To make prescribing easy for doctors, drug-makers often produce simplistic—and therefore unnecessarily high—doses.
Updated April 2, 2018
Millions of Americans are experiencing unnecessary adverse reactions, “ranging from dizziness and nausea all the way to death,” because drug-manufacturers' recommended doses are too high, states medical expert Jay S. Cohen, M.D., associate professor of family and preventative medicine at the University of California at San Diego, in his book, Over Dose: The Case Against the Drug Companies.
“For one in five drugs, dosages are ultimately lowered years after FDA approval—after millions of people have received the higher doses.”
ABOVE: Gale, K. “Drug Doses Frequently Change after Approval.” Reuters Health, Mar. 9, 2001
Aren't pharmaceutical companies concerned about adverse side-effects?
“Of course—to a point,” reports Dr. Cohen. “A drug company doesn't want a new drug to cause any more side effects than necessary. On the other hand, getting a drug to market quickly, before its competitors, is often worth
billions and proves far more important to drug companies than determining the very best and safest doses for patients.”
Dr. Cohen's important book, Over Dose, explains in specific detail how and why drug companies create unnecessarily high doses.
“Drug-company ads typically promote expensive brand-name products although other drugs may be equally effective, more extensively studied, and less costly.”
ABOVE: Cohen, J.S. Over Dose: The Case Against the Drug Companies: Prescription Drugs, Side Effects, and Your Health. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 2001.
Higher Doses Produce Maximum Effectiveness
Drug makers use “the highest-possible dose” to convince the FDA that their new drug works (citing Dr. Woosley in Drug Therapy).
“It's the regulatory [FDA] requirement to demonstrate efficacy that drives higher doses” (citing associate vice president for the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America).
But the FDA doesn't prevent drug companies from researching and producing lower doses.
Limited Doses are Cheaper, Quicker and Easier for both Drug-Makers and Doctors
Dr. Cohen explains the obvious: “Limited doses are quicker and easier to research, cheaper to produce, and easier to market, requiring fewer guidelines and fewer pill sizes.”
Simplistic dosaging helps busy doctors, too. “Doctors like drugs that come in a one-size-fits-all dose,” so, “if a pharmaceutical company makes it the least bit complicated for them, they'll often choose another drug that's simpler to use.”
Take Charge of Your Health
What is the solution? While improvements can and should be made in our system of approving new drugs and their doses, the most important person in protecting your health is YOU.
“Having blind faith in your doctor and the medical system puts you in a precarious situation. Trust must be earned, not expected.”
ABOVE: Strand, R.D. Death by Prescription: The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003.
“Don't expect the FDA, your doctor, or anyone else to take full responsibility for your greatest natural resource—your health,” advises medical expert, Dr. Ray Strand, M.D., in his book on this subject, Death By Prescription: The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation. “You must become the chief guardian of your health,” Dr. Strand advises, by becoming actively involved in your own treatment.
Many think methylphenidate (Ritalin) is safe, or mild, because so many children use it. However, the government classifies the psychoactive drug with cocaine and morphine because it's highly addictive. [More]
Whether you know it or not, if you have purchased newly released drugs or have taken free samples of medication, you, too, are part of the great ongoing clinical trial. Find out why the hottest drugs may be the most toxic. [More]
If over-the-counter drugs were dangerous, the FDA would never allow them to be sold without a prescription, right? Not exactly. Almost all OTC medications were at one time prescription drugs and have inherent risks of adverse reactions like any prescription. [More]
“It’s the holy grail that every drug company tries to achieve,” according to a former director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Federal drug agency who said: “One-dose-fits-all is a marketing myth.” [More]
Cohen, J.S. Over Dose: The Case Against the Drug Companies: Prescription Drugs, Side Effects, and Your Health. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 2001.
Gale, K. “Drug Doses Frequently Change after Approval.” Reuters Health, Mar. 9, 2001
Gebhart, F. “Is standard dosing to blame for adverse drug reactions?” Drug Therapy, Jan. 17, 2000, 34.
American Medical Association. AMA Drug Evaluations, Annual 1993. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1993.
Strand, R.D. Death by Prescription: The Shocking Truth Behind an Overmedicated Nation. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This website is for general information purposes only. Statements and excerpts from research literature are provided solely as a forum for commentary and specifically not as health or medical advice. Only your physician should diagnose your health problem and prescribe treatment. DO NOT CHANGE OR STOP TAKING MEDICATION BASED ON INFORMATION YOU READ AT THIS WEBSITE. If you have a question about a drug, or if you think you are experiencing a drug's side effect, consult with your doctor.