The Growing Influence of Prescription Drugs

I’m always torn on how best to present this sort of infor­ma­tion. On the one hand I believe that prescrip­tion drugs are handed out far too casu­ally in the US and that tele­vi­sion adver­tis­ing of them is an over­whelm­ingly bad thing.

On the other I don’t want to promote a para­noid approach where people refuse to take drugs that would dramat­i­cally bene­fit their lives. It’s hard to make the middle ground an entic­ing propo­si­tion.

But the truth is not that prescrip­tion drugs are bad for you. It’s that casual or unin­formed use of prescrip­tion drugs is bad for you.

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Your Brain on Prescrip­tion Drugs [info­graphic] | Daily Info­graphic
Prescrip­tion drugs are one of contem­po­rary America’s most perva­sive evils. 

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Comments

  • some doctors sort of promote casual or unin­formed use and that is what irks me the most. 

    i think we are far too depen­dent on drugs as a whole.

  • I’m often tempted to stop taking all prescrip­tion drugs just to see how fast I die. On second thought, I’ll keep the Xanax at least until the elec­tions are over.

  • I hate! that I need allergy pills. I hate it. For 9/10ths of the year, I resist taking them…though my life would be osten­si­bly better if I did. Unfor­tu­nately, I actu­ally do need them for about a month to 2 months , when cedar gets high.

  • Im a phar­macy tech­ni­cian, and the things you will learn about the drug indus­try can be quite horri­fy­ing. I think the worst thing of all is that phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal compa­nies will pay doctors and hospi­tals to prescribe their drug specif­i­cally over others. Not to mention the hold they have over the DEA, (which can be a very corrupt orga­ni­za­tion). Some medica­tions are neces­sary to main­tain life for some people. What gets bad is that they are given dozens to alle­vi­ate the side effects of the one or two they need. Being informed about what you are taking and why is the key to a good drug treat­ment for any illness.

  • My dad just had open heart surgery, and I’m taking care of him, and the prescrip­tions are really a night­mare. The worst part is find­ing a doctor who pays any atten­tion to the facts about this partic­u­lar case, because Dad had a faulty valve, not full-blown heart disease, but they’ve got him on drugs they’d give a triple bypass. I think some of it is so routine that they don’t even think they’re hand­ing out half a dozen unnec­es­sary meds until you start asking seri­ous ques­tions about it. And who, after surgery and hallu­ci­na­tion-induc­ing pain medica­tions, can really sort through those things on their own? It’s madden­ing.

  • Oh, and now that I’ve seen the info­graphic… I had to do research on the Fentanyl patch (an opioid) this week because they gave a box of them to Dad. Those can kill people who use them normally (even when they’re not taking 14 other things). But the sick­est part is that dumb­asses chew the patches to get high, and then they die because it’s 100x more power­ful than morphine. I wonder if the sheer ease with which prescrip­tions are obtained makes people some­how think they’re safe.

  • The Fentanyl patches and the father’s heart surgery meds remind me of my own father’s end days ordeals. He was stoked on vicodin the last year or so of his life. He did get the fentanyl patch (omit­ting the vicodin) and became hallu­ci­na­tory. Scared the crap out of my mom. Smaller dose didn’t ease the pain; larger dose had him freak­ing out on seeing people steal­ing his truck (which no longer existed) and large dogs wander­ing around the house. We could live with the dogs since he liked them, but the people wander­ing around the house had him so agitated we had to stop the patches and just let him take as many vicodin as he wanted until the hallu­ci­na­tions started again. Terri­ble to see him in so much pain. He under­stood the hallu­ci­na­tions when he was in right mind, so agreed that his vicodin should be limited. And that was just the pain pills. Warfarin, statins, BP meds, et al. I’m surprised he lived to 89.

  • +Marva Dasef simi­lar thing here — we opted for more pain rather than the side effects of that patch (he only had one, and it was too crazy), so he’s on massive hydrocodone doses now. I just can’t believe people would chew that stuff volun­tar­ily, know­ing what it does to people who actu­ally need it for pain manage­ment.

  • One thing that’s poten­tially mislead­ing (although prob­a­bly not inten­tion­ally so) is how the info­graphic char­ac­terises aceta­minophen as “an anal­gesic found in DXM-based reme­dies”.

    Aceta­minophen is a synonym for parac­eta­mol, better known by its brand names Tylenol or Panadol, and most commonly used on its own, in cold/flu meds with phenyle­phrine or pseu­doephedrine, and/or paired up with codeine.

    It just seems odd that they should cherry-pick its secondary use in cough suppres­sants when it’s really one of the most frequently-used anal­gesics and antipyret­ics in its own right.

  • I would prefer it if there were more to buy over the counter. If I am buying some­thing and admin­is­ter­ing it myself I tend to do a lot of research to make sure it is perfect but if the doc prescribes it I tend to trust he knows what he is doing, but I have just discov­ered this week that they start you on the cheap drugs to see if you survive the side effects before moving you onto more expen­sive options.

  • +Ro Atkin­son I take some supple­ments instead of or in addi­tion to prescrip­tion drugs. For exam­ple, Red Yeast Rice was recom­mended by my doctor to take in addi­tion to a statin. Not sure where you live, but most US health insur­ance compa­nies encour­age the use of gener­ics because they’re cheaper. I’ve not found a generic that didn’t func­tion the same as a name brand. Since I pay less for the gener­ics, I’m all for it.

  • +Marva Dasef I guess it all depends on the indi­vid­ual but I have just had a disas­trous miser­able week and not known why but after about 5 days it occurred to me it might be a reac­tion to the statins I have been taking this last month. I stopped taking them and after about 3 days I feel a lot better. My boss says he was put on the same ones and ended up in hospi­tal because of them. I heard some­thing today about patients in the US being given better infor­ma­tion about their treat­ment than they are here (UK). I am going to have a look at that Red Yeast Rice though. Thanks for the tip.

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