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America Is the Most Overmedicated Nation on Earth!

POSTED ON IN Latest News BY Chris Centeno



taking multiple prescription drugs

Most of us have been prescribed and taken prescription drugs at one time or another: an antibiotic for a strep throat, a muscle relaxant or pain medication for a bad back, statins when those cholesterol numbers are high…Seeing patients every day, it seems like a large segment of the adult population is taking multiple prescription drugs on an ongoing basis. This issue is called polypharmacy, and a new study shows that the phenomenon continues to increase.

Importantly, we need to remember that prescription medication is one of the wonders of the modern age of medicine. Before antibiotics, countless people died from simple bacterial infections. Individuals with compromised respiratory systems who struggled to breathe can now live relatively normal lives. Cancer research has amazingly turned cancer from the automatic death sentence it once was into a disease that is conquered by many. As wonderful as these advances are, there are two problems. Let me explain.

Drug Side Effects and Interactions

First, Big Pharma is still making sledgehammer drugs, meaning while they are targeting these issues, what’s needed is a precision nail, and the closest they can get to the issue is hitting the general area with a sledgehammer. This lack of focused effects means unintended targets are being hit as well, resulting in the numerous side effects you hear listed very quickly at the end of TV prescription-drug ads.

It’s the unintended interaction of known, and unknown, side effects that can cause enormous problems. For example, while steroids injected epidurally (around irritated back nerves) can act as a potent anti-inflammatory, in middle-aged and older women, they can also cause significant bone loss and increased fracture risk. This unintended damage highlights the complexities of drug mechanisms and the potential for unexpected drug interactions.

Prescription-medication side effects can also interfere with the effectiveness of medical procedures. For instance, our research has shown that certain common prescription drugs negatively affect stem cells, which is why our initial candidacy evaluation goes over all prescriptions. Our goal is to temporarily suspend the problematic ones to ensure a better outcome for our patients.

FDA-Approval Process

Second, the FDA-approval process for prescription drugs is incredibly long and unimaginably expensive, (average 359 million for drug approval in 2012). Add to that, for every one drug that the drug company gets through FDA approval, they have funded the research of an average of 100 that have not. That enormous financial pressure to get a drug to market can result in the “we’ll deal with that later” plan for side effects. In addition, you want your drug to be a sledgehammer so that it’s more likely to get through the FDA gauntlet.

National Health and Nutrition Survey Looks at Taking Multiple Prescription Drugs

To evaluate if we’re taking more or less medication over time, a new study out of Boston and New York looked at the trends in prescription-medication use in two distinct time periods. To do so, the new study reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey, representing almost 40,000 patients. Their findings were that the use of any prescription drugs was increased by 8% in 2011 to 2012, and the use of five or more prescription drugs (polypharmacy) increased by 6.6% in the same period! Not surprisingly, the meds that most increased in this time period were cholesterol-lowering drugs, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and stomach-acid-reducing drugs. Meaning we’re increasingly out of shape, depressed, in pain, and stressed out!

The upshot? Back in the day, the town GP knew everyone, their family, and their medical history. It was a close relationship, and the cons of medication were weighed against the benefit in that particular patient for that particular situation. With the advent of prescription medication being hawked on TV and with dividing patients up into body parts and systems treated by specialists, some of the big-picture checks and balances of that primary relationship have been lost to history. The modern-day issue of taking multiple prescription drugs makes me think of my Venezuelan grandmother. Every evening, she used to look at her handful of pills, line them up on the table in groups that made sense to her, and proclaim, “I can’t let this one get together with that one or they’ll have a party together and make me loco in the head!” Not a lot of science in there, but maybe she was on to something!

    *DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.
    Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.


    Jon Wigby says

    I'm currently taking a collagen supplement for my hip pain, which seems to works at times. I'm interested in your Regenex Advanced Stem Cell joint supplement. Would it work for me? And what is the cost?
    I'm 83 years young and want to travel the world. I don't particularly want to have any hip surgery. My daughter is 50 years old and has had both knee joint replacements. One seemingly successful and the other not so. She is a self proclaimed expert on the body. She says that the apparent arthritic bone spurs that I might have, cannot be removed via the stem cell procedure! From your post, it does not help to remove it! What is your advice?


    Chris Centeno says

    The Advanced Stem Cell Support formula works differently than Collagen supplements, as in a year's worth of lab research we tested supplements individually to see what, and in what combinations and ratios they best supported stem cells (the repairmen of your body) and cartilage. That said, each person, their medical history, and their arthritis is different, so what it would do in an individual case needs to be tried. Surgery, and especially joint replacement should always be a last resort. Bone is very alive and interactive to it's enviroment and bone spurs occur as your body's way of shoring up an unstable joint. So to remove them, without correcting the instability, leaves the joint in worse shape. and Bone spurs can be removed with a needle technology called Barbotage if necessary. If you'd like to see if you'd be a good Candidate, please submit the Candidate form. More info and prices on the supplement here:


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    About the Author

    Chris Centeno

    Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…

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