Filling A Prescription

imagesDoctors will prescribe (according to the 2012 CDC statistics) 2.3 billion DRUGS to their patients over one year. Over 67% of routine office visits will conclude with a prescription. The top three prescriptions are:

  1. Analgesics (pain medication)

  2. Antihyperlipidemic agents (cholesterol medications)

  3. Antidepressants

There are plenty of cases where prescriptions are indicated and necessary, but are the top 3 sellers, improving the health of our population?

(1) Analgesics (pain medications) have received lots of media attention recently. Investigations have revealed this classification of drug has been over prescribed and abused by many patients resulting in serious health complications as well as death.

“From 1999–2002 to 2011–2012, the percentage of opioid analgesic users who used an opioid analgesic stronger than morphine increased from 17.0% to 37.0%” “Opioid analgesic SALES (in kilograms per 10,000) quadrupled from 1999 to 2010, and from 1999 to 2012, opioid-related DEATHS (per 100,000) more than tripled.” (National Center for Health Statistics)

(2) Antihyperlipidemic agents (cholesterol medications) have also been shown to potentially cause serious side effects including damage to muscle tissue and/or liver damage. Blood work is required every 3-6 months to determine whether the medication is causing harm to the patient.

“The rate of cholesterol medication prescribed for people over the age of 45 between 1988-1994 was 2.4%, between 1999-2002 was 15.6%, and between 2005-2008 was 25.1%” (National Center for Health Statistics)

(3) Antidepressants have been implicated in causing abnormal weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, tremors and suicidal thoughts.

“From 1988–1994 through 2005–2008, the rate of antidepressant use in the United States among all ages increased nearly 400%. (National Center for Health Statistics)

All of the above statistics came from the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Based on their statistics, pharmaceutical sales have dramatically risen along with the number of people “requiring” these prescriptions. Isn’t our health care system supposed to use pharmaceuticals as a tool to create a healthier population? Is our world becoming a healthier place if larger percentages of people are “requiring” prescription medications?

When did the consumer decide it was totally acceptable for the doctor to match a drug to a patient’s symptoms/diagnosis in place of helping the patient become healthy? Filling a prescription without establishing a game plan to restore health is like going to war without establishing an exit strategy. The manufacturers continue to generate profits while the afflicted spend their hard earned money on a life time of revolving prescriptions.

Maybe it’s time we share these facts with our doctors to educate them on the reality that the prescription (by itself) isn’t getting the job done!

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51 comments

  1. Unfortunately it is so true. My doctor has repeatedly tried to put me on Cholesterol meds. She did not even give me an alternative. I refused it because I know all I have to do is lose weight and my cholesterol will come down, which with just the exercising and foods I am eating now I have dropped my cholesterol 12 points. The risks of the meds are not worth it to me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Doctors are pressured to write scripts. Job performance takes script writing into account. Often doctors have great dilemmas they face. Can you imagine the difficulty in performing a job daily against what you believe is truly in the best interest of the patient simply to keep your job?

      Meds definitely have a place in health care. Unless it is an acute emergency, they should not (in my opinion) be the first line of defense, UNLESS the patient is unwilling to assume responsibility for their own health. Under these circumstances they becomes the lesser of two evils.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I can imagine how hard it is especially if it effects their insurance ratings and quality scores, but I guess the thing that bugs me is when they try to tell you that the meds are the only solution. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that don’t take responsibility for themselves and allow it to continue. It’s a bit of a vicious circle.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When a doctor tells you it is the only solution, they are actually saying, it is the only solution THEY KNOW ABOUT. Even then, it is frequently a bandage rather than a solution. This is why I write on wordpress. I want to share an approach to health and wellness that most people are never exposed to. I want any and everyone to have equal access to the information and an opportunity to ask any questions that might help them make better informed decisions.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on A bit of a geeky mom and commented:
    Wake up everyone!! Medicine is not necessarily your best friend! Read on……

