BlissPlan firmly believes that natural remedies should be our first choice for healing, instead of drugs. Today's guest author has a sobering article that focuses on the side effects from drugs – and it will shock you! Don't miss these frightening statistics.
Prescription drugs are used by millions of people around the world to help alleviate everything from high blood pressure to depression. Most drugs have a number of possible side effects associated with their use that range from mild to severe.
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have recently published a new study in Science Translational Medicine. This study reveals the results of more than 4 million reports in the FDA’s database called the Adverse Effect Reporting System. This research has revealed that prescription drugs cause five times more side effects than previously thought. To be more specific, the average prescription has an average of 69 known side effects. The results of this huge amount of data studied show that the actual average number of side effects per prescription is 329. The risk of suffering a side effect from a medication is much, much greater than researchers ever dreamed possible.
Side effects can range in severity from mild headaches, nausea and dizziness to much more severe side effects such as heart arrthymia or seizures. The side effects can range from fairly common to incredibly rare. The extremely rare side effects are very hard to catch in clinical trials – especially those that are limited in scope. Drugs may be determined safe for use through clinical trials but still have some extremely serious side effects that have not yet turned up in people taking the medication under real world conditions.
Even more frightening is the range of drug interactions that have turned up under analysis of the huge FDA database. There were over 1,300 new drug adverse drug interactions found by pairing 59,220 different drugs together. The side effects found could not be attributed to either drug alone but only showed up in the combinations. One of these pairings is an anti-depressant and a blood pressure medication. These two drugs used in combination have been found to be associated with prolonged QT intervals in electrocardiogram tests. Instances of prolonged QT intervals are associated with heart arrthymias and even sudden cardiac arrest.
This large scale study involving new ways of analyzing the FDA database has turned up some extremely surprising results. Patients should never stop taking any medications without speaking to their physicians. Much more analysis needs to be done before any definite results or changes to drug side effects listings come into effect. However, it does prompt both doctors and their patients to approach prescription medications with much more caution. This increased caution is even more important in cases where patients are on multiple medications. People over the age of 70 are often on as many as 7 different prescription drugs. The need for further analysis of these results is urgent.
Researchers at Stanford have found new ways to analyze the large database of adverse reactions kept by the FDA. These new analyses have shown that side effects are much more common than anyone was previously aware of. The range of possible drug interactions between different medications also calls for further study as soon as possible.
About the author: Kevin Clarke is a Pharmacist with an internet in patient safety and education. He currently maintains Drugsdb.com – a database describing the side effects of the top 1,000 prescription and over the counter drugs.