I just received the Consumer Reports onHealth newsletter which contains an article titled “Drug Overuse in Women”. It’s a brief summary of how American women use more prescription drugs than men, about 36% more, and many women overuse drugs that are not necessarily proven to be of benefit. The article highlighted these four categories:
- Bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Actonel, Bonvia, etc.) suggesting they are of limited help in those with osteopenia and associated with risk for significant side-effects, such as muscle pain, esophageal ulcers, osteonecrosis of the jaw, abnormal heart rhythm. They suggest the benefit of these drugs is even minimal in those with osteoporosis.
- Statins (Lipitor, simvastatin, Crestor, lovastatin, etc.) saying several studies have found these drugs don’t prolong life in women with elevated LDL cholesterol and no other cardiovascular risks. They suggest lifestyle changes to manage high cholesterol in women with no other cardiovascular risk factors.
- Narcotic pain medications (Oxycontin, oxycodone, fentanyl, hydrocodone, etc.) saying women take 50% more of these drugs than men. They also state that long term use of narcotic analgesics can increase sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia), something for you to think about if you have escalating pain with escalating doses of pain medications. They also state these drugs are associated with falls and fractures and higher hospitalization rates. They also suggest exploring other non-drug pain management options.
- Proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, omeprazole, Aciphex, Protonix, Nexium, etc.) suggesting these drugs are widely overused and can increase the risk for: fractures, pneumonia, C. diff infectious diarrhea, and that abruptly stopping them can cause rebound hyperacidity giving the person the impression that they need the medication for an underlying cause.
Consumer Reports is a subscription only site and receives good reviews. Here’s the link if you can let go of a few bucks. Remember, your health is your best investment.