Over Dose: The Case Against the Drug Companies: Prescription Drugs, Side Effects|
by Jay S. Cohen (Author)
From Publishers Weekly
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.
From Library Journal
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
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins, (September 21, 2004)