How often do you read the information sheet that comes with your prescription medication? Everything you need to know is right there – in fine, detailed print. The literature certainly isn’t inviting, so if you are like me, you skim through it and toss.

The information that accompanied my prescription contained the bolded statement that its use resulted in an increased risk of death from asthma problems. I was somewhat concerned initially, but it wasn’t until I also received a letter from Walgreens ensuring I understood this medication and its side effects that I became truly alarmed.

We see the glamorous commercials on television for prescription medications. And then they end with a list of terrifying side effects. It is a wonder any of us continue taking them. But we have to keep in mind that all side effects must be disclosed no matter if it happened to one person or many. Also, someone like me is already at risk of death from asthma, if it was left untreated.

Finding physicians in which we are confident is a key to being prescribed appropriately. In my case, I think my doctor was correct because the asthma was chronic and disabling but now is gradually improving. I ignored symptoms for too long, which led to a condition that required a medication such as I am on.

People have sought relief from an array of symptoms and diseases through herbs and other natural products throughout history. Pharmaceuticals are often an extension of that and a necessary part of the healing process. However, natural or manufactured, we do need to understand and assess these products before taking them. Our lives depend upon it.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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