START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Pharmaceuticals: Just Say Maybe

Pharmaceuticals: Just Say Maybe

An article in the Washington Post this week notes that the Food and Drug Administration has issued 14 drug advisories since November, which amounts to more than it sometimes issues in an entire year. The Post quotes Paul Seligman, the director of the FDAís Office of Drug Safety, as saying that the surge does not indicate that drugs are more dangerous recently, just that the FDA has decided to do a better and more timely job of informing the public of adverse reactions to medications. Think carefully about Seligmanís reassurance. He is saying this: Drugs are not more dangerous than they used to be; drugs have always been dangerous. Now they are just telling us about it sooner.

Quite often drugs are necessary. If you have diabetes that canít be controlled with diet and exercise, you need medication. If that medication is found to increase your risk of other illnesses, such as heart problems or depression, you need to discuss the risk-benefit ratio with your doctor, perhaps find an alternative medication or take steps to reduce the risks of the one you are using. The fact that drugs are dangerous does not mean we shouldnít take them when we need them. It means that we shouldnít take them if we donít need them—and should think very carefully about possible alternatives when we are ill.

The wide variety of available medications (from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for mild arthritis pain to high-powered antacids for acid reflux and indigestion) has accustomed us to reach for the pill bottle at the slightest hint of discomfort. We rarely think about the risks. If it is on the shelf it must be safe, we tell ourselves. Our doctor wouldnít have given it to us if it werenít safe, we think. That kind of reasoning is naÔve beyond belief. Anyone who has paid more than a little attention to events lately knows that this is simply not true. The FDA seems to be doing a better job of keeping us informed about the risks of the medicines we are offered. It is our job to use these drugs responsibly, only when the benefits of their use outweigh the risk that all drugs entail.

Avery Hurt is a health and science journalist. Her work appears regularly in national publications such as: Better Homes and Gardens, Newsweek, and The New Physician. She is author of Bullet With Your Name On It: What You Will Probably Die From And What You Can Do About It (Clerisy Press, 2007) and Donít Worry, Iím Not Contagious: Your Guide to Staying Healthy in an Infectious World, due out from Clerisy, fall 2008. She is at work on her third book, on alternative medicine.

Read more: Blogs, Health, Natural Remedies, Simply Healthy

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Avery Hurt

Avery Hurt is a health and science journalist. Her work appears regularly in national publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Newsweek, and The New Physician. She is author of Bullet With Your Name On It: What You Will Probably Die From And What You Can Do About It (Clerisy Press, 2007) and Donít Worry, Iím Not Contagious: Your Guide to Staying Healthy in an Infectious World, due out from Clerisy, fall 2008. She is at work on her third book, on alternative medicine.

21 comments

+ add your own
4:38AM PST on Jan 13, 2013

Thanks.

1:55PM PST on Jan 3, 2013

I do believe that we have become a drug culture, which is not to say as the article states that drugs aren't sometimes necessary. Often life-saving. But rather than just reaching for a bottle of pills research your options and make an informed decision Be pro-active in your healthcare.

12:04PM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

good analyses

10:09AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

Im 18 & still trying to find an alternative.for insomnia

3:11AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Thanx.

2:57PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

thanks

1:33PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

I think herbal remedies, essential oils, and other natural healings are the way to go.

1:27PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

So many drugs are being fast tracked for approval these days, the full extent of how they work in the human body are not fully realized until patient's have been taking them for years. It is good that new medications are being developed especially for chronic & very costly diseases but thankfully the FDA is now more alert to side effects & companies are required to report ill effects from the drugs they have marketed.

8:56AM PST on Jan 29, 2012

thanks

1:28AM PST on Dec 12, 2010

Thanks for the info.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Already signed the petition. You know it's getting bad when you're thrilled by a single sighting of …

Going to the market soon! New list though

Legalize It Now.....been toking since 1965.....the government can pretend that it has the right to d…

thanks I use the rain barrell when I wash the car not often at all this year

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.