Nearly two-thirds of people taking a prescription drug will come off worse from the experience. They will either suffer an ‘adverse drug reaction’ – which could be any reaction from insomnia to death – get ‘intoxicated’ from an overdose or become dependent on the drug.
The extent of the problem has been highlighted by two surveys, which reveal varying levels of problems with prescription drugs. Doctors reckon that 51 per cent of their patients who walk off with a prescription will experience an adverse reaction, and this rises to 54 per cent among patients in hospital.
However, pharmacists – who hand the drugs out and get the first feed-back from the patient – put the figure as high as 61 per cent, or nearly two-thirds of all patients.
The cost to cash-strapped health systems is enormous. Researchers from the Nordic School of Public Health reckon each adverse reaction costs the health service up to Eur1645 (£1326; US$2140) per patient.
(Source: International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 2012; doi: 10.1007/s11096-012-9641-3).