sometimes fail to equate patients’ symptoms with an adverse drug reaction."

'WANDER' Drugs?

Los Angeles civil attorney Lisa Herbert (not her real name), 61, was shopping at Trader Joe’s one evening in June 2009 when she suddenly became disoriented. For an hour she WANDERed the aisles in a haze, filling her cart with chocolate cupcakes and frozen tamales. At home she talked incessantly, yelled at her roommate, and convinced she had found an ingenious way to clean the apartment, yanked a fire extinguisher off the wall and sprayed the kitchen and bathroom with a thick white foam.

By morning Herbert’s mental clarity had returned, along with a deep embarrassment and confusion over what had caused such bizarre behavior. The answer, which her ever-vigilant doctor immediately suspected, was drug toxicity, a gradual buildup of prescription medication in her bloodstream.

Herbert, who has multiple sclerosis, had been taking Baclofen for the past six years to control muscle spasms in her legs. She had taken the same dose all that time with no ill effects, but three months before her disorienting episode, she had begun a strict, low-carb diet and had proudly shed 15 pounds. Because she was thinner yet still taking the same dose of Baclofen, the drug had built up to toxic levels.

Drug toxicity is a common and significant health problem, yet it often goes undetected by both patients and doctors, who don’t suspect it as the cause of such symptoms as mental disorientation, dizziness, blurred vision, memory loss, fainting, and falls. Although drug toxicity may result when a medication dose is too high, it can also happen because a person’s ability to metabolize a drug changes over time or, in the case of Herbert, because she simply didn’t need as much of the drug at her lower weight.

Older people are at high risk for drug toxicity, but younger people can suffer symptoms as well. Drug toxicity is "a major public-health issue even for people in their 40s and 50s," says Mukaila A. Raji, M.D., chief of geriatric medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "Most drugs are eliminated from the body through the kidneys and liver, but starting around the fourth decade we start accumulating fat and lose muscle mass, accompanied by a progressive decline in the ability of our kidneys and liver to process and clear medications. All of this makes us more prone to drug toxicity." According to findings from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, age-related loss of kidney function often starts even earlier, in your 30s, and gets worse with each passing decade.

Always reduce dosage with caution.

Despite the well-established connection between aging and drug toxicity, physicians sometimes fail to equate patients’ symptoms with an adverse drug reaction, attributing them instead to a new medical condition. "As doctors, we see a lot of patients who come in with a general 'I don’t feel well' complaint, or maybe they’re confused and dehydrated, and we attribute it to a viral illness, when it’s caused at least in part by the medication they’re taking," says medical toxicologist Kennon Heard, M.D., an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver.

Physicians' prescribing habits may also be partly to blame. "There is a tendency for physicians to prescribe a medication for every symptom, and not every symptom requires a medication," says Raji. The more medications a patient takes, the more likely one of them will build up to toxic levels, experts say.

Finally, patients often see multiple doctors who do not communicate with one another and so end up prescribing similar drugs which, when combined, can reach toxic levels. Electronic medical records will help close the communications gap, experts say. Computerized Clinical Decision Support Systems used by many hospitals to generate patient-specific recommendations for care will also help. A 2005 Journal of the American Medical Association study of the systems’ effectiveness showed improvements in diagnosis, drug dosing, and drug prescribing.

To avoid drug toxicity, patients should be proactive by keeping a careful record of which drugs they’re taking, including over-the-counter medications, and bringing that list to every doctor visit.

They can also insist that their doctors consider drug toxicity when a new symptom arises. "Many doctors don’t specifically test for drug toxicity," explains Raji, "and a simple CBC (or blood chemistry panel) won’t detect it." Certain blood tests can monitor the levels and effects of several drugs, including levothyroxine (Synthroid), warfarin (Coumadin), some antibiotics, and digoxin (Lanoxin). But even so, says Raji, "the blood range of digoxin that's listed as ‘normal’ in medical textbooks is based on tests done on young people." In general, say medical experts, the best way to determine if drug toxicity has occurred is to eliminate or reduce the dose of a suspected medication when safe to do so, as Lisa Herbert’s doctor did.

