Now, more than ever, you cannot flip on the tv or search the net without being bombarded by advertisements from the newest pharmaceuticals on the market. Too many people are running around over medicated and too many people are unaware of the potential problems these wonder drugs can cause. In our quick fix society, all too often, people do not do enough research on the medications they are taking, like how they research on products they use in the face like vitamin c serum.
Whenever a physician presents a patient with a new prescription, the patient should always familiarize themselves with the drug. Be especially wary of side effects. Certain drugs can even be more harmful than the ailment they are supposedly treating, ie. arthritis drugs that have a high instance of bone cancer, a breast cancer treatment that greatly increases the user’s chance of developing uterine cancer, and an asthma drug that can increase the odds of developing tuberculosis, just to name a few. Worse yet, some of these drugs actually have a high incidence rating of severe side effects, yet are actually on the market. Not many patients would take a drug for a back ache if they knew they had a 50% greater chance of developing leukemia in the next ten years because they took the drug. Other side effects may not be quite as grim, but the user should be aware of them, such as medications that may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Many traffic accidents occur every year because one of the drivers involved was on one of these meds.
Patients should also be aware of possible interactions with other drugs, including OTC treatments, that they may be using. This could be a problem, especially for those people who take several prescriptions, have precriptions from different doctors, or those who use multiple pharmacies. Some drugs can render others useless. Others can be a dangerous combination if they have the same side effects, ie. two different sedatives or a blood thinner and an analgesic that also thins the blood. Yet other drugs can have a chemical reaction with other drugs in the body.A patient should always make their physicians and pharmacists aware of other drugs they are taking, including OTC drugs.
Patients should also realize that physicians and pharmacists do make mistakes. If the patient has been on a med for some time and notices a sudden change in the pill’s appearance, size or taste when they refill the prescription – be wary. They should not hesitate to ask the pharmacist to recheck the prescription, or to go to another pharmacy and ask the pharmacist there to confirm the med is correct. Oftentimes, pictures online at the pharmaceutical company’s website can also be used to confirm the identity of a drug. Users should also not hesitate to ask a third health professional if two others disagree. For example, a physician gives a patient a drug and tells them not to stop taking the drug, no matter what. The patient then takes the precription to a pharmacist and the pharmacist informs them that based on a past adverse reaction to a similar drug, the physician should not be precribing that drug to the individual. The patient should never be afraid to ask another doctor in that situation.
Prescription users should never be afraid to ask questions, get second opinions and research the treatments they are using. In the end, they are the ones in charge of their own health.