Media runs with dubious study claiming seniors need more drugs

Millions of seniors are at risk every day from one of the biggest killers in America.

After the usual suspects like heart disease and cancer, what’s killing us in droves is the thing that’s supposed to be “curing” us: prescription drugs.

But despite that — and the fact that your risk can be hit out of the ballpark if you’re taking more than one — a Belgium Ph.D. candidate has come out with a “study” finding that older people aren’t taking enough meds.

Yes, you read that right, they’re not popping enough Rx pills. But there’s more.

He said his study found that seniors suffering from “medication underuse” run a big risk of dying or landing in the hospital.

Of course, anyone can say anything they want to. But what makes this so scary is how his dangerous message is making the rounds in news outlets everywhere.

Because in the real world, the number of prescription meds you should aim to be taking begins with a big Z, as in ZERO.

The more the deadlier

Unbelievably, a record 4.3 billion prescriptions were filled in 2014. That translates to close to $400 billion in sales of Big Pharma’s drugs.

But according to Maarten Wauters, who is going for his Ph.D. at Ghent University in Belgium, that’s not enough.

Wauters is working hard to make sure that Big Pharma knows his name, come graduation day. And so far, he’s doing a great job.

The media jumped on his findings and even tried to make them sound credible. In a nutshell, Wauters said that seniors over 80 taking “just a few medications” run a good chance of being at serious “risk.”

And he’s not just talking about people taking one or two drugs, either.

Over half the patients in his study were taking five or more meds to begin with!

But the truth of the matter is that “polypharmacy” (which means taking multiple drugs), can turn deadly fast.

Polypharmacy has been studied up, down and all around, with the consensus being that the minute numerous meds are added to the mix, you’re at serious risk of a dangerous drug interaction. Plus that, your chances of suffering a side effect increase significantly.

Several months ago I told you about a professor from Columbia University who has been trying to get the FDA moving to warn doctors and patients about interactions from some of the most popular drug combos on the market today. That was something he discovered using the FDA’s own data.

Well, I probably don’t have to tell you that went nowhere!

But he’s far from the only expert who’s been talking about the deadly problem of multiple meds.

Dr. Peter Gotzsche, for example, has been trying to sound the alarm bell for years now.

The Danish physician revealed that in a study published two years ago, half of the patients who die as the result of Rx drugs took the meds exactly as their doctors told them to. He warned that we should “take far fewer drugs,” and when we do, to “carefully study the package inserts.”

Well, considering how long those things are, that would cut drug use right there!

And if you’re wondering what some of those “underused” meds are that Belgium student is talking about, they just happen to be ones with some of the most serious and life-threatening side effects there are — two of them being blood thinners and statins.

Look, we all know someone who has a whole bunch of pill bottles lined up in the bathroom. Over the last 12 years there’s been a whopping 70 percent increase in those 65 and over who take five or more meds.

The last thing we need is some researcher trying to make a name for himself by ringing the lunch bell for us to come and get more.

“Over 80? Too few meds might be dangerous” Reuters, July 20, 2016,