Drug Cocktails: Are the Side Effects Worth it?

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Fact is all illegal drugs, prescription medication, over the counter (OTC) pills, & even herbal supplements cause side effects! Don’t take matters into your own hands—talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if you’re at risk for complicated drug interactions.

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Illegal drugs, prescription medication, over the counter (OTC) pills, & even herbal supplements can all cause side effects

  • All Medicines Are Drugs, But Not All Drugs Are Medicine
    • What’s the difference?
      • Medicine: Treats or prevents a disease or ailment
      • Drug: Triggers a specific response in the body

Around 170 million Americans take prescription medications

  • Pharmaceuticals Are Manufactured Compounds Used as Drugs or Medicine
    • Prescription drug side effects can overshadow their health benefits
      • 9 million people are hospitalized for adverse reactions to properly prescribed medication every year
      • 840,000 hospitalized patients are given drug treatments that have caused serious adverse reactions
      • 128,000 people per year die from drugs they are prescribed by doctors
      • 80% increase in bladder cancer is linked to taking the diabetic drug Actos for 2+ years

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch admits that prescription pills—& not marijuana—are the real gateway drug to harder substances.  So what’s the deal?

  • Prescription drugs can trigger addiction even when taken by “doctor’s orders”
    • In 2014, nearly 2 million Americans became physically dependent on prescription painkillers
    • 25% of patients treated with prescription opioids will become addicted to their medication
    • 1,000 people each day receive emergency room treatment due to complications from prescription opioids

Even common drugs can be dangerous when taken incorrectly

  • 81% of American Adults Reach For OTC Drugs As A First Response To Minor Issues
    • It’s just Tylenol (A.K.A. Acetaminophen)—no big deal, right?
      • 50% of diagnosed acute liver failures result from toxic amounts of acetaminophen
      • Causes 100,000+ emergency room visits a year
      • Over 600 prescription & OTC drugs use acetaminophen as part of their chemical recipes
      • 4,000 mgs of acetaminophen is the maximum daily dose allowed without risk of liver damage
      • Alcohol mixed with acetaminophen is a cocktail to stay away from as it severely increases likelihood of liver failure
    • Do you know whether you’re supplements are safe?
      • Vitamins & supplements are regulated by the FDA as a food, not a drug
      • 53% of adults take at least 1 dietary supplement
      • 23,000 people/year end up in the ER after taking dietary supplements
      • Only 1 out of 3 of supplements have any level of scientific evidence to support safety or effectiveness
      • 12% of available supplements have been linked to safety concerns or problems with quality

The number of American’s taking multiple pharma medications rose 70% from 1999 to 2012

  • Mixing Prescription Medication & OTC Drugs Can Increase Your Risk Of Serious Side Effects
  • Excessive drug combinations are very dangerous for people 65+ years old
    • 30% of elderly patients use 8 or more prescription drugs daily
    • 38% take at least one non-prescription medication
    • 20% are taking at least 1 inappropriately prescribed medication
    • An estimated 10-30% of hospital visits among the elderly are related to drug complications
  • Supplement labels don’t list side effects, all uses, and pharmacists/retailers aren’t always aware of how supplements will react with specific drugs/medications
    • Omega-3 fish oil supplements mixed with blood thinners & blood pressure medication reveal increased risk of bleeding
    • John’s Wort can reduce the effectiveness anti-anxiety pills & birth control, as well as increase side effects of antidepressant drugs
    • Probiotics can cause infection for people taking immunosuppressants
    • Calcium may reduce absorption of some medicines, including those taken for osteoporosis
    • And those are just a few of the interactions we already know about…

Don’t take matters into your own hands—talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if you’re at risk for complicated drug interactions

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