The Failure of Prescription Drugs. Is there a prescription alternative?

Prescription drugs - not all bad!

In some instances there is no presciption alternative. Taking medicine prescribed by the doctor is a lifesaver for millions of people.

Thanks to many kinds of pharmaceutical drugs, medical professionals prevent millions of people dying from common diseases such as tuberculosis, diarrhoea, and malaria.

Pharmaceutical medicines also stop a great number of conditions before they even begin; just think how many injections are given every year to people travelling abroad, and how medical treatment helps those in accidents.

Prescription drugs - Over used

But the fact is, prescribed medicine is not the answer to every health complaint, and nor should it be. That’s because it simply isn’t suitable for treating every kind of condition, or even every kind of person.

You see despite our impressive range of 21st Century medical technology, there’s still a great deal about the body we don’t yet understand. What we do know is that every person is unique, and treatment affects each individual in a different way, according to that person’s medical history, lifestyle and distinctive biochemistry.

Prescription drugs - One size fits all

What this means is that with the current levels of medical understanding, it would actually be impossible for doctors and scientists to be able to anticipate how every person will react to a drug or treatment plan.

So at the moment, they have to produce treatment and drugs which work on a “one size fits all” basis. While certain drugs can help some people, others fall through the cracks because they don’t fit the medical “model” for that particular illness and so there’s no suitable treatment to help them.

Because of the “one size fits all” approach, taking some medicines can be a bit like using a sledge hammer to crack a monkey nut.

And, as prescribing treatment is often a process of trial and error, much of what takes place in medical practice is as much “art” as “science”.

It has to be, because after all, doctors and drug researchers aren’t miracle workers! They can only use the tools they have, they’re not operating in a perfect world, and like everybody else, they make mistakes.

The dangers of prescription drugs

Unfortunately, it means that not only will some people not get the help they need from prescription medicine, but many will actually suffer from taking it.

Did you know that over 100,000 people in the U.S. and Canada die every year after having an adverse reaction to their prescribed drugs?

Combine that with the 80,000 deaths from improperly prescribed or administered medication, and you get a figure that shows legal drugs are actually the 3rd or 4th leading cause of death, after coronary-artery disease, cancer, and stroke!

In fact, one study suggests around 25% of all outpatients suffer some kind of adverse reaction to drugs prescribed by their physician (and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration Agency estimates that only 1% of adverse effects are ever reported!)

So at best, when you visit your doctor, you have a one in four chance of having a further health problem caused by taking drugs on their recommendation.

It’s not surprising then, that around 1.5 million Americans are injured so badly by prescribed drugs each year, they need to be hospitalised.

Why does the figure stay so high? The answer is that around 51% of all approved drugs in the U.S. cause serious side effects which aren’t detected before they go on the market. Commonly used drugs are recalled every year, when patients start getting sick from using them. Unfortunately by then they may have been freely available for literally decades.

And how can governments and medical organisations allow this to continue?

Prescription drugs: big business

Because prescribed drugs are big business: pharmaceutical companies market their products aggressively, employing hundreds of thousands of sales people to persuade doctors to recommend their medicine.

Scott-Levin estimates that pharmaceutical companies in the United States spent over $6 billion in 11 months, sending reps into doctors' offices or hospitals, and holding marketing events.

And another reason they’re raking in the cash? Prescription drug costs are on the rise: up by an average 17 percent a year in the U.S., for example.

Why prescription drugs don’t always work

Aside from the risks, another problem of prescription drugs is that they don’t actually treat many chronic health conditions, they simply cover the symptoms.

To this day, their primary purpose is to treat disease, not prevent it. But many of our illnesses now are caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices: smoking /pollution, bad diet, stress, and lack of exercise. No doctor can prescribe a drug that sorts all these elements out, they can only give the patient pills to make their symptoms temporarily disappear.

Statin drugs and cholesterol

One good example of this involves statins. These are used to reduce cholesterol levels in people who have cardiovascular disease, or if they look likely to get it.

They seem to help a lot of people with heart or blood pressure problems, but many experts are now saying that statins are grossly overprescribed.

The problem is the trials carried out to prove that they benefit people at risk of cardiovascular disease (three quarters of all statin takers) don’t show any evidence that they actually help certain groups (namely women and those over 65) at all.

What you can do about it?

What really could help with cardiovascular problems, is a change to a healthier lifestyle and perhaps most importantly, following a good nutrition programme and boosting those efforts by taking high quality supplements. In fact, the easy way to help prevent a whole variety of diseases and chronic degenerative conditions, is to start taking care of your body as early as possible.

Act now, and avoid having problems with prescription medicines later.

The truth is, it’ll save you money in the long run, and it could save your life.

Medical references 119,120,121,122,123,124,125

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