Transcript for Are Americans addicted to pills?
We turn to our exclusive new look at -- a new consumer report. It's a study has been out and it is showing about prescription drug use. It shows a majority of Americans are taking pills. More than any other time in our recent history and our senior medical contributor, that's why I walked over to here to be with Dr. Jen Ashton. What is it saying? How much are we taking? Kind of a report card on our general health, how many prescription medications Americans are taking and we're not that healthy. We're not doing that well. We are getting a lot of prescriptions from doctors but I think people are also asking for them a lot so about over 55% of Americans taking four or more prescription medications, about 75% of us taking over the counter. We tend to think that doesn't count, it does. And let me show you why that's a problem. Ideally you have a symptom and a disease and illness, you take a medication to balance good therapeutic effect with side effects. One medication, you're doing okay. The more you add, it has the potential to tip that balance and maybe treat the condition but also side effects cause all those things really potentially go up. You're one of those doctors filling out the prescription forms. So what's the crux of the problem. I mean I have a pen and a pad and here's the issue that I see kind of in the trenches. Problem with extremes. I see a lot of patients on too many meds that they may not need anymore and then I see the other end of the spectrum. I see people who really need prescription medication and are afraid to take it. Have been U.S. In -- misinformed. Four questions, you're suggested to take a medication ask what are the risks of taking this medication, what are the risks of not taking the medication and what are the benefits of the treatment and what are the benefits of not treating it when you start to ask those questions then it can become a lot more clear whether you actually need it. How do we take more control in the amount we're taking? Document. So starting keep a log of the medications that you're on and then you want to review that log with your health care provider. This can be one of the most important things you do at those visits. I think it's critically important to check for interactions, not just drug/drug interactions but drug/food interactions. Good online sites that are free to do that and you want to ask your health care provider what is the end point here? Some people do need medications indefinitely but others don't and so you want to ask is there a stop point. You have to be careful about the topping cold Turkey. 100%. We say it all the time and you gave great medal advice. You never want to abruptly stop a medication without talking to your health care provider. If you are thinking of stopping speak to that health care provider and/or your pharmacist who is a great resource and come up with a time line. Sometimes we taper down a half a dose, every other day or every third day. Sleep aid, maybe get a new mattress or meditate. We have a "Gma" parenting alert now about a new camp in
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