Polypharmacy: The risks of too many prescription medicines.

In the uncommon cases once I write a publish unrelated to hair loss, there’s nonetheless some overlap (e.g., anti-aging, regenerative drugs or organ transplants). This publish on polypharmacy treatment overload is an exception.

Important Resource:

If you have got any issues about your physician’s ethics or suggestions, please ensure to take a look at the under “Open Payments” website hyperlink. It tells you ways a lot your physician has been paid by Big Pharma. This battle of is a major problem in drugs that impacts over 600,000 physicians.

Open Payments Data Website

Polypharmacy: 5 or More Medications

The phrase “polypharmacy” is used when somebody takes 5 or extra medicines simultaneously. Over the previous decade, this consumption degree has change into extraordinarily widespread as medical doctors have gone overboard in doling out prescriptions. More stringent pointers in relation to reducing blood stress and levels of cholesterol have additionally added to the rise in prescriptions.

According to a Merck article on aging and medications from 2022:

Almost 90% of older adults repeatedly take at the very least 1 prescription drug, virtually 80% repeatedly take at the very least 2 pharmaceuticals, and 36% repeatedly take at the very least 5 completely different pharmaceuticals.

Note that the above figures don’t even embrace over-the-counter (OTC) medicine reminiscent of Aspirin. And with the 2023 introduction of latest weight reduction medicine reminiscent of Ozempic, the polypharmacy drugfest will solely exacerbate, particularly in youthful individuals.

I even have two older family who just lately began taking new FDA medicine that may delay the development of Alzheimer’s. One give up as a consequence of unwanted effects, and one other appears to have change into way more anxious ever since beginning this drug.

The growth in prescription treatment gross sales is resulting in lots of turnover and dangerous high quality hiring at understaffed US pharmacies. In addition to rampant fraud and malpractice. In addition, elederly individuals reminiscent of my father have a tough time ensuring they take their quite a few every day medicines on time, even with the usage of a pill organizer.

Top 300 Drugs Prescribed within the US

In 2021 (the final out there full-year of information), probably the most prescribed treatment within the US was ldl cholesterol reducing drug Atorvastatin with 116.7 million prescriptions (for 28.1 million sufferers). In second place was diabetes drug Metformin, which I’ve coated on this website due to its potential anti-aging and even modest hair progress advantages.

Not surprisingly, the quite a few medicine out there to deal with hypertension prepared the ground. Since the 2017 revision of the American Heart Association’s pointers that lowered goal blood stress ranges to 130/80 mmHg from 140/90 mmHg, virtually one-half of adults at the moment are categorized to have hypertension. If I recall appropriately, the brand new decrease pointers had been based mostly on only one very giant examine’s findings. Hopefully this examine was near good and never negatively impacted by any errors or exterior third get together influences.

Many medical doctors will prescribe a blood stress reducing treatment immediately with out asking you to make easy life-style adjustments. Even if you’re within the borderline vary. Disgraceful, and a key motive for my penning this publish.

Finasteride got here in at 88th place with 8.3 million prescriptions throughout 2.5 million sufferers. Note that this consists of use for each enlarged prostates and hair loss. Online purchases of generic finasteride from offshore pharmacies are excluded from this official knowledge. Spironolactone (primarily used to decrease blood stress, but additionally for hair regrowth in females) got here in at 54th place. I might not be stunned if oral minoxidil breaks the highest 300 listing in 2022 and 2023, though the model title Loniten shouldn’t be bought anymore.

My Father’s Doctor Drug Pusher

My father had a coronary heart assault in 2014. Ever since then, he has taken 5 drugs per day (together with an aspirin) to fight his hypertension and average levels of cholesterol. Three years in the past, he bought a brand new physician for his annual coronary heart checkup after the previous one resigned.

My father wished to maintain going to similar near-to-us hospital’s respected coronary heart division, so we’re caught with this new physician. He shouldn’t be dangerous, however he’s cussed and loves to extend individuals’s prescription meds. And he will get irritated for those who argue in opposition to his recommendation. I managed to outsmart/trick him, and the under options could also be value discussing along with your doctor. Perhaps they are going to have thre similar opinion as my father’s physician: i.e., hogwash.

Note that I’m not a health care provider and maybe my varied methods outlined under are harmful and extremely suspect. Heart assaults and strokes are clearly no joke, and I might not suggest going in opposition to a health care provider’s suggestions based mostly on years of in-clinic expertise. I simply trusted my instinct way over my physician’s recommendation.

Cholesterol Pills: Overprescribed

My father’s levels of cholesterol are good after taking only one statin (referred to as Atorvastatin, or model title Lipitor). His LDL (dangerous) levels of cholesterol are often round 70 mg/dL. For those that haven’t had coronary heart assaults or coronary heart illness, the advice is to be decrease than 100 mg/dL.

