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Study finds doctors prescribe pricey drugs

Doctors often prescribe newer, more expensive drugs for high blood pressure instead of the ones recommended under medical guidelines, and the practice is costing the nation more than $1 billion a year, researchers say. The researchers did not examine why, exactly, doctors go with the costlier drugs, but they speculated that aggressive drug-company advertising may be one reason.

This isn’t just true for high blood pressure, but for nearly every disease and disorder out there. Doctors will more often than usual prescribe a newer medication largely because they believe it to be more effective with less side effects than older medications. The truth is, most newer medications are proven to be just as effective (not more) as existing medications and their side effect profiles vary widely. In depression, for instance, would you rather have ‘dry mouth’ as a side effect, or the inability to have sex?? The former side effect is common in older antidepressant medications, the latter (more serious one, most would argue) is more common in newer antidepressant medications.

What do doctors often do when confronted with such a quandry? Well, heck, they prescribe another medication on top of the antidepressant to combat the sexual side effects!

Study finds doctors prescribe pricey drugs

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Study finds doctors prescribe pricey drugs. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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