Saturday, 5 November 2011

Are Doctor's too Quick to Prescribe Painkillers and Anti-Depressants?

When researching ScriptSwitch, the new method of prescribing medication increasingly used by the NHS, I found Fluoxetine was in 13th place in the most prescribed drugs in the UK!?!  Is Britain as a nation really that depressed?

If you look at the top 20 drugs on ScriptSwitch, the obvious ones such as Paracetamol and Aspirin are in the first and second positions respectively. That’s fair enough; pain is a serious pain in the metaphorical and literal butt. Although I sometimes think that doctors advise patients to take these types of painkillers all too quickly.

I mean when you think about it, if one was to overdose on Co-Codamol, it would not be the Codeine that would cause the most damage, it would be the Paracetamol. The most common and easily obtained of the lot of them!!!

So looking at the ease of which doctors prescribe medication, are anti-depressants also prescribed way too easily? I think they are. I remember when I was at University and one of my flatmates had recently split up with her boyfriend, she took it really badly and went to the doctor for advice. Instantly she was prescribed Fluoxetine, or Prozac as it is known by brand. It is a name that instantly creates a stigma around what is exactly wrong with you.

Admittedly this was at the tail end of the 90’s, the decade where Prozac really exploded onto the scene but still, even today there is a definite stigma attached to the name. In the end, after thinking about it she decided not to take it. And sure enough, a short while later, she was back to her usual cheerful self.

The thing is, although talking therpies and lifestyle changes can be far more beneficial to some people, I guess it’s just easier for a doctor to write out a prescription instead. And this I think is something that definitely needs to change.  

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