How Damaging Are Your Prescription Drugs

A recent report published in the Los Angeles Times stated a shocking fact – that drug deaths now outnumber those killed in traffic accidents. The report was not referring to crack, marijuana and heroin, but prescription drugs.

Drug-induced disease and toxicity is a growing concern for many. It is an accepted fact that although some drugs save lives, others create side effects including illness, toxicity and death. In the worst cases, old people are being diagnosed as senile, yet it is their drugs that are causing confusion and memory lapses, according to Dr. Julian Whitaker, MD.

Every day, millions of Americans diligently swallow pills for mental or physical complaints, but the drugs are actually wreaking havoc with their brain and body. Taking more than one medication further increases the risk of complication, as they may cause harmful adverse drug reactions.

High Risk Prescription Drugs
An investigation by Consumer Reports found that tens of millions of people may be exposing themselves daily to possible side effects from prescription drugs. The dozen-or-so drugs in question are sold as generic versions in more than 140 branded products, which add up to 266 million prescriptions and $25 billion in sales each year, according to NDC Health in Atlanta.

The worst offending drugs have been linked to serious increased risk of stroke, heart attack, cancer and suicide. The irony is that the consumers believed they were taking the drug to improve their health, not destroy it. The main culprits listed in the report include:

• Celecoxib (Celebrex) a pain killer linked with increased risk of heart attack and stroke
• Vioxx which has been linked to heart attacks and strokes
• Rosuvastatin (Crestor), prescribed to lower cholesterol but may cause muscle breakdown and kidney damage
• Pimecrolimus (Elidel) and Tacrolimus (Protopic) used to treat eczema but may increase the risk of cancer
• Premarin and Premepro (Estrogen) used for menopause symptoms but found to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and blood clots
• Medroxyprogesterone injections used as a contraceptive but found to cause bone loss
• Mefloquine (Lariam) for malaria prevention but can cause hallucinations, anxiety and depression
• Sibutramine (Meridia) used for weight loss but increases blood pressure and heart rate
• SSRIs (Zoloft and Effexor) used to treat depression but found to cause suicidal tendencies
• Tegaserod (Zelnorm) for irritable bowel syndrome but can cause intestinal problems
• Isotretinoin (Accutane) for acne, but may cause birth defects, psychosis and depression
• Malathion (Ovide) used to treat head lice but may cause neurotoxicity

Why are These Drugs Available?
There are gaps in both the initial drug-approval process and the monitoring of drugs for adverse effects after they have hit the market.

Many critics blame the FDA, who do not even include the black-box warning on these drugs – the most serious alert to users. The resources of the FDA are known to have been undercut and their enforcement power is now more limited than in the past. In addition, drug companies fail to conduct the studies needed to identify risks after approval. Widespread misleading advertising also contributes to the chance of misuse.

Those who are taking prescription drugs should consider safer, natural alternatives that are available in many cases. Read up on the options or consult a doctor practicing natural medicine to avoid being the victim of our prescription drug culture.

Sources:
http://www.breathing.com/articles/prescription-drugs.htm
http://www.consumerreports.org/health/healthy-living/health-safety/common-drugs-hidden-dangers-106/overview/index.htm

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