A recent article in the Herald Sun has reported that thousands of Australians are being hospitalised after taking common prescription medications, even when using the recommended dose. In the past 5 years, the top ten drugs used by Australians have caused 67 deaths & near 3000 adverse events.
The study was conducted on 7500 GP patients in Australia & found that 1 in 10 Australians aged over 45 has had an adverse reaction to their prescription medication and 5 per cent of them have been hospitalised as a result.
1 in 8 hospitalisations due to common pain relief medications.
Of the medicines surveyed, opioids (like morphine) were responsible for causing the most problems, but common pain relief medicine like Nurofen & Voltaren were still responsible for 1 in 8 hospitalisations, causing issues such as abdominal pain, swollen ankles & nausea.
Various other medications including statins like Lipitor and blood pressure drugs were also surveyed & found to cause numerous adverse reactions. The study authors noted, ”…this study must place adverse drug reactions as one of the most important causes of morbidity in the Australian community”.
As this study suggests, prescription medication is one of the biggest causes of ill health in Australia, and the risks of prescription medication may out way the benefits for some patients.
Source: Dunlevy, S. Drugs of death, pain: Prescription medicines have a dark side for many. Herald Sun, October 17th 2013.