I’ve pointed out during this series on drugs that the U.S. is a Drugged-Out Nation, a nation where on average, every man, woman and child takes 12 pharmaceutical drugs.
As I’ve pointed out, we can thank the intense marketing and promotion of drugs for the insane amounts of drugs consumed in the U.S. And as I’ve also pointed out, 40% of all drugs produced in the world are consumed in the U.S.
One downside, among many, of taking so many medications is something called Acute Pharmaceutical Toxicity, or APT.
APT is what killed the actor Heath Ledger, who died at the age of 28 on Jan. 22, 2008; and the actress Brittany Murphy, who died at the age of 32 on Dec. 20, 2009.
APT is what can potentially happen to anyone who takes a number of medications. Heath Ledger was taking six drugs, while Brittany Murphy was taking 10.
Here’s the problem: no one knows what happens when you take a number of drugs together, because pharmaceuticals have never been tested in combination with other drugs. In other words, when you are combining a number of medications, it is hard to predict what might happen.
Despite the fact that no combination testing has ever been done on pharmaceuticals, they are regularly prescribed in combination. Obviously, this creates a whole new realm of unknown risk based on the way multiple drugs might chemically interact in the human body.
The more pharmaceuticals you take, the more dangerous they become. While one pharmaceutical chemical may at first seem harmless (even though just one drug can actually kill you), when you start adding a second, third, fourth and fifth prescription on top of that, you’re dealing with Acute Pharmaceutical Toxicity.
Pharmacists are trained to help people avoid the most toxic two-drug combinations, but they rarely have any real knowledge about what happens when you combine three, four, five or more drugs. No one does. The science has simply never been done on that question. It’s no wonder: With all the possible combinations and permutations of pharmaceutical toxicity, it would take literally trillions of clinical trials to test them all.
So this whole idea that you can take a drug to treat one problem, then take a second drug to treat a second problem, and a third to treat a third problem… this entire approach to health care, upon which modern medicine is largely based, is flawed from the start. In clinical trials, patients are tested for one drug at a time. Never five or six (or ten).
Ask any senior citizen which prescription drugs they take, and most of them (the ones who can still remember, anyway) will rattle off a shockingly long list of toxic chemicals that have never been tested in combination. Just because one drug in isolation seems “safe” in one trial in no way means it’s going to be safe when combined with half a dozen other toxic chemicals taken by the patient at the same time.
But the problem is this: if you have a number of health issues, you will end up seeing different specialists, who each will most probably prescribe medications. So then you’re on a number of drugs, and you have no one keeping track of all the drugs you’re taking.
And of course, there’s also no one who knows exactly how these drugs will interact with one another.
So don’t become a victim of APT – Acute Pharmaceutical Toxicity. If you take multiple medications, start formulating a game plan for how you can reduce or eliminate the drugs you take.
Or else, you may wind up like Heath Ledger or Brittany Murphy.