How many bottles of prescriptions are in your medicine cabinet? Although “overprescribing” is often brought up in the context of opioids alone, the reality is that too much of any medication can be a bad thing. The overprescribing of medications has emerged as a significant problem within the health care industry, contributing to instances of medical malpractice and patient harm.
It’s estimated that roughly 42% of U.S. adults over 65 years of age take five or more daily medications, and that could be putting them (and you, if you’re among them) – at serious risk.
There’s an increased risk of adverse drug reactions
One of the most prominent dangers of overprescribing is the heightened risk of adverse drug reactions (ADRs). When medications are prescribed excessively or inappropriately, patients are more likely to experience harmful complications. Unnecessary prescriptions or excessive dosages can result in prolonged hospital stays and additional treatments – and fatalities are possible.
It leads to problems with antibiotic resistance
Overprescribing antibiotics is a particularly concerning issue. When antibiotics are prescribed without proper indication or in excessive quantities, bacteria can develop resistance. This widespread antimicrobial resistance makes it increasingly challenging to treat infections effectively, posing a significant threat to public health.
Patient addiction and dependency is a real issue
Overprescribing controlled substances, such as opioids, muscle relaxers or benzodiazepines, puts patients at risk of developing dependency or addiction. When these medications are prescribed excessively or for prolonged periods, individuals may become physically and psychologically dependent, leading to devastating consequences.
Throwing medication at symptoms can mask underlying problems
Just adding new medications to control a patient’s symptoms without conducting comprehensive evaluations of their underlying health can mask serious issues, potentially resulting in delayed or incorrect medical diagnoses. That can ultimately cause a patient’s health to permanently deteriorate.
The dangers associated with overprescribing medications cannot be underestimated. Medical providers need to exercise caution, adhere to evidence-based guidelines when prescribing and prioritize the safety and best interests of their patients. When your doctor fails to do so and you are injured as a result, that could be medical malpractice. Seeking experienced legal guidance can help you learn more.