Doctors 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:
Analgesics (pain medication)
Antihyperlipidemic agents (cholesterol medications)
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!