Periodically, a patient will present with a number of medical conditions in our office. Quite often, they will give us a list of the medications they are taking on a regular basis.
We see this quite often in Florida, where many elderly people spend their weeks going from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist. Most of these visits end with the doctor either requesting a test or writing a prescription for a problem they are treating medicinally.
When a patient sees multiple doctors, for multiple conditions or comorbidities, they often have a closet full of different medications.
The traffic cop for this is your pharmacist, who should alert you if one medication will adversely affect another. Another traffic cop is your primary doctor who should question why so many medications are necessary.
Every medication has a reason, but is the reason valid? Do we really get healthier with so many medications, or do we end up becoming more ill, requiring further medical care due to the effects of the medications?
Dr. Andrew Weil who is at the age of 75 a promotor of integrative medicine, questions the idea of a medication for everything. Some of us can inadvertently become super users of medical care that has ultimately no benefit, and can be both expensive and harmful when the care is medication driven.
Also, the idea of looking at the symptoms as the problem, rather than understanding why the system is malfunctioning and addressing that instead allowing the body to return to a normal and healthier level of function with a little help is likely part of the problem of today’s American main stream medical culture.
As a healthcare consumer, we should be questioning everything, especially since the former primary care model which allowed our doctors to spend the time they needed to simplify our care no longer exists (although some doctors using concierge models are trying to bring it back).
The fragmentation of healthcare is largely responsible for the medication overuse by the general public. This is one of the largest drivers of healthcare costs in our country and the benefits are questionable.
Find out more about Dr. Weil and his ideas here, that were recently published in the NY Times.
Dr. Andrew Weil Says We’re Taking Too Many Medicines
By STEVEN PETROWJUNE 22, 2017
Dr. Andrew Weil, still sporting his trademark white whiskers at age 75, says that we are taking too many medications. Dr. Weil is perhaps best known for popularizing the concept of integrative medicine, which melds traditional medicine with “alternative” healing techniques.
In his new book, “Mind Over Meds: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better — and When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own,” Dr. Weil talks about how doctors are contributing to the overuse of drugs, why many of us should not be taking statins to lower cholesterol, and why many of the medicines and herbs we buy at pharmacies and supermarkets may be harming our health. Here is an edited version of our conversation.