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing this message with your readers. I appreciate your help in spreading greater awareness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. anytime!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So true! Particularly where simple changes can do the same thing as a drug (I.e., work on diet to reduce cholesterol), why not try to make the simple changes? I don’t even like taking aspirin!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Simple changes means assuming a greater level of personal responsibility. When a pill “permits” behavior to remain unchanged (in the mind of many patients) they will elect this option often. Getting people to realize this is NOT a viable option for long term good health and good function is difficult. I write these articles to improve awareness and show alternatives that lead to the restoration of good health. It is up to each individual, however, to determine their own course in life.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As someone who deals with pain every day, I have to say that I’m glad these drugs are available when necessary. Yet, as someone who have seen the damage addiction can do, I have to say I wish they were prescribed less and monitored more, but not by the government. Rather, by individuals who understood/understand their destructive, as well as healing, powers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You will notice I agree with you that there is a time and place for pharmaceutical intervention. Unfortunately, the ease of script writing, the financial benefits for Big Business and the desire by many patients to seek “solutions” in a pill rather than taking more responsibility for their health has lead to enormous abuse of the system. People need to understand that insurance premiums are calculated on usage. If the prescriptions were used when NEEDED instead of used when CONVENIENT, costs would go down. The consumer creates the problem with this mentality and then complains about the high cost of health care, while the pharmaceutical companies smile in the outdoor sunshine on the way to the banks.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m so glad that my doctor shares your belief system. I was definitely one of those people who was happy to gobble anti-anxiety drugs for relief. She kindly gave me a limited prescription with a deadline to find a therapist. The short term drug use gave me the breathing room I needed to work on a long term health plan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bingo! This is how medication is designed to help people. It is supposed to get people beyond the acute “difficulty” in order to allow the individual to implement a strategy to restore balance to their lives. This is FIXING the problem!
      I like your doctor. I’ll bet you will also grow and learn from the experience. I’m proud of you!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Amen to that! Thank you so very much for your continued commitment to educating and supporting us….you are a game changer and a blessing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate all your support. I just want people to have access to unbiased credible information to include in their arsenal of knowledge to help them make the best informed decisions possible for their families and themselves.

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  8. Pharma companies are the biggest drug dealers, they make a fortune and doctors get huge kickbacks for pushing their drugs. Make no mistake they do get big rewards …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the way you use the term “doctor” and “pusher” (I’ve modified pushing for amusement) in your response. In my opinion, pharmaceutical intervention has a role in health care, however, it loses credibility when the “fox is in charge of the hen house.” The consumer must begin to view doctors as counselors with OPINIONS. There are many ways to effectively approach health and disease outside of traditional allopathy. The arrogance that western medicine is “real medicine” is naive. It is certainly an option, but DEFINITELY not the only choice. It is certainly not the SAFEST!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You and your posts. You remind me of Reagan the great communicater. You break things down in terms everyone can understand. Now, when I go to a doctor’s appointment, my antenna is up. And I ask so many questions I would have never asked before. You have enlightened me. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I appreciate your compliment very much. I am also excited to see how much you have come to value your own health. I am trying to get patients and doctors to see each other differently. Doctors need to become better educators and focus more clearly on their patient’s needs. They can no longer succumb to the administrators and their demands to increase patient visits and billable services per office visit. Sub par standards of care can no longer be tolerated in the name of generating additional revenue. There are many excellent doctors frustrated by the restraints the system currently places on them.
      In turn, the patient must understand they share a role in the responsibility of their health. They must be willing to take REASONABLE measures to improve lifestyle habits and work with their physicians rather than compete with them. A sense of “entitlement” to live life without reasonable restraint and boundaries can no longer be accepted. A willingness to form a true partnership between physician and patient will create a new standard of improved care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love your reply. You have taught me taking meds is not a method of attaining good health. Addressing the root of the problem & seeking balance is the true path to no longer needing the meds and achieving good health. I am listening.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I have experienced that it is the patients that want the “quick fix”. So the doctors are quick with their prescription pads, but most often it is because the patient doesn’t want to take the time or put in the effort to achieve health, they just want a pill to mask the issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Doctors have an ethical and moral responsibility in addition to a legal responsibility when it comes to patient care. As doctors, we are trained to evaluate and offer the VARIOUS available options to our patients to comply with the laws pertaining to informed consent. We are licensed professionals that have dedicated our careers to offering our knowledge and guidance to our patients. Although we understand what patients typically want (“the quick fix,”) it is our responsibility to provide REALISTIC plans of action to address the ROOT CAUSES of their problems and to integrate their role and responsibilities into the treatment plan. To cower in fear of a patient’s reaction to our recommendations does not justify providing sub standard care (“the quick prescription fix.”) Pharmaceutical intervention may be a viable option within the plan of care, but it NEVER replaces the ongoing role the patient must understand they play in achieving and maintaining GOOD HEALTH!

