A couple of horrendously long Medscape articles really got my blood boiling this morning. One is called “An Epidemic of Noncompliance” the other “Can We Get Patients To Be More Compliant?” The writers said that doctors are “baffled by how many patients, particularly those with chronic conditions, don’t take their medications as prescribed – if at all.”Here are the noncompliance stats:
- In the U.S, 3.8 Billion prescriptions are written each year; 50% are taken incorrectly or not at all.
- In a 1,000-patient survey, 75% said they didn’t take their meds as directed.
- In a 75,000-patient survey, 30% failed to fill a new prescription. New scripts for high BP, diabetes and high cholesterol were not filled 20-22% of the time.
- In a 8,400-patient survey, only 1 in 3 were taking their high BP and high cholesterol drugs after 6 months.
- In a 240,000-patient study, 30% were not taking their antidepressant meds after 6 months.
Then attempting to ‘baffle with bullshit,’ the article hammers at the same old tune that patients who don’t take their meds risk hospitalization and premature death. I’m sure they haven’t read my Death by Modern Medicine book. In the 3rd edition, the stats of drug side effects and deaths are even higher. Ten years ago it was ¾ of a million, now, over 1 Million people die prematurely per year due to modern medicine interventions.
But it struck me that noncompliance is the way medicine is going to explain away iatrogenic medicine. They are saying that you get sick and die because most of you are noncompliant anyway! Wow! Now there’s a Machiavellian twist.
Why are doctors so blind and don’t realize people don’t want to take meds that make them sicker, not better? After all, if their drugs worked, people would be happy to take them! One reason they are so blind is that the allopathic medical industry does not believe in drug side effects. In the articles they say one of the reasons for noncompliance is the “perceived side effects of drugs” by patients!
A person suffering a tendon rupture from the fluoride antibiotic, Cipro, does not have a “perceived side effect” that person could be crippled for life.
Here’s a long email from a blog reader who wants to help her mother get off some of her meds. She said:
“Hello Dr. Dean. We shared with my mother your blog post about the 93 year old who stopped taking her BP meds after supplementing with Magnesium… also the familiar story of how visiting the doctor with a minor issue typically leads to a snowball drug effect. I think she has a hard time believing doctors would find it so easy to put you (keep you) on drugs without due cause – we’re ALL led to believe this fallacy!
In my own personal experience with trying to help family members improve their health, we had a sad event yesterday between my Mother and her Primary Physician. The experience was quite shocking and mind boggling to say the least.
We took her in for her checkup and told her doctor we wanted to try and get her off some medications, at the very least reduce where possible. We simply want our Mom to have the best quality of life that is left. We explained that we weaned her off the Statin as we felt the risk outweighed the benefits for her — at 84 my mom’s cholesterol is a low 145, she weighs a mere 120 lbs, and her lifestyle has improved greatly from 2005 when she started with Statins. She’s on other heart meds and also on Metformin for decades now, but no longer has risk factors for diabetes and we felt it was ridiculous to keep taking it. Sounds reasonable enough to monitor her blood sugar and go from there!
The doctor took all this to mean that we were questioning her ability as a doctor and flew off the handle at us, in a BIG way, accusing us of sabotaging our Mother’s health – ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality. We explained we wanted what was best for her, that we weren’t wanting to mess with her other heart drugs at this point, but so much of what she takes interacts with the other drugs, and based on symptoms, seem to be the likely cause of her problems, so yes, we want her off drugs, slowly but surely. She insisted our reasoning was off-base, saying it’s science and it’s working. Who were we to question it?! She basically scared my mom into believing she would die without the drugs!
Adding to all that, my Mom has taken calcium her entire life, as directed by her doctors, yet she still has Osteoporosis! She just had an Osteo test done and they’ve told her that her Osteo is now severe and she is at high risk for fracture. Now they want her to have the Reclast injection. They tell her she needs to keep taking her Calcium and Vitamin D3 but no mention of Magnesium!! Why don’t they address the fact that she’s been on calcium her whole life and it didn’t help!?
So, with all this, even though the magnesium is helping her we have little faith of getting anywhere without taking matters into our own hands. At this point we are feeling discouraged, and in the end, we must honor our Mother’s wishes. Unfortunately she will listen to the doctor, after all, ‘doctors know best!’ I realize it is difficult for older people to change. Personally I have hopes that the Magnesium will continue to make positive changes that may force the doctor to reconsider. There’s still hope, but honestly, sometimes I wish we were living on another planet!”
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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