Worstpills.org is one of my favorite subscription sites when farming for well vetted information. Founded in 1971 (yes, they've been fighting corruption and promoting truth longer than most!) to help consumers stay informed about harmful or ineffective medications 💊, and to bring awareness to Big Pharma's unhealthy influence over the FDA's decision making.
The following list is theirs.... the commentary is mine.
💊10 Rules for Safer Drug Use💊
1. Have a "brown bag" session with your doctor.... ie: bring a list of all the meds and supplements you currently take to your doctor, along with the strength, how taken, and which doctor prescribed them.
(Me)Now, while this is an excellent idea in theory, 99% of doctors won't have time to do this thanks to insurance and industry quotas. You may try going to a pharmacy. Pharmacists are certainly more knowledgeable about medications than doctors and can often spot problematic areas quickly, but they too nowadays operate with quotas. It's definitely a conundrum that warrants solving.
2. Make sure the drug therapy is really needed.
(Me) This is perhaps one of the biggest problems of all. A pill won't solve loneliness, isolation, lack of mentorship, bad lifestyle choices, etc. And yet.... here we are, the most medicated country in the world. Yes, a pill may "take the edge off" but at what cost? Medication by its very definition is a toxin that must be dealt with and eliminated by the body. There are many non pharmacological approaches to healing in mind, body, and spirit. Exhaust those options before reaching for a pill bottle whenever possible.
3. When starting a new medication💊 , begin with as low a dose as possible.
(Me) Just as we say when beginning to use essential oils, go low and slow. Ask your prescribing doctor if the medication you are being prescribed is the lowest dose to start with. This also gives your body a chance to adjust and you a chance to watch for side effects.
4. If you are starting a new drug, see if it's possible to discontinue another that was prescribed for the same issue.
5. Regularly talk to your doctor about stopping medications.
(Me) Here's the tough part.... freedom isn't free, and you've now gotten on the merry go round if you are on chronic medications. What is it worth to you to get off of them? Would you be willing to change your lifestyle choices? Your doctor likely won't oblige to remove medications unless he/she sees changes in your appearance, demeanor, or labs are reflecting that you are fully engaged as the CEO of Y.O.U.
6. Find out if you are having any adverse drug reactions.
(Me) Lordy.... this seems so obvious, and yet it's often not. I've spoken to hundreds of pharmacy customers over the years who never attributed their symptom to a side effect of their medication, and probably their doctor didn't either. I mean.... would you take a drug that often causes dementia over time? .... I wouldn't either, and yet millions of people do every day. #statinsarenobueno This is one of the many reasons I offer medication remediation and "brown bag" coaching sessions.
7. Assume that any new symptom you develop after starting a new medication was caused by the medication.
(Me). Agreed!! Guilty until proven innocent on this one. Bear in mind too..... some symptoms may take weeks or months to develop as the medication works in it's toxin form to alter enzymatic pathways, deplete vitamins or minerals, or affect hormone production. Take antacids and acid reducers.... people taking them for years will likely never pair their osteoporosis as a side effect of the medication they've been taking for their reflux.
8. Before leaving your doctor's office or pharmacy, make sure you understand how you are to take the medication.
(Me) 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌 Yes indeed.
9. Discard old drugs carefully.
(Me) Saving leftover medications "for a rainy day" is an interesting concept. If you know what you are doing, then maybe it's not such a bad idea for meds for pain and inflammation. Mixing and matching meds on your own once you have a stash of leftovers.... ummm no. You may think you are saving money, but this is just not good practice. 😉
10. Ask your primary doctor to coordinate your care and drug use.
(Me). While this is a great concept on paper, unless your doctor has an independent concierge practice, the odds of this happening are virtually slim because of their quotas and subsequent time constraints that must be met in their daily practice.
My final thoughts are these..... medications should be thought of as a bridge not a lifestyle in most cases. If a medication is needed, use it with the forward thinking attitude. ... "how soon can I safely get off of it?" In fact, asking your doctor this question is a great idea at the onset. If they suggest you will be on it forever, I suggest finding a doctor who will work with a healthy mindset. They are out there, tho may require a little looking and asking around.
Hey there....thanks for stopping by! This is me (Liz James)... an eclectic mixture of holistic (and organic) farmgirl meets pharmacist. It's a synergy that works well as I speak truths and dissect fact from fiction. If you're looking for healthier living options, you've come to the right place!