Should we be doing our own research?

Posted , 3 users are following.

We should ask questions. We should work with our doctors to achieve the best health outcomes for us.

We would not knowingly do something that is harmful to us yet we trust that a drug will do no harm.

But some drugs do harm.

We need to weigh up the risks versus the benefits. What is right for one person is not okay for another.

How important is it, therefore, to have an understanding of what we take whether it is a natural product or a designed drug?

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  • Posted

    I have always read the information leaflet that comes with medication.  I have never - before Alendronic Acid - had side effects.I'm somewhat cautious about medication anyway, and fortunate to have a good relationship with my doctors.  Kathleens question  "How important is it, therefore, to have an understanding of what we take whether it is a natural product or a designed drug?" would seem to warrant a 'yes, very imprtant' answer.

    Except not everyone does want to know.  Example being, medical professionals have to judge the fine line of conveying bad news, to a patient or their families.  I don't believe the information that came with my box of AA really outlined the potential side effects. Admittedly, I seem to have had the whole lot, to an extreme extent, but that does not happen to everyone.  I found this site querying one of those side effects.

    The perception is that a prescribed drug comes with some sort of safety blanket,'it must be alright otherwise it would not be given to me'. Yet everyday, in the UK (nodding towards the overseas friends), thousands of people buy cigarettes, whihc used to come in boxes labelled 'smoking kills', and now are hidden from view.

    Get back to the exam question Victoria!  I've come down on the side of the right of the individual to choose, but in the case of prescribed medication, a firm shove in the direction of as much information given at outset, pointers where more can be gained.  So I guess my real answer is - forgive me for writing out loud - from the outset there should be no need for research, it should be in capital letters at outset, and if someone wants to take it further, they can. 

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    • Posted

      Great response, thanks! Your last sentence set me thinking. Why now is the need for research!

      I take drugs for diabetes and crohns without blinking but this lot of drugs sent me scampering for the internet and groups of wise people who would throw the discussion from one side to the other and all arguments are good because they provoke further thought and research.

      The leaflet that comes with the drug tells only partial information unfortunately.

      When an American newspaper had a front page story on the biphosphonates and the fact that people were baulking at taking the drug although said to be safe it was the comments that were valuable from people. So many spoke about horrendous side effects and side effects that were not listed on the leaflet.

      It is important to note that patients are often scholars too. Many of us have degrees that required that we learn how to research and my GP actually values my research and has even passed on some to other GPs.


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  • Posted

    I think the point about how we shouldn't need more research is a good one.  What we do need, however, is a much more transparent and vigorous collection of data about side effects because, as we know, many of the more egregious side effects of bisphosphonates were not obvious until several years after many many people had been taking them.  And this is true for a number of other drugs which seem to do well initially but eventually may even have to be withdrawn from the market as it becomes apparent that harm outweighs risk like cox-2 inhibitors.

    Furthermore there is a confounding issue which it is difficult for either patients or doctors to deal with: the desire of pharmaceutical companies to make huge profits to satisfy their shareholders.  Only good oversight and regulation by government can deal with that. 

    Kathleen, I agree we should ask lots of questions, but I'm not sure that we will always be able to get the right answers.  Sometimes we have to trust our own instincts.

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    • Posted

      We must trust our instincts and know we can research to make sure we have full information. I am not aversed to taking drugs and I take quite a few. However, when my gut tells me to rethink a decision to take one I have alarm bells ringing. I keep researching hoping to allay my fears but that did not happen with the biphosphonates or the other even worse ones  for osteoporosis

      I am not sure what I would do if my bones start to crumble though!

      Here's hoping the natural things I am doing will be sufficient to prevent that.

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    • Posted

      I'd be happier if doctors were better informed.  I know it isn't their fault but they have been seriously misled by the drug companies into thinking that only drug intervention will help.  This in turn leads them to give patients the wrong idea, that there are no alternatives.  It seems pretty obvious to me that a chronic condition needs as its first line of treatment an examination of diet and remedying any deficiencies.  I know there are conditions which need more than food and supplements (polymyalgia rheumatica is one, and that's why I take steroids) but there's no doubt in my mind that even in those cases nutrition plays a big part in helping recovery and I hope in preventing a recurrence.  

      And, also, I got some pretty serious side effects from prednisone; I think my body is very sensitive to chemical changes, so there's no way I personally would ever take a bone med because I think in the end I'd suffer more.

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    • Posted

      My GP has said she does not have the time. She has two small children at home and she is in the surgery the rest of the time. She is like a dog with a bone though and goes online when I am with her. She asks me to let her know what I know or find or think and she will follow it up. She is probably unusual though, no big ego and willing to learn. They have access to medical sites that we do not as well. What I have is time and training like yourself in how to research. Everything is worth reading if only to show bias or unfounded claims. People posting their thoughts provides ideas for research. Studies can be useful but some of those are distorted. Anything can be argued given a provocative statement. 
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