If taking medicine is part of your regular routine, you expect them to make your health better. You rely upon them to tackle a disease or cure an illness, and most of the time they will improve your health. But unfortunately, some circumstances could lead to your medicine, whether prescription or not, failing to provide you the results you expect. Along with the benefits of taking your pills, there could also be risks.
While the benefits of medicines are obvious and include:
- Fighting infections
- Removing pain
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improving mental health
However, the negatives are less obvious. But there is always the possibility that a medicine you are taking to improve your health does something unexpected.
While a pill you are taking might only do something slightly unexpected, like causing a rash or making your stomach upset, the problems could also be a lot more serious. Problems like liver damage can be caused by incorrectly prescribed medicines.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might find your medicine is actually doing you harm.
Something that is particularly a problem as people get older is the over-prescribing of medicine. Since older people face typically more health problems, it isn’t surprising that they are prescribed more medicine.
However, the pills you started taking 10 years ago might not be right for your situation anymore. Typically the kidneys and liver get less efficient as you age, so if you are still taking the same dosage as you were 10 years ago, it might actually be far too high.
It is all too easy for doctors to forget about checking these older prescriptions to see if they are both still relevant and not causing the patient problems. If this doesn’t happen, old prescriptions will continue to be refilled without making sure they’re really necessary.
It could even be the case that the drugs prescribed are only really necessary for a short amount of time, and yet they are still being taken many years later. Perhaps this treatment was never actually needed in the first place, and this could even be the case for very common medicines.
For example, many people these days are prescribed statins to deal with high cholesterol, but the actual risk of heart disease might actually be very low. Typically in the United States, statins are recommended for middle-aged and older people with a 7.5% or higher risk of developing heart disease.
But for someone that is taking statins for such a low risk of heart disease, there could be a greater risk from other conditions due to the prescription. There is an increased risk of new-onset diabetes due to statin use that might be as high as 48% in middle-aged to older women.
There’s also been found to be a link between statin use and autoimmune muscle disorders. So if you are just worried about your cholesterol but the risks are low, taking statins may not be worth the risk.
Another problem that you could encounter is inadvertently buying low-quality drugs. There are many unreputable online pharmacies that are likely to be selling low-quality or counterfeit drugs.
While these pills will look indistinguishable from the real thing, there is no telling exactly what they contain. If you’re lucky they might contain the correct ingredients, but will they be in the right amount?
There could also be other things and not just active ingredients that are included in the pill to bulk up and help form the pill. These ingredients may not be the same as are used in FDA-approved medicines, and they could interact badly with you or other pills you’re taking.
There have been some cases where toxic ingredients have been used by unreputable pill manufacturers. On one occasion there was found to be rat poison included in the ingredients of tablets.
If the pills you purchase don’t contain the correct ingredients, you could find that your illness gets a lot worse through a lack of treatment. And while you might think you’ve made a great saving on your medicine, if this happens to you, you probably won’t think that anymore.
There is also the problem of being partially treated by the medicine you are taking when they do not contain enough amounts of active ingredients expected. This can be more difficult to detect as you will be getting some benefit from the active ingredients, though your condition may not clear up as quickly as it should. If this happens, buying a genuine version of the pill might not even help, requiring more serious medical intervention to fix your health condition.
The problem is that if you get pills from scam pharmacies, you can’t tell what they contain. While they might look the same as the pills you are used to, they could contain ingredients you aren’t used to.
The packaging the pills are contained in could also look very close to what you have had before. Counterfeit medications are designed to look just like the real thing, with particular attention paid to the packaging to make you think the pills are genuine. But unfortunately, once again, the pills may not contain the correct ingredients in the right amounts.
Though unfortunately, since there are so many scam online pharmacies it is very easy to find yourself buying low-quality medications. If you don’t know what to look for, one online pharmacy can look much the same as another. But making a mistake like this could lead to serious consequences.
To ensure that you don’t get on the wrong side of a scam like this, you should read up-to-date pharmacy reviews 2022. They should be able to guide you away from the drugstores that will you sell low-quality and counterfeit medicines, but that might only be some of the problems.
There might also be a risk of exposing yourself to fraud when you hand over your credit card information to anonymous criminals. Your personal data could also be at risk when you deal with a pharmacy like this, so there are many reasons to check pharmacy reviews 2022 before you decide where to purchase your pills.
Buying Prescription Drugs Without a Valid Prescription
If you decide to buy pills online without having consulted with a doctor, perhaps because you don’t have adequate insurance, there could be problems. Some online pharmacies will willingly sell you any medications you order without checking you have a valid prescription.
This isn’t the sort of thing that is allowed by properly licensed drugstores for obvious reasons. If you feel tempted to take this approach to your healthcare, you should think again.
There can also be problems with interactions between other drugs, along with more unpredictable interactions. Your doctor or pharmacist should help you avoid interactions between drugs, but there can still be interactions with food and alcoholic drinks.
If you take dietary supplements, like vitamins, natural, or herbal treatments, there could be unforeseen interactions. You should always make sure to tell your healthcare provider about the supplements you take, as well as carefully following the instructions regarding food and drink.
Things You Can Do to Lower the Risk
While medicine has been thoroughly tested and shown to be more beneficial when compared to the risks, your own benefit vs risk calculation might be different.
When you consult with your doctor or pharmacist, make sure you bring a list of all the supplements and vitamins you take. You should also list all the prescriptions and other medical treatments you take, even if their use is occasional.
You’ll also need to tell your healthcare provider about any allergies or sensitivities that might affect you. If you have difficulty taking certain medicines, like problems swallowing pills, or if you regularly forget to take your dosage, inform your provider.
If you are in any way concerned about the meds you are being prescribed, do discuss it with either the doctor or the pharmacist. You also need to be careful where you purchased your medicine from, making sure is coming from a legit source.
If you encounter side effects or changes to the way you are feeling when taking the medicine make a note of the issue. Make sure you understand what the side effects are and when you need to contact your doctor for assistance.
While there can, of course, be huge benefits to taking medicines for your conditions, the risks still need to be remembered. The choice can be very difficult to make in some situations, but if you have a better understanding of the risks, you and your healthcare provider should be able to come to the best decision for your situation.
Some situations will demand more risk. If you find yourself with a life-threatening condition, taking more risks for your treatment is more likely to be worth it.
Make sure that you inform your healthcare provider of medicines and supplements you are taking as well as any allergies and other issues that could affect your treatment. If you do this and are careful about where you buy your pills from, you should reduce your chances of having harmful and unexpected results from the pills you take.