Most dangerous prescription drugs not opioids

  • 48.8%, nearly half of anticoagulant adverse events required a hospital stay.
  • Based on CDC data there were nearly 22,000 severe injuries, including more than 3,000 deaths, reported by patients and health care workers relating to blood thinners in 2016.
  • The annual number of people harmed by anticoagulants could be as much as ten times greater than voluntary reports indicate, reaching nearly a quarter of a million people.
  • As many as one-quarter of people with atrial fibrillation who have a low risk of stroke are given blood-thinning drugs they likely don’t need.

When we think of dangerous, over prescribed prescription drugs most people think of episodes, but the reality is much different.  The market for blood thinners in the United States is overwhelming. Each year this country spends more than one billion dollars on blood thinners, with most of those prescriptions being written for people over 65, and in some cases people as young as 18 years old are given this medication.

Based on CDC data analyzed, there were nearly 22,000 severe injuries, including more than 3,000 deaths, reported by patients and health care workers relating to blood thinners last year. Of those, nearly half of the adverse events required a hospital stay. These are just some of the reasons that so many have filed Xarelto lawsuits, a reminder of the $650 million Pradaxa lawsuit settlement announced by Boehringer Ingelheim in 2014.

“Practitioners who prescribe blood thinners need to be diligent about weighing the risks and benefits of these medications,” study lead author Dr. Jonathan Hsu from the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release.

“In those patients with no risk factors for stroke, the risk of bleeding likely outweighs the benefit of stroke reduction. The fact that blood thinners were prescribed to so many patients with no risk factors for stroke is a wake-up call that we need to do better for our patients,” Hsu concluded.

Are blood thinners over prescribed?  The short answer is “yes”.  Why? Because physicians are trained to treat conditions not patients.  A friend I bike ride with told me that if he ever takes a fall on his bike he has to go to the ER because he is on a blood thinner.  “I hate taking the medication, it really has changed the way I live” he told me.

It’s one thing to take precaution steps, it’s quite another to be too precautious.  “As long as there is money to be made the drug companies will keep promoting these drugs and ER visits will result”.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *