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|Drug - The Double Edged Knife|
Mohamed H. Dahir (Chairman, Pharmaceutical Association Of Somaliland)
This is an article for people. It is an attempt to dispel the secrecy, which surrounds medical treatment today. People are fed up with being treated as objects by doctors who often do not care about, or can’t discuss in easy-to-understand language, the medicines they prescribe. Instead of encouraging their patients to actively participate in their treatment, many doctors prefer to keep their patients in ignorance. "Take as directed" is often the most information patients receive about the chemicals they are expected to put in their bodies.
There is no such thing as a safe drug. Each medication is a double-edged knife, with a good side and a bad side. Successful treatment is a careful balance between the beneficial and harmful effects, hopefully weighted in favor of the beneficial. Unfortunately, just the opposite is often the case. The original disease may be less of a problem than the reaction to treatment.
Too many drugs are prescribed in our pill-popping society. The evidence that we are overmedicated is voluminous. It is clear from the distribution of popular kinds of medicines that the quantities which are sold far outnumber.....The evidence for overmedication also includes the proportion of total prescribing made up of drugs for which the practitioner has only a probable, possible, or placebo expectation of success.
Although modern medical science has developed highly sophisticated methods of diagnosis and surgery, the average physician still relies almost exclusively on drug therapy in the treatment of illness. The typical doctor gives at least one drug to 75% of his patients. In fact, we have reached a point where a patient feels cheated if he is not given a prescription for something when he leaves a doctor’s office. What distinguishes our modern-day practitioners from their medical ancestors is not so much the great quantity of new agents at their disposal (though that in itself is a gigantic difference), but rather their almost total reliance upon this form of treatment. Today’s overworked doctors, in fact, have little choice but to turn to quick, impersonal remedies.
This article is not meant to replace a trip to the doctor, but rather to explain in an understandable way just what those pills your doctor prescribes really do. The medical profession has too long ignored people’s curiosity and concern about their illnesses and the drugs which they are supposed to take. Unfortunately, people have too readily assumed that they were incapable of understanding "medical language". It is time medicine was demystified. One need not be familiar with the gigantic words doctors so commonly employ to describe the best treatment for pyrosis (heartburn) or cephalagia (headache). Nor it is necessary to know the chemical structure of your medications to understand how it works.
Drug-taking errors are far more common than anyone would imagine. An investigation carried out revealed that 58% of those people studied made mistakes in the way they took their medication - either too much, not enough, or at the wrong time. Doctors like to blame their uncooperative patients for these errors, but according to these researches, the problem really lies with the physician for not communicating the instructions simply and clearly.
The true goal of this article, then, is to provide people with basic information regarding the potential hazards of drugs as well as of those medications physicians prescribe most often. My hope is to enable people to understand how the medicines they take work in their bodies and how to approach simple medical problems before, during, and after professional medical intervention. It may help save you some money, but more important, it may help save your life.
To be continued next week.