Prescription Drugs: A New Typed of Killer in the U.S.

Prescription Drugs: A New Typed of Killer in the U.S.

In 2006, a report was released regarding the harm being caused by medication errors. It said that medication errors have been affecting about 1.5 million people in the U.S. for the past two decades. In 2015, nine years after this report was made public, instead of reducing instances of these errors, the problem only escalated. In 2008, for instance, the National Center for Health Statistics recorded 41,000 deaths due to medication overdose or poisoning.

The bigger concern that the government faces, especially the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, is the fact that these overdose problems are not caused by illegal drugs, like cocaine and heroin, but by medicinal pills that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and which doctors prescribed to patients.

Prescription drugs are aimed at maintaining health and sustaining life. To serve their real purpose, though, these will have to be taken in accordance with medical guidelines because if abused, used much longer than instructed by doctors or used in ways other than medically directed, then these can very well cause not only harmful side effects, but even death.

Not all prescription drugs pose harm. The ones that do, however, are those that people tend to use every day (due to doctor instruction), like opiate-based pain relievers, anxiety medications, sedatives and stimulants, despite their addictive and very strong effects.

The positive results, which users claim, opiate-based drugs provide them are the main reasons why they become over dependent and addicted to these drugs. The worst mistake that users commit, though, besides abuse of these drugs is mixing some of these with other drugs, making their effect no less than deadly.

As pointed out by Dr. Russell Jenkins, MD, a member of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices’ (ISMP) board of directors, the most dangerous combinations of drugs include antidepressants and methadone, and painkillers and supplements. Certain antibiotics and oral contraceptives, as explained by Matthew Grissinger, RPh, ISMP pharmacist and education safety analyst, should not be taken together as well, as the former will only reduce the effectiveness of the latter. Both experts also said that, Coumadin, a blood thinner taken by people with heart valve conditions or with blood clots, should not be used with ginseng or aspirin.

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