If you’re not aware of the countless potential dangers associated
with medication use, look closely at the warning labels on
or the cautionary sheet your pharmacist includes with every
Evidence suggests that in many cases,
the benefits of medication use may be outweighed by the complications
and side effects, a point underscored in this study from the
Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Telephone surveys were used to gather data on health care
utilization, drug complications, and other variables from
2,858 randomly selected outpatients (20-75 years old) from
eleven Boston-area ambulatory clinics. Medical records were
also reviewed to collect information on diagnoses, medications,
allergies, hospitalizations and ADEs (adverse drug events)
in the previous year.
Results showed that 79% of patients reported prescription
drug use, with 18% reporting a “drug complication,” defined
as a problem or symptom in the past year related to prescription
medications. Antibiotics, antidepressants, and nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were the most common offenders;
common side effects included gastrointestinal problems (the
most severe reported complication), sleep disturbances, fatigue,
and mood changes. The authors mention that although drug complications
were “commonly reported by patients,” they were often not
noted in corresponding patient medical charts.
These findings emphasize the need for improved doctor-patient
communication, while underscoring the potential dangers associated
with medication use. For more information on the pros and
cons of prescription drugs, and to learn more about non-drug
options for treating your pain, contact your doctor of chiropractic.
Gandhi TK, Burstin HR, Cook EF, et al. Drug complications
in outpatients. Journal of General Internal Medicine,
March 2000: Vol. 15, pp149-54.