Are we taking too many prescription medications to manage our health? Dr. Andrew Weil, a well-respected medical doctor and advocate of integrative alternative treatments, shares his opinion on this topic in a recent Huffington Post blog. He references a study that shows 70% of Americans are taking at least one prescription drug and at least half are taking two medications. Despite taking these medications the health of the American population appears to be declining. He cites research that shows that the health outcomes of Americans are the worst amongst economically similar countries despite taking more pharmaceutical drugs. Dr. Weil suggests that patients need to be better informed before starting prescription medications and consider other treatment opinions with their doctor. Many patients expect their physician to prescribe medications to treat their ailments and this might not be necessary to treat every condition. He believes that lifestyle modifications or herbal supplements may be more effective solutions to many medical issues. At the same time he feels that we should not always reject treatment using prescription medications as there are many cases where the benefits of drugs far outweigh the harm.
Dr. Weil’s blog focused on over prescribing of medications to the American public. In our opinion this issue is one that Canadians need to contemplate as well. We live in a society that too often turns to a pill for every ill. Furthermore, many patients do not have a regular family doctor to discuss their health concerns with. We really need to play an active role in our health management. Make sure you know the risks and benefits of taking any medication or supplement for that matter. Do your own research, or book a consult with one of our nutritionists or practitioners before starting a therapy, and keep an open mind to all treatment options. Our current health system focuses mainly on treatment of disease rather than prevention. Your best strategy is to adopt a sustainable healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and nutritious food. Check out our website and apps for more healthy living tips. We are here to help you achieve your health goals.
Original study in Mayo clinic “Nearly 7 in 10 Americans are on prescription drugs.”
Mike Richards. “Extent and causes of international variations in drug usage.” A report for the Secretary of State for Health. July, 2010.