#1 Cause of Premature Death is Medical Care

Drugs do their part to make us feel better, but one doctor says it could also kill us. Houston Public Radio's Pat Hernandez has the story.

Between 1998 and 2005 adverse drug events resulted in almost 825,000 deaths, almost the same amount as those who die from heart disease and cancer. Dr. Richard Ruhling says the Journal of the American Medical Association describes an adverse drug reaction as when medicine is properly prescribed and administered.

"Your doctor doesn't know. There's no way he can know what that drug is gonna do to you and that's why they call it adverse affect. It's properly prescribed, properly administered for the condition, but the reaction sooner or later is gonna be trouble."

Dr Ruhling says the symptomatic relief we get from drugs can result in our bodies becoming toxic to chemicals.

"A classic example is VIOXX. You took it for arthritis, but you die of heart disease. You take it as prescribed. It's not that they were overdosing for their arthritis or anything, but sooner or later they become toxic to something and it's when they do it's trouble."

He says TV ads pushing medicine has turned us into a society where we seek a pill to makes us feel better.

"Doctors are good at diagnosis. The more problematic area is in chronic. You come back again, come back again, and in treatment, where you take pills, drugs or something that isn't curing your problem."

Ruhling says we must realize that drugs may not cure and could often change the form and location of a disease. There's a link to more information on our website KUHF dot org.

Pat Hernandez, Houston Public Radio News

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...