Lifestyle Drugs and Risk
Posted on July 15, 2007 Comments (11)
I see taking drugs as risky. Certain drug have long histories and seem safe and even seem to have positive side effect like Aspirin (though even it is not without risks – see below). Even if a drug has a good chance of a positive result in treating some medical condition – assuming it is otherwise safe is not wise. I believe you have have a significant positive known benefit to consider taking drugs given the unknown problems that are likely to be lurking. I find the pop a pill culture for anything that might be a minor annoyance to be foolish – taking risks without consideration. Taking drugs entails taking a risk and the more you take the risks of interactions and cumulative effects increase the risks to you. Business Week (somewhat surprising given the huge amount drug makers pay to advertise lifestyle drugs) has a decent article pointing out some of the foolishness involved in the Lifestyle Drug Binge:
This trend is surprising because such treatments can expose patients to risks, sparking criticism of drug companies at a time when patient safety is already under a spotlight. Lifestyle drugs are defined loosely as products used to treat conditions that are not life-threatening. Because people take them over long periods of time, sometimes on a daily basis, they may be more dangerous than they first appear.
We have found amazingly helpful and useful drugs. This is great. But people need to remember these drugs are not without potential negative consequences. Take advantage of them when appropriate but don’t forget the risks each instance has for negative side effects. Related: health care improvement articles – health care blog posts
Can daily aspirin therapy save your life? (from the University of Michigan):
“I think aspirin is currently undergoing a bit of an identity crisis,” says Fendrick. “Because it’s been around so long and is available over the counter for pennies a day, many people can’t believe that aspirin is equally or more effective than prescription drugs that cost over a hundred times more.”
“Aspirin is not benign,” says Fendrick. “Thousands of people die each year in the United States from complications related to taking aspirin and other NSAIDs.