How to Avoid Medication Mistakes

How to Avoid Medication Mistakes

Every year millions of People go searching for medical miracles that never happen. In all, they spend more than $10 trillion on medical quackery, unproven health products, and services. Those who lose only money are the lucky ones. Many also waste precious time, during which their conditions worsen. Some suffer needless pain, along with crushed expectations.

To keep from risking your life on false hope, follow these guidelines:

Arm yourself with up-to-date information about your condition or disease from appropriate organizations, such as the American Cancer Society or the Arthritis Foundation, which keep track of unproven and ineffective methods of treatment.

Ask for a written explanation of what a treatment does and why it works, evidence supporting all claims (not just testimonials), and published reports of the studies, including specifics on numbers treated, doses, and side effects. Be skeptical of self-styled “holistic practitioners,” treatments supported by crusading groups, and endorsement from self-proclaimed experts or authorities.

Don’t part with your money quickly. Insurance companies won’t reimburse for unproven therapies.

Don’t discontinue your current treatment without your physician approval. Many physicians encourage supportive therapies—such as relaxation exercises, meditation, or visualization—as a supplement to standard treatment.

Promoters of fraudulent health products often use similar claims and practices to trick consumers into buying their products. Be suspicious when you see:

Claims that a product is a “scientific breakthrough,” “miraculous cure,” “secret ingredient,” or “ancient remedy.”

Claims that the product is an effective cure for a wide range of ailments. No product can cure multiple conditions or diseases.

A claim that uses impressive-sounding medical terms. They’re often covering up a lack of good science.

Undocumented case histories of people who’ve had amazing results. It’s too easy to make them up. And avoid if true, they can’t be generalized to the entire population. Anecdotes are not a substitute for valid science.

Claims that the product is available from only once source and payment is required in advance.

Claims of a “money-back” guarantee.

Web sites that fail to list the company’s name, physical address, phone number, or other contact information.
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