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  12. So true Dr J. I have been prescribed two of the above and am convinced that they both helped with my weight gain. I honestly think society needs to look at what is going on and why we are needing more of these medications because the physiology of the Human has not changed in the past 50 years. However the world has and with everything readily available and easily accessible I think there is more to the symptoms than ever before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said. Something is wrong with a health care system that continues to manufacture more and more drugs without reducing the number of people developing the afflictions. Is the role of the doctor simply to medicate disease and chronic dysfunction or to help prevent it from developing in the first place? The public must begin viewing the REALITY OF OUR SYSTEM in order to begin implementing positive changes. Without change, the number of people developing disease and dysfunction will continue to GROW as will the bank accounts of MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS, GOVERNMENT AND BIG PHARMA.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I could not have said it better myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much.
      BTW- I loved your picture of the baby ducks on instagram. 🙂

      Like

  14. While my therapist makes sure that in addition to taking medication for my anxiety, I also have a plan when it comes to practicing face my fears through exposure therapy and exercise, I must admit that I’m not too happy that he and my psychiatrist keep wanting to raise my medication levels. While they think it’s stubbornness, it’s actually that I just don’t want to get sucked into the pattern of taking more and more medication. I feel like there must be a limit, a place where they finally say, “This medication isn’t working, maybe making her take more isn’t the answer”. Instead, I was told that I should continue to increase the amount until my anxiety gets better. I’m just not sure that’s always the best answer. Good post, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can empathize with your sentiments. There are many doctors willing to put the time and effort into helping uncover the ROOT CAUSES of many issues that manifest into physical and mental symptoms. It requires effort, however, and due diligence in finding and INTERVIEWING qualified physicians and counselors before utilizing their services. Often, when doctors run short of solutions they turn to increasing and/or adding new medications in hope of creating positive changes. Unfortunately, it often fails and leads to further frustration for the patient and the doctor.

      Make sure you find a professional willing to TRULY LISTEN. This creates a great starting point. Wishing you better outcomes in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes medication seems to be the answer for everything now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the easiest choice for BOTH the doctor and patient and usually INEFFECTIVE at correcting the problem. It is up to the consumer, however, to explain their willingness to participate in options that provide better outcomes. A good doctor gets excited when a patient assumes responsibility for their own health. If the doctor is unwilling to listen, it is probably time to go doctor shopping.

      Like

  16. […] Filling A Prescription […]

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  17. Healthy Not Nuts · · Reply

    Interesting about the anti-depressants and suicidal thoughts. I know someone recently who had more than thoughts and he’s gone now. He was on some type of anti-depressant, although, he was going on and off all the time. How about we actually deal with our problems and go get the right help. I guess you have to want to do that in order for that to work. All of your posts are very informative, enjoy reading them ~ thanks for making the effort because I think a lot of people appreciate the information you provide and the time you spend giving it to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. It’s always nice to know I am NOT the only one reading my posts! 🙂 . My intent is NOT to bash any approach to health care, but rather to provide insight into new approaches and ideas that make health care more effective and delivered in a more compassionate and meaningful manner. There are so many people in this world without any resources to turn to for credible information. I want this site to be considered a “good tool” for those looking for (potentially) better answers to health dilemmas. I certainly do not have all the answers, but am willing to do what I can to find them for people truly willing to take responsibility for their health.
      Thank you so much for contributing and making this site more meaningful.

