America's Prescription Drug Crisis
There are a vast variety of troubling symptoms and vague discomforts that could leave us feeling less than our best. Muscle aches, arthritis, chronic pain from past injuries, low energy and insomnia can all leave people suffering these conditions feeling weak and demoralized, and these symptoms make it difficult to get through our day. When we go to the doctor, the solution often involves taking some sort of prescription medication, and some people are on numerous medications just to keep their symptoms and medical conditions under control. Unfortunately, the overuse and abuse of prescription medication has reached epidemic proportions, and injuries and deaths caused by being over prescribed prescription medication have gained national attention. If you are taking prescription medication, it is important to understand the dangers associated with certain types of medication, as well as what to watch out for to make sure your health and well being is not being threatened.
The Prescription Drug Epidemic
More people today rely on prescription drugs than ever before. According to studies by the Mayo Clinic, roughly 70 percent take some sort of prescription medication, and half of the people currently taking medication take more than one kind of drug. The most commonly prescribed medications are antibiotics, antidepressant, and painkillers, particularly opioids. While overuse of antibiotics, antidepressants, or any type of prescription medication can present serious health problems, it is the use of opioids, which has risen to epidemic proportions, that has been causing the most concern.
Over 200 million people are prescribed opioid pain medication each year. While these medications, such as Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone, are extremely powerful at relieving pain, they are also highly addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over two million people are currently addicted to opioid pain medication, and overdose deaths for these types of drugs are higher than for both heroin and cocaine combined.
Signs Your Doctor Might Be Over Prescribing
While certain types of medications are always medically necessary to treat an illness or pain, your doctor may write you a prescription to use just in case you need it. Consumers should be cautious of taking any medication that is not absolutely needed, as well as staying on medications for long periods of time. Consumer Reports recommends watching out for these signs that your doctor is over prescribing medication:
- Being prescribed multiple drugs without an explanation
- Treating every symptom with a prescription
- The office has advertisements for a number of different types of pharmaceuticals
- Your doctor does not discuss ways to treat symptoms without using medication
A classic sign that your doctor is over prescribing is by giving antibiotics for the common cold. Over prescription of antibiotics is potentially harmful to the patient, and may result in the development of ‘superbugs’ that are resistant to treatment with antibiotics.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or someone you care about has suffered as a result of a prescription medicine, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys right away. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we can help you get the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we will fight for your rights, and hold responsible parties accountable. Call us today for a free consultation.