Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Prescription Meds Are the Side Effects Worth the Risk?

Family medicine cabinets are crammed full of prescription medications. With nearly one in three people taking a prescription medication for sleep problems, you can only imagine how many people are taking at least one prescription for some type of ailment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ annual check-up on America’s Health reports that the statistic is actually a staggering fifty percent, with one in six people taking three or more prescription medications at once.

The recent reports of strange and dangerous side effects associated with leading conventional sleep medications have awakened Americans to the risks of prescription and OTC (over-the-counter) drugs. Drugmakers are now revising the labels on Ambien, Lunesta, and other popular sleep aids to warn that the pills might result in driving, eating, and having sex while sleeping, health officials said last week.

People are now more likely to consider the possibility of drug interactions and the high risk of side effects each time they contemplate using an OTC or prescription drug. Recent increased interest in the areas of complementary and alternative medicine shows it is virtually risk free and has a wide range of treatment options worth exploring. There are many unconventional options available to try in conjunction with, or in place of conventional OTC or prescription drugs. These are just a few: acupuncture and massage, chiropractic, relaxation and meditation, and herbal and homeopathic remedies.

The good news is that natural remedies – like herbal and homeopathic products – are virtually free of any of the major side effects that are plaguing prescription and OTC medications. With these options available, Americans can now rest easy.



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