The leading drug problem in the U.S. today is not the use of illegal drugs—it is the use of legal drugs.
The fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. is properly prescribed and administered medication. By adding improperly prescribed medication to that equation, it becomes the third leading cause of death.
There are over 2 million hospital admissions and 180,000 deaths each and every year in the U.S. due solely to adverse drug reactions
When the FDA approves a medication for use by the general public, less than half of the serious drug reactions are known. You—the patient—become the final clinical trial.
If you aren’t aware of these facts, and you don’t have the tools and information to counter them, you are at risk.
Experienced family doctor Ray Strand writes his patients prescriptions every week, but he also believes that prescribing drugs should be a last resort in most medical cases—not a first choice. In Death by Prescription he provides simple guidelines to help readers protect themselves and their families from suffering adverse reactions to prescription medication.
A Balanced Examination of Drug Use, November 13, 2003
Reviewer: Barbara N Kuehner (Captain Cook, HI United States) - See all my reviews
This is an important book for anyone who takes prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs or herbals. The first part examines the relationship between drug companies and the FDA, which has changed significantly since the early 1990's. Much of the funding for new drug review now comes from the drug manufacturers. The approval process is faster and testing time shorter. The author details how the public increasingly plays a role in "testing" in the form of "post-marketing surveillance" and that the adverse drug reactions encountered are under reported. Marketing includes massive distribution of "free sample" to physicians, many of whom may not be familiar with precautions -- and hence do not alert patients to warning signs and symptoms. Also, advertising of prescription medications has increased greatly in the last few years, which has greatly increased drug use and pressure on physicians to prescribe medications.
Other sections of the books discuss similar concerns with nonprescription medications (many of which recently required prescriptions) and with herbal medications.
The book is "spiced" with case histories that are real page turners. The author has done a real service to the public by describing the scope of the adverse drug reaction problem (#3 killer), and by describing several of the reasons why this has become such an overwhelming concern.
This review is written from the perspective of someone who has been in nursing for over 20 years and who has seen lots of people on lots of medications. The author, a physician, is not suggesting that people stop taking medications that may be important to their health. But he provides guidelines and tools to help individuals evaluate what they need, including the use of a pharmacist and internet resources.