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But a new report prepared by 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' has discovered that doctors are prescribing drugs to the elderly that they know are very likely to cause a worrying side effect.
These drugs have been earmarked as being 'inappropriate' for the elderly because of the powerful reactions they can cause.
But What Doctors Don't Tell You has discovered that around 20% of all prescriptions for elderly patients are for drugs that are in the danger list.
This is a conservative estimate, and researchers estimate that the problem could easily be twice as bad. If that were indeed the true picture, it would mean that nearly half of all drugs prescribed for the elderly are too powerful and dangerous.
It's bad enough that they elderly may be taking one dangerous drug - but research suggests they could be taking at least four prescription drugs at the same time. And the older the person is, the more drugs he or she is likely to be given. In the UK at least one-third of all patients over the age of 75 are taking four or more prescription drugs.
Another study paints an even more alarming picture, with one in 14 elderly people taking more than 15 prescription drugs.
This multi-prescribing is a common practice in medicine, and is called polypharmacy. Astonishingly, it is an area of medicine that has never been researched. While drug regulators may force manufacturers to test the safety of individual drugs, nobody is checking for the side effects that a chemical cocktail of drugs might cause. It also creates a vicious spiral that ends up with more drugs being prescribed. If nobody knows what happens if you mix drug A with drug B, then the doctor is not going to recognize fresh symptoms as a result of the deadly cocktail. Instead, he will assume his patient has yet another problem, put it down to old age, and prescribe yet another drug to treat that reaction.
It's no wonder that the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that drug reactions was the fourth major killer in the USA, and this occurs mainly among the elderly.
This What Doctors Don't Tell You special report
http://www.wddty.co.uk/shop/details.asp?product=330 lists the major drugs in the danger list that you should be avoiding. If your doctor is not going to safeguard your health, you have to.
And that includes identifying the effects of ageing on your system, and what you can do to slow the process naturally - without the need of drugs. The What Doctors Don't Tell You report also lists all the vital nutrients you should be taking every day to achieve and maintain optimum health. And if you're already taking prescription drugs, we outline the way you can wean yourself off them safely.