Looking back at the past 100 years, it’s clear that advances in modern medicine have proven to be an immense benefit to humanity. We’ve seen infant mortality decline, the raising of our average lifespans, and we’ve witnessed the curing of countless diseases. However, no field advances without a few bumps in the road, and the medical profession is no exception.
One of the most egregious failures of our healthcare system is the overzealous prescribing of pharmaceutical drugs. Many of these substances don’t really cure anything. They simply mask the symptoms of disease, and cause horrific side effects that can only be “cured” with more drugs, so it should come as no surprise that over 70 percent of Americans are currently taking some kind of legally prescribed drug.
So it appears that the miracle of modern medicine is rapidly turning to folly, as our healthcare system slowly turns into a highly profitable sick-care industry. Currently, the relationship between patients and the drug companies could at best be described as “parasitic”. At its worst, some of these drugs are downright lethal. It has long been estimated that 100,000 Americans die from the side effects of their prescriptions, and those numbers aren’t from abusing drugs or accidental overdoses. Those people died from taking their “medicine” exactly how they were supposed to.
Of course, some of these drugs are far more dangerous than others. There are over 10,000 prescription drugs on the market today, but a handful of those are responsible for the majority of pharmacological induced deaths. So the next time your doctor gives you a prescription, be cautious with the following drugs.
For decades Americans have been conned into believing that there is a serious problem with cholesterol, and how our bodies process it. While it can be argued that excess levels of cholesterol are bad for you, the connection between cholesterol intake and heart disease is tenuous at best. And there are plenty of other ways you can reduce your cholesterol without drugs, such as eating a better diet, getting more exercise and receiving more sun exposure.
But if you do decide to take statins instead of taking the more natural route, you should know that hundreds of studies have been conducted that prove the dangers of cholesterol drugs. They’re known to cause cognitive decline, anemia, kidney failure, cataracts, erectile dysfunction, cancer, and overall it seems to give patients a compromised immune system. Given the fact that millions of adults are on statins, there’s no telling how many people are routinely killed by these drugs.
Also known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, this class of drugs includes antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. In recent years they’ve become controversial for their tendency to cause violent behaviors and suicidal thoughts in patients, and after all the damage they’ve done they may not be any more effective than a placebo. Unless you have a case of serious clinical depression, they’re probably not worth the effort.
But more importantly, antidepressants can cause a whole host of side effects unrelated to your brain, including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. To my knowledge, there has never been a thorough study on the number of deaths caused by these drugs. So between the physical side effects, suicides, and violent outbursts, we may never know how many people are killed by antidepressants every year.
In the United States, it’s estimated that 50-70 million adults have trouble falling asleep, so it’s not surprising that sedative drugs like Ambien have become so popular. But that popularity has also caused a dramatic increase in hospital visits for Ambien users.
In 2010 alone, 19,000 people visited an emergency room do to the side effects of Ambien, which often include sleep walking, blackouts and hallucinations (which frequently occur while driving). Like antidepressants, there have been several murder cases that have been tied to this drug, and some of the mental side effects are so creepy and bizarre, that users often question their sanity. If you value your mental and physical health, then avoid Ambien at all costs.
Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs that are more commonly known under various trade names such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Since their inception they’ve been frequently used to treat conditions such as insomnia, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and alcoholism. Unfortunately, these are often life long conditions, whereas drugs like Xanax and Valium tend to have terrible side effects after long term use.
Like antidepressants, benzos often cause cognitive decline, dissociation, suicidal thoughts, and violent behavior. Recent studies have linked them to higher mortality rates among people with preexisting conditions, and a 35% higher risk of cancer. And to top it all off, these pills are highly addictive. Patients often need to be weened off them over a period of weeks and months.
Known for their pain relieving qualities, opiates are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in America. They’re also among the most dangerous, causing an estimated 17,000 deaths, and over 92,000 overdoses every year. Drugs such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Methadone are also notoriously addictive, making them a popular alternative to street drugs like heroin.
With over 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain, and 200 million prescriptions issued every year, opiates are among the most prescribed drugs in the United States. As their usage continues to rise, so to will the death toll climb. And like the other drugs on this list they also cause numerous side effects including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and constipation.
If there’s one thing you should take from this article, it’s that the greatest risk with prescription drugs are their side effects. The drug companies don’t care about these dangerous conditions, because they know that if their drugs make you sick, it just means that you’ll need more drugs to treat the symptoms.
So if you find yourself sick or injured, consult your doctor like you normally would, but do your research on whatever is prescribed to you. Unless your condition is severe and acute, see if there’s an alternative treatment that may work in lieu of your prescription, because with pharmaceutical drugs, you’re one bad side effect away from becoming another pill popping American.