Drugs and Health Problems

Harmful Drug Reactions – Causes of Harmful drug Reactions  – Drug-induced Nutrient Depletion

Accompanying modern nutritional diseases there are two new health problems affecting the adult population:

  • Harmful drug reactions cause an estimated 106,000 deaths per year among hospital patients alone.
  • Large, though uncounted numbers of senile mental disorders or dementias are ultimately traceable to the same poor diet and nutritional deficiencies.

The link between nutritional diseases, harmful drug reactions, and senile mental disorders is complex. 

  • First, the low-fat, high-carbohydrate American diet is a major cause of the modern nutritional diseases.  Additionally this same diet is also a major cause of stroke-induced dementias and very likely a cause of Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Second, the widespread use of drugs to treat the nutritional diseases is causing millions of harmful drug reactions annually.  These harmful drug reactions span mental disorders, physical disabilities and deaths.

 HARMFUL DRUG REACTIONS

Harmful reactions to drugs are one of the least talked about but most serious health problems faced by Americans.  A 1994 study estimated that, in hospitals alone, legally administered drugs caused about 106,000 fatalities and more than two million serious harmful drug reactions per year.  If errors and non-hospitalized patients had been included, the total number of harmful drug reactions would have been far higher. Have you ever wondered where the statement came from “for a long healthy life, one should avoid taking prescription drugs whenever possible”?

Government health statistics exclude harmful drug reactions. If they did they would acknowledged this as being one of the leading causes of death in America.

  • If just the out of date estimate of 106,000 deaths caused annually by legally administered drugs in hospitals were acknowledged then harmful drug reactions would rank as the fifth leading cause of death in America.
  • If all Iatrogenic Deaths (deaths caused by doctors and hospitals) were counted together it would be the third leading cause of death in America
  • The death tally:

    7,000           due to medication errors

  12,000           due to unnecessary surgery

  20,000           due to other hospital errors,

  80,000           due to hospital-caused infections

106,000           due to  harmful effects of drugs used in hospitals.

225,000           Total annual iatrogenic deaths

 

CAUSES OF HARMFUL DRUG REACTIONS  

  • All drugs must overcome the body natural defense mechanisms, including prescription drugs, therefore they are administered in doses that are large enough so that the drug will remain in the bloodstream for a number of hours before the body can metabolize and eliminate it.  Repeated doses (daily or hourly), are designed to accomplish this purpose by administering the drug at a rate that is greater than the body is capable of detoxifying and excreting.
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  • Drug doses are calculated to be high enough to overcome the body defenses and deliver the desired effects, but no so high as to cause harmful effects. The higher the dose and the longer the use, the more serious and more likely are there to be harmful effects. The threshold between the pharmacologically effective and the higher, harmful effects of a drug may be small or large.  The greater the difference between these two points, the safer the drug.
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  • Different people display different responses and a range of reactions to equal doses of the same drug.   Some people exhibit no discernable effects form a dosage of a particular drug that may have serious effects like liver or kidney damage in others. 
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  • Nature made humans unique.  Therefore, individuals even of the same age, sex, and health status can exhibit slightly different reactions at the beneficial and / or harmful drug exposure thresholds.
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  • Elderly adults demonstrate that age is a primary factor having the highest frequency of harmful drug affects, such as:

          60 years or older suffer 51 percent of the total deaths due to harmful drug reactions, yet they make up only 17 percent of the total population. 

          14 percent of the hospitalizations of elderly patients are related to a harmful drug reaction.   

  • Seniors metabolize and eliminate drugs more slowly than do younger adults.  This can bring about an unanticipated and often unrecognized drug overdose, as blood levels of the drug tend to rise to higher levels and remain high for longer periods in seniors than they do in younger adults.
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  • The illnesses associated with older age, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, and high blood glucose levels, all increases the risk of harmful reactions as well as the risks of interactions between drugs. 
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DRUG-INDUCED NUTRIENT DEPLETION

Although the phenomenon  is not openly acknowledged in the medical community there is another harmful drug reaction termed drug-induced nutrient depletion.  Affects of drugs on nutrition include:

  • Interference with the absorption of a vitamin or an essential nutrient
  • Interference with the production by the body of an important biochemical, such as coenzyme Q10 (CoQ). 
  • Depletion of a vital nutrient by reacting with and destroying the nutrient. 

 The deficiency-caused health problems are often misdiagnosed because;

  • Most doctors are not sufficiently aware of this particular problem. 
  • Drug companies are not required to warn doctors about potential nutrient depletion or to include this hazard on drug labels. 
  •  Drug reference books that are routinely used by most doctors do not mention drug-induced nutrient depletion.

There are at least 150 commonly used prescription and nonprescription drugs that have been found to deplete essential nutrients.  For more information, refer to our list of Drugs that may lead to Nutrient Depletion. 

If you take any prescription drug on a long-term basis you should check this list.

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