Prescription drugs do more harm than good



Isaac J. Bromley / The Daily Utah Chronicle

Isaac J. Bromley / The Daily Utah Chronicle

Willy Wonka might have a lot of wacky candy creations, but none are comparable to the madness of modern medication.

We’ve all heard the monotone medication infomercials on TV. The side effects of prescriptions may include: heart attack, stroke, dehydration, dizziness, nausea, hallucination, death and the possibility of turning into an Oompa-Loompa. No, not the last one. But would it surprise you, really, if it were?

Joking aside, modern medication causes more problems than it solves. The side effects are inevitable, injurious and exponential.

First, there seems to be a misconception that “Food and Drug Administration-approved” is synonymous with “healthy” or “safe.” The problem with modern medication is even FDA-approved medications are by no means harmless, and the general public fails to understand that.

FDA black-box warning labels are often insufficient and ineffective. Their trials and MedWatch procedures are “a system that is ripe for abuse,” according to drugwatch.com.

By means of stricter FDA medicine regulations, the side effects could be lessened, although all prescription-related illnesses would not be eliminated. But ultimately focusing on alternate, non-chemical treatments might be the best solution to the woes of modern medication.

FDA’s official statement reads, “All medicines have benefits and risks. The risks of medicines are the chances that something unwanted or unexpected could happen to you when you use them. FDA approves a drug for marketing after determining that the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks.”

However, this seems contradictory to many prescriptions on the market. It is arguable that many available medications do, in fact, have worse risks than benefits.

Adderall, a medication used to treat ADHD symptoms, is commonly referred to as “prescription speed,” according to Natural News. It is highly addictive and leads to complications like high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and sudden death.

Psych Central reports 48 percent of patients taking ADHD medications experience at least one side effect, and 21 percent of those side effects were rated very to extremely bothersome.

Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, can make anxiety symptoms worse over time. Zoloft, a depression medication, can increase the risk of suicide.

Ambien is a prescription sleep aid to treat insomnia. Over time, the side effects have been reported to get worse, too. The FDA label reads, “After taking Ambien, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night.”

Many report driving a vehicle, eating, walking or talking on the phone without being aware of their actions, which are carried out in a sleep-like trance.

Why is anything with such dramatic side effects FDA-approved?

Drug side effects, according to Natural News, comprise 20 percent of hospital readmissions, with 4.5 million Americans visiting the doctor or the emergency room each year because of prescription drug side effects, according to drugwatch.com.

In 2008, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported there were almost 15,000 deaths because of prescription painkiller overdoses. Drugwarfacts.com reports 74.3 percent of those deaths were unintentional.

That means more people die each year from prescription overdoses than gun homicides. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reported 11,078 gun-related homicides in 2010, whereas 15,000 deaths resulted from medication.

Furthermore, one side effect to many medications is aggressive behavior, which leads to increased violence.

According to The New American’s article “Psychiatric Meds: Prescription for Murder?” there were 11,000 reports to the FDA’s MedWatch program from 2004 to 2011 that related psychiatric drugs to violence.

In fact, Eric Harris, one of the perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, was taking Luvox — an antidepressant — at the time of the incident.

Non-chemically based, natural treatments often work better than prescriptions. The side effects are not nearly as drastic, either. Something as simple as regular exercise can greatly improve health.

There will never be a way to abstain from side effects all together, but reduction in consumption of modern medicines is a means to a more healthy end.

Modern medication is no chocolate factory. There are serious sickening side effects.