When people get sick, doctors will inevitably analyze the symptoms, diagnose the problem, and hand out a list if medications that can help alleviate the symptoms. For the most part, doctors suggest prescription drugs rather than over-the-counter medication. This is largely because if the over-the-counter ones actually worked, then there wouldn’t be a need to visit a doctor. This situation is not uncommon and, in general, whenever a medical professional prescribes certain medications, then the recommendation is a reliable one. However, some statistics are starting to show that there in an increase in mishaps related to the prescription process. Particularly troublesome are situations that involve prescribing too many drugs to a patient and prescribing the wrong ones.
Anyone who disputes that prescription drugs are of great benefit and a medical necessity in the modern world can be considered a fool, but too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. However, according to statistics published as early as 2003, thousands of prescriptions a year are incorrect and dangerous. Most experts pile them into two basic categories: the over-prescribed, and the incorrectly prescribed. Being given too many prescription drugs to take could cause harm to the body, particularly if the given medications are too potent or might have dangerous side effects when taken together. In the event that the prescription is incorrect, not only is there a risk that the patient’s condition will simply deteriorate, there is also the risk of unforeseen complications from the effects of the drugs. Statistics show that at least 21.3% of all patients are given prescriptions that are either wrong or have too many drugs listed.
One of the more common reasons for this problem is that the “illness” at the root of the problem is merely an adverse reaction to previously taken prescription drugs. The side effects of some medications can easily look like the symptoms of some diseases. For example, some of the signs of insomnia are known to be similar to the rarer side effects of some muscle relaxant medication. The doctor mistakenly views the side effects as symptoms, which prompts him to prescribe more drugs to combat an illness that isn’t actually there. Of course, this is not always the case.
In other instances, the problem stems from the fact that a more preferable alternative is present, but the doctor instead recommends one that is not perfectly suited to the problem. There are various ways by which any given drug can become inappropriate. The patient may have allergic reactions to one or more of the chemical components of the given drug. The prescribed may be posed as an alternative to a better drug, or better suited to treating a different (but similar) condition. In a few cases, the commercially available doses might be too much, or too little, for the patient in question. In fact, incorrect dosages are among the primary problems that some patients face with regards to the safety of their prescriptions.
There are various other instances where the prescription might not be right. Regardless of how the incorrect information came about, the end result is always the same. There is an increased risk of side effects and damage to the patient, which is exactly what most doctors would prefer to avoid. The problem can only get worse as more people pop pills.