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Prescription Woes

December 14, 2015

Anybody wonder today when we have all this new medication available to us why we are not living longer and better? How many of the medications we take actually do something for us?


When I first started practicing medicine in 1969, we had a nursing home in Princeton, Minnesota called the Elim Home. I guess now the term nursing home is probably politically incorrect. Now we are upgraded to a “senior retirement facility.”


When I first started taking care of patients at the Elim home it was pretty typical of many nursing homes. Many of the residents were on long lists of medications. This is not necessarily the fault of any one physician or nurse. It is just that often orders are given to take care of an acute problem and they do not have a die date when the order or medication should no longer be given.


And so the list grows. I decided in the first couple of weeks that we had to start over. All medications on all patients were discontinued unless the medications were absolutely critical. As it turned out most medications did not need restarting and it seemed that many of the patients were mentally more clear and functioning better.


What do all of the new medications we have do for us? We do know they make the pharmaceutical industry one of the strongest money making machines in the world. But of one thing I am sure, they are doing it all for you. Money is just a byproduct of their altruistic aims.

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