I’ve recently read two articles that touch on similar topics. I’ll talk about one of them today, and the other in my next post.
First, I want to stress I know the importance of prescription medications. I always remind clients to follow their doctors’ or healthcare professionals’ advice on them including to not stop taking them or changing the dosage on their own.
The first article, “Medicare Releases Detailed Data on Prescription Drug Spending,” points out: “. . . officials said they decided to make the information available on a public website to encourage experts to weigh in, potentially leading to new solutions for policy challenges, like how to contain costs.”
By no means am I an “expert” they referred to in the quote. What I do have is an interest in the overuse of prescription drugs, and the costs related to them. I’m raising these questions because I would like you to shift your perspective, consider other possibilities, and ask your own questions whenever you read articles on health/wellness/fitness.
The above article lists the 10 top drugs prescribed to Medicare patients in 2013. Number one on the list was Nexium (for acid reflux) accounting for a total cost of over $2.5 billion and 8,192,326 prescriptions filled. Think about these two figures. Please note, Nexium lost its patent protection in 2014 and is now available as a generic.
As I read this piece some thoughts that came to mind are:
- The side effects of Nexium—some of which are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, nervousness, abnormal heartbeat, muscle pain, leg cramps, and weakness. Think of the potential chain reaction if these individuals are prescribed another medication to counteract one of Nexium’s side effects.
- The possibility that individuals on this drug don’t have too much stomach acid but rather too little to properly digest their food, or they’re experiencing discomfort because of having a damaged esophagus lining.
- Could their symptoms be treated and eliminated through dietary changes without the need for medication.
- Allowing doctors to spend more quality time with their patients so they can uncover the root causes of conditions rather than treating symptoms.
- People’s desire for an immediate solution leads to a constant search for a “magic bullet.”
- The risks associated with people self-medicating with the over-the-counter version of Nexium. This thought also connects to the first bullet point.
If you get a chance, please read the article and see what questions come to your mind.
As mentioned, my next post will discuss an article that compliments the one I wrote about today.