Every year our local high school sells garbage bags that say, “Drugs are Trash.” Obviously, they are referring to illegal street drugs. But, I have to wonder, how much of this statement is truth, when referring to prescription drugs. When I read, “in 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported 1,742 drug recalls representing a 309% increase over the 426 recalls reported in 2008…Based on the number of recalls reported to the FDA during the first half of 2010, it appears this trend is likely to continue.”
So, the next question that arises is, “Does the risk outweigh the benefit?” Well, of course it does, as long as the risk happens to somebody else. I think a lot of us walk around thinking “oh, that will never happen to me.”
Before I continue I have to put in the disclaimer to protect myself. I have to say, I am not a doctor. If you’re not sure what you need to do, go see a HEALTH care provider. What bothers me most about this statement, is that everyone ‘must’ put the disclaimer in their blogs or websites, or they can get into legal ramifications. It is hard for me to honestly stand behind that statement when I read this: “Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.” That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second. Source
Ok, now back to the drugs…
Are you aware that colds, flu, most sore throats, and bronchitis are caused by viruses? Did you know that antibiotics do not help fight viruses? It’s true. Children and adults with viral infections, usually recover when the illness has run its course. Colds, a type of viral infection, can last for up to two weeks. Plus, taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. It is estimated that 142,505 emergency visits are made to the hospital each year due to antibiotic-associated side effects, with allergic reactions being the most common. Certain antibiotics increases your risk of developing a retinal detachment by five times compared with nonusers. In 2008, the FDA notified manufacturers that a warning label be added to a different antibiotic stating, an increased risk of tendonitis and/or tendon rupture. It took two years after the discovery was made for the warning to be implemented.
According to the CDC widespread overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics continues to be a problem. So much so, the CDC has launched a campaign entitled “Get Smart about Antibiotics.”
What About Other Prescriptions?
If doctors are prescribing antibiotics inappropriatly, can we assume it is happening with other drugs? According to these statistics from the Kaiser Health Foundation. The average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes more than 11 prescription drugs, Almost 4 prescriptions per child (age 0-18)
More than 31 prescriptions per senior, aged 65 and over. Prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs.
I gathered all this information to strengthen my confidence. I know what is best for my children. I do! Medicine does have a place in an emergency crisis. Children need to be able to get sick. Their bodies need to have the opportunity to fight off infection. To fight a good fight and finish the race. Sick children make for healthy adults, that is my motto. Health is NOT the absence of a condition, disease or symptoms. Instead health is a state of balance where your body is working like it is supposed to!