Nearly two out of three Americans don’t follow their doctor’s orders properly when taking prescription drugs, neglecting to take their medications or seeking out pills that weren’t intended for them, according to new research to be released later this week.
The findings point to the nation’s growing problem with prescription-drug abuse, according to Quest Diagnostics, which analyzed nearly 76,000 urine samples submitted last year from doctors’ offices and Quest’s patient-service centers. Results were matched with physicians’ records of the drugs prescribed for each patient. Subjects remained anonymous and results from patients of drug-rehabilitation clinics weren’t included.
The results indicated 63% of people on prescription drugs strayed from their doctor’s orders, Quest says, and many of the drugs found were painkillers, sedatives or amphetamines that weren’t prescribed for the sampled patient. Researchers tested for 26 commonly prescribed and abused medications and for illegal drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine. Samples were taken from 46 states and the District of Columbia.
“People have such tremendous access to very powerful prescription drugs,” Jon R. Cohen, Quest’s chief medical officer, tells the Health Blog.
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