Addiction to opioids such as morphine, heroin and prescription painkillers is a growing global problem. Generally, opioids have an important role in the treatment of certain types of pain, but they have inherent risks and side effects, including being highly addictive. Even infrequent use can lead to dependence.
We've all cheated a bit on a long antibiotic course — stopped taking the medication a few days early. But there are instances when stopping your medication suddenly can do a lot of harm. Think about these scenarios.
Parents are expressing growing shock over the frequency of drug use on American college campuses. And we are not talking about illegal drugs, but legal, prescription ones. Stimulants, commonly prescribed for attention-deficit disorder, are finding their way into the hands of students with perfect mental health. A recent study titled Under Pressure: College Students and the Abuse of Rx Stimulants found that 1 in 5 college students (20 percent) report abusing prescription stimulants at least once.
Health recommendations are changing so often, it can give you whiplash. What is true today, may not be true tomorrow, and this is especially true as new studies continue to turn old recommendations on their heads! The latest to break the mold? The common recommendation that all patients with diabetes take statin drugs to reduce their risk of heart disease.
Cataract surgery is so common that it almost seems like a normal part of aging. Cloudy lenses in the eye are surgically removed, and new ones are popped in like contacts. Voila, Grandma is seeing 20/20 again. But cataract surgery can have complications, and there may an uncomfortable period of vaguely cloudy vision before eye doctors consider cataracts “bad enough” to operate. So are there ways to prevent this eye surgery?
Antibiotics are generally understood by the average person as the drugs used to cure infections. And most people fully expect their doctors to prescribe antibiotics for a bad cough, cold, sore throat, flu or ear infection. But in a study conducted by Utah University researchers, it was found that “in more than 25 percent of cases, such prescriptions are useless because the infection stems from a virus, which cannot be treated with antibiotics.” Treating a viral infection with antibiotics means that you’re taking medicine that may have no chance of helping you, and a very real chance of hurting you. So why would doctors prescribe an antibiotic that does not help?
You can’t miss them -- on television, online and in magazines, advertisements showing an average person (someone just like you, perhaps) suffering from one medical ailment or another. With the help of the medicine being promoted, they feel a thousand times better and get on with their daily lives. Then comes the rapid-fire or, in the case of newspapers and magazines, the fine-print, about the medication’s potential side effects, ranging from nausea to even death.
The U.S. is one of the richest, most privileged countries in the world — and also the most avid consumers of pain pills, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control. We take twice as many opioid pain-relievers per person as Canada does (they are #2 on the dubious list of pill-popping nations).
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