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What it Means to be a Smart Patient: Do Your Medication Research

Map.jpgMore than ever before, Americans are going to the doctor for their health ailments and getting prescriptions to treat everything from aches and pains to high blood pressure to diabetes. In fact, according to a study conducted by Coyne College in Chicago, each state has a particular flavor in terms of what drugs are searched for the most, perhaps serving as a reflection of the major health concerns in each state. For example, in our home state of Texas, the blood pressure drug, Exforge, is the number one drug searched. In our sister state of Oklahoma, another blood pressure drug, Bystolic, turns up as number one. In California, Viagra has won the day, while in Maine, it's the pain management drug, Suboxone, that rules the roost.

While being health vigilant is key to remaining healthy, there are downsides to being loaded up on prescription medications. Those downsides come into play when big pharm is not transparent or rushes the drug approval process; those downsides are serious medication side effects. For example, blood pressure medications are, in general, one of the most searched for drugs across the country, and nearly 30% of Americans are on blood pressure medication according to the Washington Post. However, there are blood pressure medications such as Eliquis and Xarelto that come with potentially deadly side effects such as uncontrollable bleeding which can even result in death.

While it's essential to be vigilant about your health, it's also essential to keep doing your research and look deeply and carefully into the drug you're being prescribed before taking it. Consider part of your health diligence plan to include asking your doctor lots of questions about your medications and doing your own independent research. Be a smart patient; be advised about what is going into your body. You only have one!

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