A new study shows patients who survive cancer are likely to be prescribed five or more different medications on a long-term basis, and that this increases their risk of experiencing adverse drug events.
Unknown even to many doctors, pharmaceuticals don’t address the root causes of diseases. Instead, they only treat the symptoms. Not only does this approach result in patients’ health problems simply being masked rather than properly treated, the problem is further compounded by the fact that all drugs inevitably cause side-effects. To make matters worse, the emergence of side-effects frequently results in the prescription of still further drugs as a means of controlling them. And so it goes on. The inescapable consequence is a vicious circle where the more drugs that are taken, the worse the patient’s health becomes.
Known as ‘polypharmacy’ this situation is particularly dangerous for older people, for whom the use of multiple drugs can result in a significantly greater risk of frailty, disability, and death. Illustrating this, a shocking study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society in 2016 found that each additional medication added to the drug regimens of patients was associated with a 22% increased risk of going from a state of robust health to dying during the period of the study.