There are so many articles in the news lately about the dangers of prescription drugs, I'm sure there are people who want to just throw away their medications and take their chances. While there is no doubt that many prescription drugs are dangerous, and some do warrant a medical drug detox program, there are steps you can and should take to minimize the risks. Here is a brief synopsis.
* Painkillers: especially opiates and opioids like morphine, methadone, Vicodin, OxyContin are highly addictive and create physical dependence. Also, the body builds up a tolerance to them so you need more to create the desired effect. If you can avoid them, do so. If not, take as low a dose as possible and stop taking them as soon as possible. If you experience symptoms other than the original pain when you try to stop them, consult a medical drug detox program counselor to see if you need help getting off them safely and more comfortably.
* Benzodiazepines: about one out of every five prescriptions is for ‘benzos:’ ProSom, Dalmane, Doral, Restoril and Halcion are often prescribed for insomnia; Klonopin for seizure disorders; Ativan, Centrax, Librium, Paxipam, Serax, Valium, and Xanax for anxiety. Like opioids, it takes only a few days or weeks to build up a tolerance to benzos and develop a dependency. They are also extremely addictive. People taking benzos are candidates for medical drug detox.
* Stimulants: Some of the most common are Adderall, Dexedrine and Ritalin. Although they were widely used for asthma and other respiratory problems, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments, the potential for addiction and abuse resulted in them not being as widely prescribed. However, make no mistake; there are still millions of people taking them. They're commonly prescribed for narcolepsy, ADHD, and depression. They're highly addictive and create physical dependence. Drug detox may be needed to stop taking them.
* Antidepressants: Although millions of people in the U. S. take antidepressants, a team of scientists led by Erick Turner of the Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center recently uncovered information that indicates they are not what they seem. In fact, a review of all the studies submitted to the FDA when the drugs were approved showed that each of 12 widely-prescribed antidepressants was less effective than they seemed from the published literature. How did this happen? To get FDA approval, the drug manufacturer has to submit all studies on the drug's safety and effectiveness. However, the manufacturer does not have to publish these studies so they are available to doctors, the media, or the general public. When Turner, et al, compared the studies submitted to the FDA to those published, they found an alarming discrepancy: Of the studies in the FDA files, 51% concluded that the antidepressants worked better than sugar pills, although the difference may have been marginal. However, there were also 36 studies that were not positive - and of those, 33 were either unpublished or were spun to make them seem positive.
As if that weren't enough, the lawsuits are also piling up on the antidepressant side effect of suicidal thoughts and behavior.
With this kind of misleading information out there, you may be better off to find a way to solve your problems without antidepressants. However, don't try to get off them by yourself - they can be just as dangerous to stop taking as they are to take. Consult a medical professional in liaison with a medical drug detox program specialist to find out how to get off them safely.
* Medical drugs that control blood pressure, cholesterol, heart problems, and a myriad of other physical ailments are not generally addictive and, if taken as directed, are not likely to kill you. Neverthless, the American Medical Association reported that drug-related problems kill as many as 198,815 people every year, put 8.8 million in hospitals, and account for up to 28% of hospital admissions. Many of these drugs are seemingly harmless. However, when prescribed with other drugs or taken incorrectly - not unusual when you consider that 40 to 65% of the people don't even know the names of the drugs they're taking so they can give correct information to their doctor - they can be deadly. To minimize risk, take all your bottles of your pills to the doctor so he can ensure you're safe.
And, of course, for all drugs, keep them locked away so others don't take them. Each person reacts differently to each drug depending on their DNA and metabolism. What's helpful to one person, could kill another.
If you're in trouble with prescription drugs and feel you've developed an addiction or dependency, contact a medical drug detox specialist to find out how to get off them so you are safe.
Gloria MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health.