With all of the television commercials for new prescription drugs on the market, most people are aware that pharmaceuticals are a big business. Just how big? According to the CDC, from the years 2011-2014, the last years for which they have data available, 48.9% of Americans reported using at least one prescription drug within the previous 30 days. Just over 23% reported the use of 3 or more prescription drugs within the previous 30 days.
The most popular prescription drugs being prescribed at office visits were pain relievers, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and antidepressants.
Jim Parrish, attorney, and co-founder of Parrish Law, had this to say about the high rate of prescription drug use, “While drugs do provide necessary treatment, some of the drugs being prescribed by doctors today could be considered to be among the most dangerous prescription drugs on the market.”
When an FDA scientist says a drug is dangerous, questions should be raised. Yet, Lipitor is still one of the most-prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs on the market. Another cholesterol-lowering statin, Crestor, was linked to muscle wasting and kidney failure. Dr. David Graham has been particularly outspoken against Crestor, which he says presents more risk than other statins.
Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine sold under the common brand name of Xanax, is another dangerous drug. Common side effects were thoughts of suicide, difficulty breathing, pain, and depression. Concurrent use with opioid pain relievers, which is a common occurrence, increased the risk of overdose with benzodiazepines.
No one will say that smoking is good for you. However, using Chantix to try and quit smoking might be dangerous. The FDA has received 397 cases of possible psychosis, 227 reports of suicidal acts, and 28 completed suicides that were attributed to the drug. In fact, the government has gone so far as to ban air traffic controllers and interstate truck and bus drivers from taking the drug since 2008. A few months after the federal ban, some pharmacies on military bases also banned the drug.
Fentanyl is one of the drugs at the center of the current opioid crisis. Typically, Fentanyl is prescribed just before surgery to be used in conjunction with anesthesia, for cancer patients, and for sufferers of chronic pain whom have become opioid tolerant. However, a very small dose of Fentanyl, just 2 milligrams, can be fatal.
Johnson & Johnson and Bayer are facing some 18,000 lawsuits over their prescription drug, Xarelto. Intended to decrease the risk of stroke caused by blot clots, Xarelto has also been linked to internal bleeding, causing some 370 deaths that have been attributed to the drug.
Your doctor is in the business of getting and keeping you healthy. However, when a doctor prescribes you a medication, it is a good idea to ask questions. Ask why you are being prescribed the drug. Ask what possible side effects the drug may cause. If you are taking other medications, always make sure that there are no interactions that may be caused by taking the two prescription drugs available. Finally, always follow the advice of your doctor and do not discontinue taking a drug without medical advice or supervision.