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Over Dose: The Case Against the Drug Companies: Prescription Drugs, Side Effects, and Your Health Hardcover – October 15, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Replete with information supported by recognized and reliable sources, this expos-cum-health guide should be read by anyone taking prescription medication. Cohen, an associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego, focuses on the practice of "standard dosing," i.e., the same number of milligrams prescribed for all patients; his articles about dosage have appeared in the New York Times and Newsweek. Asserting that different ages and conditions can affect how a drug is metabolized, and thus its effectiveness, Cohen advises to "Start Low, Go Slow." Lower doses often prove just as effective, and higher doses in the wrong person can be deadly. The chapters proceed logically, divided by families of drugs and, later, by FDA regulations, kickbacks to doctors from pharmaceutical companies, ghostwritten articles commissioned by pharmaceutical companies and attributed to independent doctors in trusted medical journals. Most importantly, Cohen discusses at length deadly and other irreversible side effects of new drugs, suggesting that warnings on drug packages are incomplete. He describes the pharmaceutical companies' practice of luring doctors to exotic weekend-long retreats for a two-hour symposium about a new product. Finally, Cohen gives insight into the doctor's Bible: The Physician's Desk Reference. Clear, easy narrative and anecdotal evidence makes this an accessible, albeit disturbing, read. This medical-biz gadfly delivers an invaluable resource for doctors and patients alike. (Oct. 15)Forecast: Given its nearly limitless potential audience, and with a national author tour kicked off by an appearance on the radio talk show People's Pharmacy, prominent display in stores could make sales take off.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Medications don't cause side effects their dosages do. That is the message sent by Cohen, a psychiatrist and professor of family medicine, in this repetitive but necessary expos of drug companies' marketing practices, physicians' prescribing behavior, and the inadequacy of dosing information in the Physicians' Desk Reference. Cohen argues that most adverse effects could be eliminated if doctors tailored a drug's dosage to an individual, but because manufacturers want to obtain approval for new drugs as quickly as possible, they do not perform adequate testing to determine the lowest effective amount. This can cause doctors to use a "one size fits all" mentality and prescribe like dosages for all patients. Cohen presents a plethora of practical information, including lower effective dosage recommendations for 53 top-selling drugs and a questionnaire for patients to determine how sensitive they are to medication. Numerous case studies, quotations from prominent researchers, and references support his premise that doctors should usually "start slow, go slow," and always individualize the dosage for each patient. Highly recommended for public and medical libraries. Natalie Kupferberg, Biological Sciences/ Pharmacy Lib., Ohio State Univ., Columbus
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
The drugs specifically considered with chapters of their own include Prozac. It has a lot of good information, though he completely misses the connection between Prozac (and similar drugs, SSRI), and violent episodes like school shootings. Then he has a chapter devoted to Viagra. Folks, I have to ask if a little momentary sexual pleasure is worth risking your life, not to mention the way in which so many men take advantage of women, hurt them, and then abandon them. Viagra seems to help the mentality that women are nothing more than sex toys. He concludes that Viagra is an "excellent drug"; the doses are just too high. Another chapter is on how drug company policies harm women (no, he doesn't talk about the fact Viagra helps men make women into sex objects). He talks about how drug doses available are too large for women because our bodies are smaller. He notes that gender does make a difference in how people react to drugs. One sentence starts out "When women no longer need contraception..." Since when do women need contraception in the first place? They can simply refuse to let men use them, and assert their right to bear the babies they conceive within marriage. What a concept!
Dr. Cohen next discusses statins. These medications are so deadly and laking in efficacy they should simply be banned. Dr. Cohen also fails to note that a higher cholesterol level for women is NORMAL. We are held to the standards for men. He does note that statins can lead to rhabdomyelysis, which, incidentally, can waste not only skeletal muscles, but also heart muscle, which contradicts what the statins are supposed to help. In the final page, he says, "Reducing cholesterol levels is not an emergency." No duh!
He next talks about medications for high blood pressure. To begin with, there is a REASON why people develop high blood pressure. It's because their brain REQUIRES MORE OXYGEN, and it's not getting it. I saw high blood pressure medications contribute to a family member's growing dementia. Wait! Aren't these drugs supposed to prevent things like stroke? What's the point of bringing on the same consequences more slowly?
A chapter on why seniors are at greater risk goes into the fact their livers don't work as well, so drugs accumulate in the body.
Next, he talks about all the funny business with the way drug companies get approval for their drugs and market them, including fundamentally dishonest research, bribing doctors, TV ads aimed at patients, and supplying misinformation to everyone. He continues with a chapter on what is wrong with the FDA. He would like to see an independent medication safety monitoring system. Good for him! He ends with his ultimate recommendation: start with low doses and titrate (calculate doses for individual patients).
How should you assess this book? It is full of useful information in spite of some glaring omissions. That said, if you have no discernment, don't try to read it. It won't help. His ultimate conclusion is that the problems are all side effects. The "solution" is to poison the body more SLOWLY (with smaller doses), so there won't be side effects. Huh? A poison is a poison is a poison. If you have any sense, you'll use the information to educate yourself to avoid the drugs entirely and find another way to deal with health problems. Dr. Cohen has a bit more thinking to do.
colestoral pills. Very enlightening !!
Us old folks do not really need the same dosage of pills as younger folks. Some very good advice.
The pill "Companies" I have heard are not too keen on this book. All they want to do is make money. "Lots Of Money".
I?m convinced there are thousands of people who won?t even start on a drug that could be beneficial, because of horror stories about side effects. Reading this book and following the suggestions, together with ones doctor, would change this attitude completely.
The book is loaded with useful and important information, and is an excellent reference as well as interesting reading. In my case, I wish it had been available many prescriptions ago!
This book helps you see how much drugs given in excess can harm the body. It is a comprehensive look at a serious problem.
I highly recommend it!