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What to Consider Before Taking Prescription Drugs


Most people presume that if their medical doctor prescribes them drugs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then they must be safe to take.

The startling fact is that this is not always true. There is more to consider. Please read on to learn more about what you should know before you safely begin any regiment of prescription drugs.

Sometimes, medications that were approved by the FDA are withdrawn due to serious side effects. If you experience side effects, alert your doctor or pharmacist immediately. If you can, ask your doctor about side effects ahead of time, as they will often neglect discussing them with their patients up front.

Also, medications are often overprescribed because they are helpful in some way. However, these drugs can be dangerous and largely unnecessary. An example of this would be stimulant medications which are frequently prescribed for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. These drugs, which are similar to methamphetamines, help students to focus and perform better but carry a risk of sudden death.

Medications that carry serious warnings should be avoided if possible. These warnings must be taken seriously and should be discussed with a medical professional. An example of this kind of warning would be a written caution that informs patients that the drugs they are taking have the potential to induce suicidal thoughts.

Counterfeit medications are also of concern to those who have to take prescription drugs. These are especially dangerous because they fool the consumer into thinking that they are getting what they need, when in fact these knock-offs contain little or no active ingredients.

For example, high blood pressure patients may carry on assuming they are safe when, in fact, they are in danger of a life-threatening heart attack. Most domestic pharmacies will be clear of counterfeits, but online pharmacies that offer discount prices may carry them. Protect yourself by avoiding online pharmacies. Drug companies are working to protect their own business interests and customers by developing advanced packaging that assures authenticity.

If you are susceptible to addiction, the best thing to do is to avoid all “mind-altering substances” that are addictive, unless absolutely necessary. Beware that such drugs are often prescribed with no forewarning, such as painkillers and anti-anxiety medications. Painkillers are among the drugs that Americans abuse the most, according to a 2010 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

When going through the process of deciding whether to take a medication, here is a list of questions you can ask your prescribing doctor. These are suggested by Dr. Jason Powers, who is certified by the American Boards of Addiction Medicine and Family Medicine:

1. Is this medicine necessary and why?
2. Are there safer options?
3. Is this medication going to cause me to become physically dependent on it?
4. How long will I be taking this medication?
5. What is the plan when it is time to stop it?
6. What can I expect when I actually do stop taking it?

It is best not to assume that any drugs are completely safe. Do your own research and get a second opinion before you begin taking any prescription drugs.

1. Powers, Jason. “Prescription Drugs: How Do You Know Which Are Safe?” Psychologytoday.com. Psychology Today, 28 Apr. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.
2. Sciuto, Laura. “Which Prescription Drugs Do Americans Abuse Most?” Pbs.org. PBS, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.


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Kevin Giles is a product of Santa Cruz, CA – the stoner capitol of the world. A born again Christian, Kevin loves his Lord Jesus and believes that his purpose in life is determined by God. He first entered drug recovery at the age of 19, suffering from an addiction to marijuana. He is a recent graduate of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master’s degree in Christian Ministry. Passionate about God’s Word, he aspires to become a pastor or missionary. Kevin has also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Monterey Bay. His interests include traveling, movies, golf, fitness and reading. He also enjoys being outdoors as well as spending time with friends and family. Kevin’s faith, education and life experience give him a unique perspective on addiction, recovery and spirituality.

Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs · Tags: Anti-anxiety medication, blood pressure medication, Dr. Jason Powers, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, painkillers, Pharmaceuticals, prescription drugs

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