The pointers for individuals who have had a coronary heart assault prior to now are a bit extra stringent. If you have got had a coronary heart assault, US suggestions are to decrease your LDL to 70 or much less. In Western Europe, new 2019 rules suggest reducing LDL ranges to below 55 mg/dL in high-risk coronary heart illness sufferers. And to under 40 mg/dL (!) for individuals who have had at the very least two atherosclerotic heart problems occasions through the previous 2 years.

When my dad’s LDL readings went as much as 80 mg/dL in 2022, the brand new physician wished to place him on a second ldl cholesterol decrease drug instantly. This one is known as Ezetimibe and is a non-statin. However, I advised the physician that my father had a breakfast earlier than his blood check and in addition not taken his every day statin proper earlier than his blood draw.

The physician advised me that neither of these issues makes any distinction within the LDL ldl cholesterol readings with fashionable blood exams. However, I didn’t belief him and requested him to delay the brand new prescription for yet another 12 months after some convincing.

In the next 12 months (2023), my dad didn’t eat something for 12 hours previous to his blood check. And he drastically lowered his ldl cholesterol heavy meals consumption for 2-3 days previous to the blood check. He additionally took a statin a few hours earlier than his blood attract 2023. Lo and behold, his LDL studying got here to 68 mg/dL.

Statins and all medicine have unwanted effects. I’m not somebody who’s anti-drugs in any respect. My father’s life has seemingly been extended by the 5 medicines that he takes. However, medical doctors are on the whole not reliable anymore. You have no idea which one is appearing in the perfect curiosity of his or her pocketbook and pharma firm assist/bribery.

Many research in assist of drug advantages are additionally funded by Big Pharma. Moroever, Big Pharma may even donate to hospitals and to researchers, which once more makes me suspicious in regards to the latter teams’ intentions and findings.

Blood Pressure Pills: Overprescribed

As I discussed beforehand, the brand new US rules that suggest blood stress ranges of 130/80 mmHg or decrease imply that one-half of Americans now take blood stress medicines. For these at excessive danger of stroke, controlling hypertension (hypertension) is of paramount significance.

However, blood stress variations of 10-20 factors are extraordinarily widespread. Many individuals get larger blood stress readings at physician workplaces as a consequence of anxiousness. Something referred to as “white coat syndrome”. Moreover, when you have eaten loads of salty meals previous to your go to or have walked loads of stairs to get to your physician’s workplace, you may get larger readings. Even excessive climate patterns can quickly have an effect on your blood stress ranges.

While most medical doctors measure your readings at the very least twice throughout an workplace go to, there isn’t any want to extend your treatment if you’re simply 10 factors over for my part. If you’re chubby, some research have discovered that you will note a 1 level drop in blood stress for each 2 lbs of weight reduction.

My father’s readings are often proper round 130/80 mmHg most instances he visits the physician. This is after he takes two medicines to manage his blood stress, in additon to a beta blocker (which helps decrease each his coronary heart and blood stress). Nevertheless, each 3-4 years, my father’s readings go to between 140-150 for the highest quantity (systolic) and 90-100 for the decrease quantity (diastolic).

When he hit 145/95 mmHg in 2022, the brand new physician instantly wished him to take but yet another blood presure treatment and prescribed it immediately. However, after a lot backwards and forwards dialogue of their on-line messaging system, I managed to delay the brand new treatment advice for an additional 12 months.

I additionally advised the physician that my father takes his blood stress medicines within the afternoon, however our appointment was within the morning. But he stated that will make no distinction in my father’s BP readings, because the medicine have a cumulative impact from taking them for all of the prior months.

I didn’t absolutely belief the physician. So for my father’s 2023 morning appointment, we made positive that he took each his every day blood stress reducing drugs a couple of hours earlier than his morning appointment fairly than within the early afternoon. I additionally made him drink hibiscus tea, which might decrease blood stress readings by a number of factors.

Lo and behold, on the physician’s workplace, his numbers had been round 125/75 mmHg. Maybe the decrease quantity was a bit completely different, however I’m positive in regards to the higher one. I didn’t attempt to inform the brand new physician about what we did, since he’s a grumpy and cussed particular person.

It is essential to notice that when these medical doctors improve your medicines, they virtually by no means take away them sooner or later. Even if my father’s blood stress ranges went right down to 110/60 mmHg, I doubt that the newly added treatment would have ever been eliminated.

Aspirin: Overprescribed

Do not start aspirin is the brand new 2022 recommendation for many 60 and over individuals, after many years of the alternative advice. The potential bleeding associated unwanted effects should not well worth the danger. My father can not cease now, since he alredy had a coronary heart assault and has been taking the blood thinner for years.

I’m positive there are dozens of different medicine which can be overprescribed on this age of polypharmacy. Even younger children are readily pharmaceuticals reminiscent of Adderall (Dextroamphetamine) and Ritalin (Methylphenidate) for ADHD; and SSRI antidepressants. In reality, 4 of the highest 30 medicine prescribed within the US are SSRIs.

The solely optimistic that I get from researching and penning this publish is that I really feel a bit higher in my taking “only” two medicines. Albeit each for treating a beauty situation referred to as androgenetic alopecia.

 



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