In the March 2012 issue of Consumer Reports, there is an article that matches common prescription drugs to their side effects. Provided as a quiz, medications such as Lipitor, Viagra, Cymbalta, Advair Diskus and others are separated from their possible side effects so that you, the consumer, can test your recall from the four billion dollars in advertising costs that the drug companies spent last year. Their bottom line is to “exhaust non-drug measures” first.
In the article, Consumer Reports pokes fun at the manner in which drug companies communicate their list of serious side effects calling them “so-scary-they-are-almost-funny lists over images of couples posing in bathtubs.” While the Food and Drug Administration requires drug companies to list their most serious side effects, they do not require the manner in which they are displayed.
It is up to you, the consumer, to sift through the sensationalism to find the facts. Here are a few examples of the drugs that Consumer Reports lists and their matching side effects…
Lipitor, a high blood pressure medication, can cause muscle pain or weakness, liver damage, kidney problems and/or kidney failure.
Cialis and Viagra, for erectile dysfunction, can cause back pain, muscle aches, and sudden loss of vision or hearing.
Cymbalta is prescribed for depression, general anxiety disorder, chronic osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia and can cause dizziness, liver problems, low blood pressure and fainting, higher blood pressure, problems with urine flow, or suicidal thoughts in young people.
Advair Diskus, which is prescribed for asthma and COPD, can cause severe or fatal worsening of asthma symptoms, reduced adrenal function, declined bone density, weakened immunity, or slowing of growth in children.
In all, the article lists a dozen drugs that are utilized for treatment of many conditions ranging from asthma and arthritis to smoking cessation. I wonder how you will do when you take this quiz, which is located on page 11 of the magazine. Fortunately, many of us are waking up to the fact that drugs are dangerous and should be a last resort. It is nice to see Consumer Reports backing up this non-drug first approach.
The United States consumes more drugs than any other industrialized nation in the world, yet according to the CIA Fact Book, the US has dropped to 50th in life-expectancy and 48th in infant mortality. Keeping yourself and your family healthy through positive lifestyle choices including good nutrition, exercise, and a healthy spine and nervous system can help you eliminate your need for prescription drugs and maximize your health potential. Have a serious discussion with your doctor about the risks versus the benefits of any medication and do everything you can to keep yourself healthy and drug free.
For 117 years, chiropractors have been helping people of all ages heal quickly and enjoy the opportunity of a healthy, drug free life. Don’t wait for a crisis to make different choices. Make the Critical Transition to Lifestyle Care and make your health your top priority.