Over the past fifteen years the number of prescriptions has increased threefold - an additional 300 million annually - so it is now not unusual for those in their seventies to be taking half a dozen (or more) different drugs. This might be justified were it driven by a flood of new, effective treatments for the relief of common medical conditions - but that is not the case.
There has been a fundamental shift in the rationale of drug treatment - we no longer only treat symptoms, we aim to control more aspects of physiology than ever before: blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol must all be brought within 'normal' levels in order to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Drugs, however, are not without side effects, and one in four acute admissions to hospitals are now caused by adverse reactions to medication.
Drawing on fifty years' experience in medical practice, James Le Fanu reveals the truth about medicine's metamorphosis from modest beginnings in alleviating pain to the massive global phenomenon it is today, sounds the alarm about the dangers of over-medication, and shows us how the future of medicine can be if we'd just stop taking the pills.
- Publication Date:
- 27 / 02 / 2018
- 153 x 234mm