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    How Many Medications Are You Taking?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 23rd, 2017

    How Many Medications Are You Taking?

    Last Wednesday I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) where they referenced a recent article that was published in Consumer’s Report titled Too Many Meds? America’s Love Affair With Prescription Medication. According to a survey, more than half of Americans on average are on four prescription medications. This does not include the over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and other dietary supplements people might be taking. The article also mentioned that 1.3 million people went to the Emergency Room due to an adverse event of a drug and about 124,000 people died of the event in 2014.

    What do we need to do?

    1. Get a medication check up – you can go to your health care provider or pharmacist with all your medications including all the over-the-counter medications you are taking – make sure you have a clear understanding of why you are taking a medication and how to take your medication.

    2. Ask about side effects – it is important that you know what to expect. Your doctor will probably tell you the common side effects but you can read the package insert to get the complete list.

    3. Take your medication as prescribed even though you might be feeling better – this is extremely important when given antibiotics.

    4. Do not stop taking your medications without informing  your  physician    – there are some medications that cannot be stopped abruptly, you might need to be weaned off the medication.

    5. Do not be afraid to ask your doctor for an alternative to prescription medication – for example – could you consider making dietary changes to help with constipation rather than getting a prescription medication?

     

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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