Drugs – Side Effects? – How To Avoid Them

The September publication of AARP Bulletin published an article about the number of people taking prescribed drugs and their side effects.
“There are a lot of people taking drugs to treat the side effects of drugs” Gordon Schiff, M.D. Harvard Medical School.

The article can be read on http://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-09-2011/prescription-drug-side-effects.html

This article has no surprises to most people, but I think the figures do, like at least 4.5 million Americans a year go to their doctor because of the adverse effect of the drugs that they are consuming.

Most of the time when we go to the doctor for a particular ailment, we assume that the drug that he prescribes will only target that particular area. This of course is not possible because we have to digest this drug, it goes into our blood stream so really it will affect many of our organs so of course they will react to some of these drugs. They can make you feel nauseous, maybe give you stomach pains and many other symptoms.

I avoid going to the doctors like the plague, I don’t even know a doctor’s name who I could visit if I did have a problem. I am one of those lucky ones that has pretty good health. Well so far. If I am feeling a little “Under the weather” as they say, I usually will go for a walk or a bike ride or a swim in the ocean. If I am really feeling bad I will go to bed and sleep it off.

Personally I believe that doctors prescribe too many drugs to their patients and of course most patients readily take these drugs without too many questions, because they have total faith in their doctor.

Here are seven points from the article to consider on how to avoid drug reactions

1. If you are experiencing a change that does not feel right, contact your doctor.
Often when you take a drug you will feel the effect of it in some way. Find out from your doctor if this is normal and if your body will get used to it and the symptoms gradually wear off. If it persists then demand that you have another examination as it may be a serious medical problem.

2. If you are taking several drugs, ask your doctor or pharmacist to review them

I am amazed at the amount of tablets my Mother takes each day. I know she is 93, but how she doesn’t feel ill from the mixture, I will never know. I have asked the doctor about them but he assures me they are all necessary.
If you think you are taking too many tablets ask your doctor to review them. Another suggestion is see a certified consultant pharmacist trained in managing a number of drugs. This is not a free service but your health plan may pay for it.

3. Ask about lifestyle changes that you may be able to consider
I am a great believer in exercise, so maybe you could ask your doctor about some life style changes. The obvious is losing weight, and giving up smoking. Exercising is definitely one to consider, it may eventually help you avoid taking some of your drugs as your health improves.

4. Ask for a prescribed drug that has been on the market for at least seven years
Basically if a drug has been on the market for at least 5 to 10 years, the chances are side effects of the drug have already shown up. Some reactions do not happen immediately they can take several months, even a year.

5. Ask your doctor why he is prescribing a particular drug.
Find out as much as you can about what you are about to consume. Ask about the risks, and the benefits. Is there an alternative drug.

6. Don’t stop taking a drug without consulting your doctor.
There maybe worse side effects if you stop taking a drug suddenly.

7. Review your medications on line
WebMD is very informative. Also go to AARP’s Drug Interaction Checker at aarp.org/healthtools


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