The rise in use of prescription sedatives such as Valium have led to claims in the UK that doctors are inappropriately prescribing the meds and causing patients to become addicted, cites a report issued by the nation's All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Misuse.
According to the group's report, in 2009 there were 1.5 million people reportedly showing clinical signs of addiction to a number of tranquilizer type products throughout the UK. Pharmacies filled more than 6.6 million prescriptions for a variety of anxiety relieving medications in 2010, up 15 percent from ten years prior, and Valium prescriptions were up 20 percent during the same ten-year period.
Legal cases filed against physicians for excessive sedative prescriptions that caused patients to become addicted began in 2002, according to an article in the Independent. The plaintiff won his case, stating that a 14-year Valium prescription made him dependent and unable to function without the drug. Now, the lawyer who won the case has received five new referrals just in the last several months.
Because the nature of drugs like Valium can cause tolerances to occur, patients often need dosage increases just to feel normal. Then, if a patient tries to stop taking the medication, more severe reactions than the original cause for taking the meds in the first place can arise both psychologically and physically.
Common side effects from Valium include drowsiness, lack of muscle coordination, muscle weakness, tiredness, allergic reactions including rashes, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling, fainting, fever, chills and hallucinations.
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