Emily Reeve, a pharmacist at a major hospital in Adelaide, Australia, often finds patients overwhelmed by the sheer number of medicines they take every day. She believes that some medicines for these patients are useless and even harmful.
Such experiences of patients are not unusual in many rich countries. Around 15% of people in England take five or more prescription drugs every day. Also in the US, and Canada, 20% of people aged 40-79 years have this condition. And two- thirds of Americans age 65 or older take five prescription drugs every day. A quarter of people over the age of 65 in Canada also have this condition.
20% of people in many countries take five or more medicines every day
Not all medicines prescribed by doctors are beneficial. More than half of Canadians take a drug that is unnecessary. From a review of overprescribing in England in 2021.
It also has been found that there was no need to write 10% prescriptions to family doctors, or pharmacists. Even properly prescribed drugs have side effects. The more medicines people consume, the greater their effects.
Consuming more medicines bad for the health
A hospital in Liverpool, England a new study found that one in five hospitalized people became ill because of a bad reaction to medicines. American think tank Lawen Institute estimates that between 2020 and 2030 there could be more than 150,000 premature deaths due to drug overdose in the US. 45 lakh people may have to be admitted to the hospital.
There are many reasons for a drug overdose. In America, the benefits of medicines are being told more than necessary through advertising. There are very few studies on overprescribing of medicines. And the main sponsors of clinical trials are not interested in pharmaceutical companies.
Too many drugs make the body’s systems sick
There are many problems with overdosing. They adversely affect different systems of the body. Also, Some patients take multiple drugs that affect the same biological pathway. Some antiallergic pills and antidepressants affect the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the body.
(Neurotransmitters make hands, and feet move, and heartbeat is correct. They send information from one part of the body to another.) Overdose of antiallergic medicines can make patients confused. Often such effects are mistaken for old age or illness.
Many of the same drugs block access to another neurotransmitter, serotonin. Excessive intake of these causes tremors in the body, also less sleep, and trembling of hands and feet. many times. Their symptoms are mistaken for Parkinson’s, a disease of old age.
It affects the elderly more
Most medicines interact with each other in harmful ways. And in the elderly, more medicines have a worse effect. Their metabolism is weaker than others. For example, sleeping pills will make the youngster feel lethargic on the second day in the morning. But due to these, the mental activity of the elderly slows down. They find it difficult to do daily work.
Chief pharmaceutical officer for England, Dr. Keith Ridge, said “Medicines do people a lot of good and this report is absolutely not about taking treatment or services away from people where they are effective. But medicines can also cause harm and can be wasted.”
Doctors suggest trying the method of keeping track of medications that work best for you. “Missing a dose or two can lead to significant problems,” Dr. Fredericks says. “Medication only helps if it’s taken properly.”