The latest issue of Health and Science in Medicine features a fascinating paper from the University of Oxford, entitled “The Health Effects of Prescription Drugs and Medical Products.”
This article is part of the Health and Social Care Special Report.
The paper’s authors are Professors John McAllister and Dr Michael C. O’Neill.
The authors describe themselves as “research-oriented, practitioner-oriented academics” and “professionals in medicine and health sciences.”
They write that, because of the health risks of prescription drugs, prescription drugs should not be prescribed unless there is a clear evidence base for their safety and efficacy.
They explain that the reason that there is so little evidence is that the pharmaceutical industry has “sold its supply of drugs in ways that it did not need to, and thus avoided the necessary risk-benefit analysis necessary to inform the development of drugs and their design.”
The authors point out that the National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that “there is a high level of evidence for the effectiveness of antidepressants, benzodiazepines, anti-anxiety drugs, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, antihypertensive drugs, antiparkinsonian drugs, and anti-depressants.”
The authors note that a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that “[t]he average number of prescription drug prescriptions each day by women in the United States has increased by approximately 10 percent over the past three decades.”
This is the highest level of prescription use since 1971.
The researchers explain that this is the result of a combination of “the increasing number of women using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons” and a “growing market for drugs that are marketed as alternative to the conventional medical treatment” and that “prescription drug companies may be able to attract a wider audience of potential users by offering alternative treatments that are less costly and less risky than the standard treatment.”
I think this is a pretty interesting study, and it raises an important question.
What does this mean for patients?
For example, if a patient is looking for a treatment for a common disease that is not curable with conventional treatment, then it might be beneficial to take a prescription medicine with a prescription.
But if the patient has a chronic disease that requires a treatment that is expensive and sometimes dangerous, then the choice of a medicine might make more sense.
What this means for patients in general is that doctors and patients should be looking for treatments that have proven to be safe and effective for the specific disease they are treating.
If the doctor is unsure, then he or she should seek more information from a doctor, and then make the best decision based on that information.
This is a good study and important because it suggests that we should take our prescription medications seriously, and this is one of the ways we can do that.
But it is not a perfect solution.
If we want to prevent a patient from getting a dangerous drug, then we need to make sure that patients have access to the best medical care, and we need a more accurate understanding of how drugs are made.
As I have written before, there are many factors that make a medicine dangerous, and in the case of prescription medications, there is no clear answer.
Dr. McAllisters and Dr. OONeill point out, “Prescription drug makers are likely to be more cautious when deciding whether to offer alternative treatments than in other areas where there is more evidence that a particular treatment is effective.”
So it’s important that we make sure we are taking all the available evidence into account.
And, of course, there will always be exceptions.
I know that many of my colleagues and I have become concerned about the potential harms of certain prescription drugs.
But we should not become complacent.
We need to understand the evidence before making a decision, and if we need more evidence, then so be it.