      Like

  18. Wow those are some pretty alarming numbers. 400% increase in anti-depressant medication. That is a real concern. Is it not a two way street though in terms of getting healthy? The patients have to want the help and the doctors need to encourage them. Doctor’s are held to a higher standard though to ensure the health of their patients so I guess if all they do is prescribe, then that is what the patient will think as acceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you about patients having to want to improve the quality of their health. The problem in many cases is they are unaware of options available to them. In most cases, doctors do not lay out the various choices. They often prescribe a medication and the patient believes their role in the process is to “swallow the pill.” I write these articles to show there are more options available to patients and encourage doctors to comply with the laws of INFORMED CONSENT which mandate that doctors share the various options available. Sometimes doctors let their own opinions get in the way reducing viable options the patient can choose from. This is ethically wrong. Their job does NOT include imposing biased judgement. It is their job to LISTEN to the patient’s needs and work as a team to achieve the goals. If the doctor disagrees with the patient’s objectives, it is his or her right to refer this patient to another doctor. This fulfills both ethical and moral responsibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Great post…sharing on Facebook as many of my followers always comment positively on them…xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nice to have you as a teammate as well.

    Like

  21. Great post ! I am not a person that pops a tablet for any rhyme or reason. I have to know that I have tried every healthy angle before even considering. Fortunately, I have been lucky. Those stats are massive btw ! And, what about all the side effects !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unless there is an acute emergency, it usually makes more sense to use the most conservative approaches to overcoming health problems FIRST. Sounds like this is exactly what you do. People must remember, however, that neutraceuticals can also cause harm if used improperly. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean we can use these products without using common sense. If more people would think in terms of BALANCE and practiced this approach to life, healthier happier people would be seen on a more regular basis.
      Glad to see you accept responsibility for your health!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Yes Doc, this one hit a chord with me. I have gotten so angry at the doctors seeing my elderly mother. They don’t even seem to want to listen. They nod impatiently as she talks about her problems. I have verbally grabbed them by the lapel and gotten in their face and told them to give my mother a few minutes and listen. I have learned doctors are fearful of patients asserting themselves and they then do listen. The old white coat of authority syndrome. But we are responsible for our own health. We should ask questions and educate ourselves and not follow blindly. Thanks for your posts, I enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The field of medicine is in a transitional state. People are beginning to understand that prescription drugs BY THEMSELVES do not FIX most conditions that people use doctors for. The health care system does not take the time to investigate the ROOT CAUSES of health maladies. As you stated, however, doctors are not the only ones responsible for this dilemma. Patients have frequently wanted a “quick fix” to their problems and doctors have accommodated with “pills.” More and more people are awakening to the reality that this doesn’t work. Doctors and patients must begin forming a new type of relationship. Doctors must take greater time to LISTEN to their patient’s concerns and address the HEALTH of a person as well as the “disease.” Patients must be willing to modify their lifestyles to provide their body the necessary tools to maintaining good health.

      Thank you for your contribution to this article. People need to see they are NOT alone concerning their health care problems. Your participation helps people to see they can stand up to doctors (respectfully) to improve their dynamic realationships.

      Like

  23. I can’t wait to lose enough weight that I can get off my thyroid medication and try to manage things on my own. Until I do, I am going to keep taking the pills because I feel that being overweight is more of a danger to my health than taking pills for the short-term. Many people don’t want to make actual changes when it’s so much easier to just take a pill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my opinion, using medications to reach a stable point where healthy alternative approaches can maintain this new level of health makes a lot of sense. My concern is the misconception that “The Pill” in most (if not all cases) “FIXES” the underlying pathological issue. Not only doesn’t it fix it, it commonly causes secondary problems requiring additional scripts for additional medications. This is NOT my definition of “becoming healthy.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I want to use the pills to get to my new status quo, not to have the pills become my status quo and excuse not to change. Sure, my thyroid is “working” now but it’s artificial. My body should be able to have a working thyroid on its own and I am determined to get there!

        Like

  24. I agree with you completely! It is unfortunate that doctors are pressured into writing scripts and cannot take the time to formulate a plan with their patients to help them get off the meds. Thanks for writing this.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for reading and replying to this article. Our health care field is under attack (in a positive way) causing factions to organize and present new ideas and approaches to health care. One such faction is called FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE. It views the WHOLE PERSON and approaches health and disease from this perspective. It seeks uncovering ROOT CAUSES and addressing them holistically rather than placing bandaids on symptoms. We live in a dynamic world and traditional medicine must learn to adapt, otherwise, it will lose its place and value to society.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Jon, for the introduction to the changes that are taking place.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My pleasure. Enjoy the rest of your Monday! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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