Know Thy Medicine

Are you thinking about possibly taking prescription medication? Do you already have a cabinet full of prescription medication? Do you know all the side-effects? Do you know what counteracts with them – like alcohol, particular foods, current physical conditions, and/or other prescription meds?

We all know to well that the television commercials we see for prescription drugs out there can not be all the ‘wine and roses’ they claim their product to be. Yet they spend 30 seconds trying to convince us that we probably experience one of their symptoms and should ask our doctor about using it while rattling off a long list of the side-effects in the last 3 seconds as if to hurry and brush them under the rug so nobody can see them.

Then on the flip-side, dealing with print advertising, the FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) requires these same manufacturer’s to include package inserts for every prescription filled explaining everything from what the drug does to what an overdose amount is and what all the side-effects can be. So we go from 30 seconds from our TV to an hours worth of reading in print. And who reads through all of that? It’s like reading through your cell phone contract line by line or the iTunes’ Terms and Agreements every time there’s an update for us to install.

Taking prescription medicine will ultimately come down to what you are comfortable doing. If you feel one of the side-effects is too much of a risk than the symptom(s) you are dealing with is a problem, then you probably will not take that particular medicine. On the other hand, if you read the drug insert and find that only 0.6% of the thousands of people studied in their research panel only experienced that side-effect, then perhaps you will be more at ease to use that particular medication – but that’s if you have read through the complete insert.

Hopefully, sometime soon, the FDA and the drug companies will find that needed balance of information about their products versus the side-effects. In the meantime, if you are unsure about your prescription medications…ask questions. I just saw this great commercial for what I thought was another smartphone ad – it had a guy asking question after question about what features came with that particular phone. Then it cut away to that same guy in the doctors office with the doctor giving him every opportunity to ask all the questions he wanted to – he didn’t even have one.

Don’t let that be you – know thy medicine.

Here’s a great article that gave me the inspiration for this week’s blog.