Patients should also read the safety inserts that come with their medication before taking it. After recovering from what she calls her "cognitive flip-out," Herbert finally read her Baclofen insert, discovering in the fine print the drug’s rare but possible adverse effects: seizures, confusion, even hallucinations. Had she read the insert earlier, she realized, she might have saved herself and her roommate a good deal of anguish, not to mention a day’s work in cleaning up one very messy apartment. See Drug Interaction Checker. See The Age of Pharmageddon.)

Drugs With the Highest Potential for Harm

Three classes of medications, anticoagulants (warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel), antidiabetic agents (insulin, metformin, glyburide, glipizide, chlorpropamide), and narrow therapeutic agents (digoxin, phenytoin, lithium, theophylline, valproic acid), account for almost half of all emergency-room visits for adverse drug events in older patients. Other medications that are problematic for seniors:

Barbiturates
Flurazepam
Meprobamate
Pentazocine
Trimethobenzamide
BelladonNa alkaloids
Dicyclomine
Hyoscyamine
Amitriptyline
Imipramine

Always check out the documented side-effects of all your prescribed drugs vs. your symptoms online. Key in the name of the drug in your search window followed by the words 'side effects'. And be prepared for a shock!

Prescription Drug Side Effects

The symptoms were sudden and severe: tightness in the chest, dizziness, nausea. "I thought I was having a heart attack," says Lynn Golden, a 59-year-old retired scientist living in Maryland. Rushed to the emergency room, she spent two days in the hospital having exhaustive tests that all proved negative. It was only later that she discovered the cause, unexpected side effects from a prescription drug she'd started taking three weeks earlier to manage a mild thyroid condition.

Golden's experience is a classic example of how medications can cause other conditions unrelated to the health problems they're prescribed to treat. Unaware of this, patients very often consult their doctors about this "new" condition, only to be prescribed yet another drug that could produce still more side effects.

This syndrome is known as a drug "cascade." It's not as well studied as more dramatic problems with prescription drugs, such as when apparently safe drugs turn out to be deadly, but it is of growing concern. Experts estimate that tens of millions of people are suffering every day, often without knowing why. "There are a lot of people taking drugs to treat the side effects of drugs," says Gordon Schiff, M.D., an internist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Brigham Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice in Boston. "And sometimes that makes sense, and maybe the initial drug is essential. But when you're taking a drug to treat the side effect of a drug which is treating the side effect of another drug, it gets to be rather a house of cards."

Adverse drug effects send about 4.5 million Americans to the doctor's office or the emergency room each year, more than for common conditions like strep throat or pneumonia, according to a recent study by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine estimates that serious drug reactions occur more than 2 million times each year among patients in hospitals and are the fourth leading cause of hospital deaths, topped only by heart disease, cancer and stroke. --

Check Drugs Here

               
          Pill Indentifier   Interaction Checker     

"Due to the power and corrupting influence of Big Pharma, the teaching of
nutritional science and the use of vitamin and herbal supplements is not
taught to any significant extent in our medical schools. The obvious reason is
that teaching this science reduces the use of prescription drugs."
H. S. Khalsa

"Big Pharma is remarkably good at creating diseases and convincing us that we have
them -- even when we don't. They've gotten so good at it that seven out of 10 visits
to the doctor's office now result in prescriptions. In 2004, spending for prescription
medication was $188.5 billion, almost five times what was spent in 1990, according
to a report by the Government Accountability Office. Are we getting sicker? Or is
the pharmaceutical industry just getting really good at telling us that we are sick?"

Alison Fairbrother

FACTOID          
Not all doctors are healers.
Not all healers are doctors.


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  *Consultation with a health care professional should occur before applying adjustments or treatments to the body, consuming medications or nutritional supplements and before dieting, fasting or exercising. None of these activities are herein presented as substitutes for competent medical treatment. See Disclaimer.

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