The Importance of Checking with Your Doctor About Medication

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • It seems like every time I turn on the television or open a magazine, I see them: ads for prescription drugs. They are everywhere. The medications are for any ailment or disease imaginable and the side effects that are listed seem to go on forever. It's nice to know there are prescriptions out there to help people; however, I often wonder why I see so much advertisement. I mean, we can't go out and buy them without a prescription from our doctor? And, if the drugs are so wonderful, wouldn't our doctor be prescribing them anyway?


    The fact is, these drug companies are banking on us want these drugs and then go to our doctor for a prescription. According to a study published in USA Today, it's working. The findings in a national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health show that prescription-drug ads prompt nearly one-third of Americans to ask their doctors about an advertised medicine and 82% of those who ask say their doctors recommended a prescription.

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    I have mixed feelings about the ads, quite honestly. I think I'm so used to seeing them that I tune them out most of the time. I do agree with some people, though the billions of dollars spent on marketing and advertising these drugs could be better spent and help drive down the cost of prescription drugs. As a patient, I rely on the advice from my doctor. I take the blood thinner Coumadin. I have seen some drugs that are similar and claim they could reduce my chances of having another stroke. However, I've never inquired about them to my doctor. I figure the therapy I'm on is working. I don't have any side effects to speak of from taking Coumadin and I wouldn't want to risk another drug's reaction to my body. On the otherhand, I have asked about going generic or to a more natural therapy, say with garlic. My doctor says no to both. He feels the best medication for me is Coumadin and that's all I need to know. I mean, he was there when I was having my stroke many years ago. I believe he is the reason I'm alive today, so I will always trust his opinion.


    As for the many drugs out there, I hope people realize that even though the prescription drugs are available, they may not need them. I don't believe people should pop a pill for every little problem. But always check with your own doctor to see what is best for you.

Published On: March 05, 2008