Americans are Taking Too Much Medication
From children to seniors, every American age group is at risk for being diagnosed with a condition they may not actually have, and being prescribed medications they do not need.
Americans live in a very a very litigious environment
Attorneys advertise for clients who may have had a missed diagnosis or experienced a side effect from a prescribed medication, and physicians are caught within their desire to individualize care for their patients and the need to follow published standards of care to protect their practices and licenses.
The fear of medical malpractice lawsuits is a very real issue faced by many who practice medicine.
To avoid public criticism by colleagues or potential rebuke from their professional organization, physicians may feel forced to follow published standards of care.
These treatments often include prescribing medications designed to relieve symptoms, but do not usually address the core cause of the medical condition.
If you watch TV in the US, you have surely seen the advertisements for medications along with a long list of potential side effects from Rx drugs.
Most often you will hear that the side effects are more dangerous than the condition being treated.
For the most part US physicians believe over-treatment is harmful, wasteful and too common practice.
A recent survey of over 2,100 physicians from a variety of specialties across the US were asked about their beliefs concerning over-treatment and unnecessary medical care.
The participating physicians describe over-treatment of their patients as “common.”
The survey found 22% of Rx (prescription) medications, 24% of tests and 11% of procedures were unnecessarily prescribed, despite years of emphasis from the health care industry to control costs and procedures.
The most common reason physicians cited for prescribing tests, medications and procedures was a fear of malpractice at nearly 85%, and pressure exerted from patients at nearly 60%.
Senior study author, Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, commented on the results of the survey, saying: “This study is essentially the voice of physicians about the problem. We’re told that there are too many operations done for narrowed blood vessels in the legs. Spine surgeons say that a quarter of all spine surgery may not be necessary. Half of stents placed may be unnecessary. These are significant opportunities to improve quality and lower costs.”
The study identified some potential solutions, including better training for incoming residents on the appropriate criteria for treatment, easier access to prior health records that may reduce unnecessary testing and more practice guidelines.
There is a growing movement among physicians across the world to develop programs that allow them to spend greater time with their patients in order to treat health conditions and not throw a pill at symptoms.
It is important the understand the Your health is in Your hands.
With screening programs that detect conditions that may go without treatment, and some physicians over-prescribing medications and opioid drugs, it’s time to take back control of your own health and break free from a trap created by pharmaceutical companies.
Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Catherine Calderwood, states:“I think that doctors are fixers. They want to help. And I think that perhaps we have overestimated the benefits of some treatments and maybe underestimated the risks and perhaps underestimated the burden of health care. So, visits to hospital, visits to the GP [general practitioner], surgery, blood tests, monitoring … and now we’re having much more open and honest conversations.”
Many continue to believe that if a medication is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) it is safe for use.
Patients only have to look at the record of medications suddenly pulled from the market after many thousands of people lost their lives or had their health damaged to know that nothing could be further from the truth.
It helps to find a physician who will think beyond prescribing a pill to treat your symptoms and instead will work with you to recommend healthy lifestyle choices.
Seek out a physician who follows principles of conservative prescribing to reduce risks associated with any Rx medication, including what you may believe to be innocuous, common medications, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs or blood pressure medications.
Do not stop a medication you may already be taking without 1st discussing your plan with your physician.
Notably, physicians who are conservative in their prescribing practices will do the following:
|Consider non-drug therapies to treat underlying causes of the symptoms and discuss preventive strategies with you|
|Strategically prescribe medications, such as deferring the use of non-urgent drugs and avoiding switching medications, and start treatment with only one drug at a time|
|Discuss side effects with you and watch for suspected drug reactions and drug withdrawal symptoms, and who will educate you about reactions and what should be done if one occurs|
|Exercise caution when considering new medications, waiting until the drug has had a sufficient time on the market to determine common side effects, and be skeptical about drug trial reporting|
|Work with you on shared goals to help you enjoy better health by avoiding restarting previous medications that were unsuccessful, listening to your concerns, discontinuing unneeded medications and respecting your reservations or concerns about prescribed medications|
|Consider the long-term effects of prescribing a medication and weigh the benefits against the risks of taking medications|
And know this: 23% of physicians who prescribe opioids write prescriptions for at least a month’s worth of pills and 74% of physicians incorrectly believe oxycodone and morphine are the best methods of treating pain.
Dr. Donald Teater, medical adviser at the National Safety Council said: “Opioids do not kill pain; they kill people. Doctors are well-intentioned and want to help their patients, but these findings are further proof that we need more education and training if we want to treat pain most effectively.”
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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