My favorite part of any drug commercial is the looooooong list of side effects at the end--the rhythmic chant of all the "bonuses" you might expect when you take the med.
I always wonder who in their right mind would swallow a pill that actually advertises "oily spotting" or "male breast growth"--but millions do, and they're finding out the hard way that those side effects aren't just words in a commercial.
They're the real deal.
Researchers say more Americans than ever are suffering drug side effects, with more than 2.2 million adverse events from name-brand drugs reported to the FDA between 2000 and 2009.
That's more than all the adverse events reported in the previous three decades combined!
And here's what's really crazy: It's actually getting worse. The researchers say the number of reports is increasing by 11 percent a year.
These aren't just people who get a little rash or cottonmouth, either--more than 40 percent of the side effects reported between 2000 and 2009 led to hospitalizations... and 15 percent of them resulted in deaths, according to the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Since only a fraction of people who experience side effects actually report them, the real totals could be much higher--up to 10 times higher, by some estimates.
Some of the most commonly reported side effects came from the recombinant DNA products used to fight rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. Because these drugs hit the immune system, patients who take them are prone to infections.
Other drugs also near the top of the side effect list included the diabetes drug Byetta, the osteoporosis med Forteo and the Ortho Evra birth-control patch, according to the study.
The researchers say people who take multiple meds should be sure to get them all from the same place, where the pharmacist can check for interactions--but I've got a better idea: Find a way off the meds completely by working with a skilled naturopathic physician.
When you can't avoid a drug, pay close attention to your body--and if you start to experience anything unusual, be sure to tell your doctor.
Then, file your own report with the FDA right here.