Cover image for Over dose : the case against the drug companies : prescription drugs, side effects, and your health
Over dose : the case against the drug companies : prescription drugs, side effects, and your health
Cohen, Jay S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Jeremy P Tarcher/Putnam, [2001]

Physical Description:
xiv, 318 pages ; 24 cm
The race to the bottom -- How drug-company policies harm people -- How drug-company policies cause problems for 50 to 75 percent of patients taking Prozac -- When new drugs are approved, the experiment is just beginning, and you may be part of it : Viagra -- How drug-company policies harm women -- Why 50 to 75 percent of people quit taking their cholesterol-lowering medications -- Why 50-75 percent of people quit taking their medications for high blood pressure -- Why seniors are at the greatest risk -- How the drug companies slant drug research, limit information to doctors and consumers, and secure high profits -- What the drug companies must do to reverse the side-effect epidemic-- but will they? -- What's wrong with the FDA? And what can be done about it? -- What the FDA shouldn't do : why we need an independent medication safety monitoring system -- Doctors, drugs, and patients -- How to avoid side effects and use medications safely.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RM302.5 .C64 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
RM302.5 .C64 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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A leading medical researcher shows how Americans are routinely overmedicated--resulting in millions of avoidable side effects--and tells consumers how they can protect their health and the health of their loved ones from the potential dangers of taking too many drugs.

Author Notes

Jay S. Cohen, M.D. is an associate professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Only about 1 in 20 drug side effects are reported, Cohen says, and drug companies, the FDA, and most physicians pay little attention to them. When a new drug is approved, its manufacturer usually suggests a high dosage to obtain desired results quickly and maximize the company's profits. Drug package inserts, which give scientific and regulatory information, generally don't discuss lower doses, which often bring the same results without risking as many side effects, and The Physician's Desk Reference, often seen as a reliable information source, is a drug-industry product that pretty much reprints the inserts. Cohen's aim isn't to encourage avoiding popular drugs but to draw attention to effective lower doses and avoid side effects. Arguing that drug companies control much of the medical literature and slant research reports and accounts of side effects, he makes a convincing case for establishing a neutral drug safety board to prevent harmful situations fostered by industry disingenuousness. A thorough, solidly based book that deserves to be widely read by medical professionals and the lay public. --William Beatty

Publisher's Weekly Review

Replete with information supported by recognized and reliable sources, this expos?-cum-health guide should be read by anyone taking prescription medication. Cohen, an associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego, focuses on the practice of "standard dosing," i.e., the same number of milligrams prescribed for all patients; his articles about dosage have appeared in the New York Times and Newsweek. Asserting that different ages and conditions can affect how a drug is metabolized, and thus its effectiveness, Cohen advises to "Start Low, Go Slow." Lower doses often prove just as effective, and higher doses in the wrong person can be deadly. The chapters proceed logically, divided by families of drugs and, later, by FDA regulations, kickbacks to doctors from pharmaceutical companies, ghostwritten articles commissioned by pharmaceutical companies and attributed to independent doctors in trusted medical journals. Most importantly, Cohen discusses at length deadly and other irreversible side effects of new drugs, suggesting that warnings on drug packages are incomplete. He describes the pharmaceutical companies' practice of luring doctors to exotic weekend-long retreats for a two-hour symposium about a new product. Finally, Cohen gives insight into the doctor's Bible: The Physician's Desk Reference. Clear, easy narrative and anecdotal evidence makes this an accessible, albeit disturbing, read. This medical-biz gadfly delivers an invaluable resource for doctors and patients alike. (Oct. 15) Forecast: Given its nearly limitless potential audience, and with a national author tour kicked off by an appearance on the radio talk show People's Pharmacy, prominent display in stores could make sales take off. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Medications don't cause side effects their dosages do. That is the message sent by Cohen, a psychiatrist and professor of family medicine, in this repetitive but necessary expos of drug companies' marketing practices, physicians' prescribing behavior, and the inadequacy of dosing information in the Physicians' Desk Reference. Cohen argues that most adverse effects could be eliminated if doctors tailored a drug's dosage to an individual, but because manufacturers want to obtain approval for new drugs as quickly as possible, they do not perform adequate testing to determine the lowest effective amount. This can cause doctors to use a "one size fits all" mentality and prescribe like dosages for all patients. Cohen presents a plethora of practical information, including lower effective dosage recommendations for 53 top-selling drugs and a questionnaire for patients to determine how sensitive they are to medication. Numerous case studies, quotations from prominent researchers, and references support his premise that doctors should usually "start slow, go slow," and always individualize the dosage for each patient. Highly recommended for public and medical libraries. Natalie Kupferberg, Biological Sciences/ Pharmacy Lib., Ohio State Univ., Columbus (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Race to the Bottomp. 1
Chapter 2 How Drug-Company Policies Harm Peoplep. 20
Chapter 3 How Drug-Company Policies Cause Problems for 50 to 75 Percent of Patients Taking Prozacp. 36
Chapter 4 When New Drugs Are Approved, the Experiment is Just Beginning, and You May Be Part of It: Viagrap. 50
Chapter 5 How Drug-Company Policies Harm Womenp. 66
Chapter 6 Why 50 to 75 Percent of People Quit Taking Their Cholesterol-Lowering Medicationsp. 89
Chapter 7 Why 50 to 75 Percent of People Quit Taking Their Medications for High Blood Pressurep. 108
Chapter 8 Why Seniors Are at the Greatest Riskp. 117
Chapter 9 How the Drug Companies Slant Drug Research, Limit Information to Doctors and Consumers, and Secure High Profitsp. 129
Chapter 10 What the Drug Companies Must Do to Reverse the Side-Effect Epidemic--But Will They?p. 166
Chapter 11 What's Wrong with the FDA? And What Can Be Done About It?p. 176
Chapter 12 What the FDA Shouldn't Do: Why We Need an Independent Medication Safety Monitoring Systemp. 198
Chapter 13 Doctors, Drugs, and Patientsp. 212
Chapter 14 How to Avoid Side Effects and Use Medications Safelyp. 228
Referencesp. 255
Indexp. 309
About the Authorp. 319