You are unable to turn on the television nowadays without a commercial appearing, for some new pharmaceutical that will cure whatever may ail you. If you pay close attention, you will realize that nearly half the ad time is consumed by a long list of the possible side effects and adverse reactions that can accompany taking the drug. The possibilities usually include everything from minor fatigue to death.
It is estimated that around 4.5 million Americans visit their doctor or the ER every year due to adverse reactions from prescription drugs. These adverse side effects are also suffered by an extra 2 million people each year who are already in hospital being supervised by the medical professionals. The CDC gave an estimate that 82% of Americans are consuming at least one drug, and 29% are consuming five or more drugs.
The FDA Approves Drug Sales in the US
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the approval of pharmaceutical drugs on sale in the US. However, their methods for approval are based on the scientific studies carried out by the drug companies. The FDA carries out no independent testing. The FDA usually approves a drug if its benefits outweigh its dangers. Assuming the drug companies’ studies have been well-conducted and state that a drug is relatively safe, no drug is 100% free from side effects for everyone, even drugs that are categorized as “natural.” The person’s age, weight, gender, overall health and genetic profiling will all contribute to how an individual responds to a drug.
The most common side effects are gastrointestinal problems, as most drugs are processed through the digestive tract. These problems generally include nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. Although dizziness may not seem like a dangerous side effect, it can be extremely dangerous for elderly people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), slips and falls among the elderly are the number one cause of injury-related death. A quarter of all elderly people who fall and break a hip die within six months of the injury.
Drugs Can Increase Your Risk of Cancer
Death is obviously the most serious side effect of all. Allergic reactions that cause anaphylactic shock can be deadly. Many drugs, such as those that are used to treat type 2 diabetes, can cause a stroke or a heart attack. Antidepressants are said to actually increase suicidal thoughts. Some drugs cause pain and total or partial paralysis. Other drugs increase your risk of cancer. Ironically, the drug Tamoxifen, administered to treat breast cancer, actually increases the risk of cancer in the uterus. Memory loss, hallucinations, loss of taste and loss of sight are other common side effects of different pharmaceuticals.
Although there is no doubt that some pharmaceuticals have a greater use than they have dangers, if you want to try and avoid the harmful side-effects that many drugs produce, try your best to keep as healthy as possible. Eat correctly, get regular exercise and visit your chiropractor to keep your body in optimum condition.
For Your Health,
Dr. Steven M. Gillis