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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.




  • Amber

    I found this article to be very biased and uninformed. I have worked for the pharmaceutical industry for most of my professional life, and have seen the unfortunate side effects as well as the innumerable times medications have helped. We do not hear about most of the positive side effects but we hear each time there is a negative one (which is usually caused by incompetence on the part of the medication taker). There are some drugs out there which are risky to take, but would you deny the patient their right to choose between the present symptoms and possible side effects? I am also a medication taker – I suffer from a very debilitating chronic condition. Without the medication available to me, I would not have any semblance of a life, nor a family. I wonder if the author of this opinion piece has ever taken medication? Surely, not all medications can be lumped into the “dangerous” category and should be done away with.

  • Bill Parkinson

    I don’t know about the statistics but the point needs to be considered. Are too many drugs being prescribed too often? Among our senior population many are taking handfuls of prescriptions daily. Even though research has been conducted on each individual drug the combinations set off chemical cascades with often negative interactions outweighing the overall benefits. As long as health is a business and drug companies are seeking profits for investors treatments will continue to outpace cures. Their is a much better return on investments treating chronic diseases than curing them.

  • Chris

    I agree there is a need for stricter regulation of prescription pain killers, but this article completely ignores the positive effects of pharmaceuticals. Try telling someone with blinding back pain to chew on some willow bark. Or someone with arrhythmia to jog away their palpitations. I am sure there is a strong argument for less reliance on pharmaceuticals, but this article hasn’t made it.

  • Skinni

    The fact that possible side effects are enumerated with what the author lumps together as “modern medications” does not mean that everyone, or even a majority of people who use the drug will experience side effects. In fact, it is usually a very small minority who will have any adverse reaction. Meanwhile these medicines are helping millions fight off disease, cope with pain or suffering, heal wounds, prevent infection — in short, live better.

    When they work as expected, we don’t hear much about those cases. In the rare instances where an individual is harmed, however, we will hear all about it — if not from the media, then from the ambulance chasers out slumming for the lucrative class action suit.

    It’s true that some medications are not adequately vetted before being marketed and occasionally need to be pulled when too many people are harmed or if even a few people are grievously injured. But that does not mean that all pharmaceuticals should be abandoned.

  • Anonymous

    This article is one of the most uninformed I have ever read. You and your editor should be ashamed to have this in print.

  • http://www.stonewallshootingsportsutah.org/ David Nelson

    In 2010, Newsweek magazine published a report showing that SSRI antidepressants that were already plagued with problems were slightly less effective than placebos. The lie is still out there that even more drugs work. People can set their clocks by the advertisements that are broadcast and published by national law offices searching for class-action plaintiffs in lawsuits against Big Pharma. If a new drug gets approved this year, it will likely become the target of such a lawsuit in the next three to seven years. This is a good measure of the lethality of the drugs and the inefficiency of our federal regulatory agencies. Big Pharma is the reason that iatrogenic death or injury is now the leading cause of unnatural death in the United States.

    • Anonymous

      Big Pharma is the reason behind discovery, synthesis and testing of compounds that can save or improve the quality of life. Each new drug needs to be tested against the standard of care and show that it improves measurable results and/or reduced side effects. Vaccines, clean water and pharmaceuticals are the reason we have increased life span and quality of life. For those that need medicines (cancer patients, etc) we NEED Big Pharma to have incentives to keep finding these drugs. Lawyers should be suing the FDA and not Big Pharma as the compounds undergo such vigorous testing that nobody could predict they increase a deadly effect 0.00000000001% more while they help almost 100%.

  • This article is just terrible :(

    This is complete rubbish and a grand misrepresentation of how pharmaceuticals work and their respective regulations and industries. You have some numbers and stats yes, but the underlying knowledge that really makes those stats important has been fruitfully left out. E.g. Out of the 4.5 million patients admitted each year with prescription side effect issues, the majority is from miscommunication amongst physicians and taking drugs that work against each other, not the drug itself. E.g. an overdose is an overdose, taking too much of anything is a bad thing. I sincerely invite you to take this load and give it a shove.

  • Mr. Anonymous

    What a load.