The Red Flags of Overprescription: Signs Your Doctor Might Be Overprescribing

February 8, 2024

In most Western nations, taking prescription medications has been steadily increasing for decades. Especially in the USA where pharmaceuticals can be legally advertised to all consumers, recognizing and tackling the issue of overprescription is vital. The average American over age 50 now takes four prescription medications! Taking excessive medication is a health risk in itself, and it also avoids definitively addressing a person’s symptoms.

Understanding Overprescribing

Overprescribing refers to the practice of prescribing more medication than is clinically necessary, often leading to adverse health effects. This phenomenon has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, with patients receiving multiple prescriptions for various conditions. Unfortunately, this can result in unnecessary or even harmful medication use.

While medications are essential for treating numerous health conditions, their overuse can lead to a range of issues, including drug interactions, side effects, and increased healthcare costs. Patients and healthcare providers alike must be aware of the signs of overprescribing and take steps to address it.

Impact of Overprescribing on Public Health

Overprescribing has significant public health implications. It contributes to increased healthcare costs due to unnecessary treatments and management of avoidable side effects. It promotes the false belief that taking a pill solves most problems. And it plays a big role in causing antibiotic resistance – a worldwide health concern – by promoting inappropriate antibiotic use.

Overprescribing Is Universal

It is virtually impossible to see a provider in the “medical-industrial-complex” system who does not overprescribe. The pressure to simply “write a ‘script” instead of engaging in detailed talking to a patient is too overwhelming. Doctors must see a certain number of patients per day, or they cannot keep their jobs. It is simply too time-consuming in the old model to give each person the correct amount of time to avoid over-prescribing. Consider if your doctor tends to write a prescription rather than inquiring and explaining non-pharmacological treatment options.

Influence of Litigation on Prescription Patterns

In our litigious society, doctors have defined prescribing as a legally less risky option for themselves than not writing a prescription. This is a terrible reason for you to take prescription medications! You should use prescription medications when medically necessary, and certainly not to save the doctor time or reduce his/her fear of a lawsuit!

Influence of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives on Prescription Patterns

Pharmaceutical sales representatives’ salaries are tied to the number of prescriptions their doctors write. Certainly, these visits can keep doctors updated on research developments, but please read the first sentence again. Of course, these visits cause increased prescriptions to be written.

Identifying If You Are Taking Too Many Medications

Your GoldCare doctor will carefully consider each prescription medication you are taking. Is the prescription necessary for a current problem? Is there a non-pharmaceutical option? Is there a natural option? Do you need more information? Consider that the most common prescription medications are for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Not only do prescription medications not cure either, but the research is decidedly mixed if either is indicated. GoldCare doctors want to increase your wellness, not manage your sickness, and this requires time and information.

The Downside to Taking Too Many Medications

Taking too many medications can lead to health problems, such as drug interactions, challenges in adhering to therapeutic regimens, and impact on quality of life. It is also expensive and leads to a widespread false belief that the medication is the cure or is necessary for a good quality of life. Additionally, the use of multiple medications can increase the risk of adverse effects, hospitalizations, and premature loss of independence. It is essential to discuss any concerns with your doctor or pharmacist and seek guidance on the appropriate and safe use of medications.

Deprescribing Networks: A New Approach to Reduce Overprescription

Deprescribing networks have emerged as an innovative approach to tackle overprescription. These networks aim to spread awareness about deprescribing – discontinuing unnecessary medications – among healthcare professionals and patients alike. They provide resources for safe deprescribing practices and advocate for policy changes supporting this approach.

Taking Control of Your Drug Cabinet

The responsibility of addressing overprescription lies both with healthcare providers and patients. Regular medication reviews, open communication about treatment options and potential side effects, as well as increased awareness about the risks associated with unnecessary drug use, are all key steps toward tackling this issue. Having access to naturopathic and functional expert providers is also critical.

By being vigilant about our medication use and advocating for more reasonable prescribing practices within our healthcare system, we can help curb the problem of overprescription – promoting safer patient care and better public health outcomes in the process.

GoldCare's Deprescribing Classes

As a GoldCare member, you have exclusive access to our deprescribing classes, designed to guide you towards better health, not keep you sick and dependent on drugs. These classes are readily available in your member dashboard, where you can watch recorded sessions and sign up for upcoming ones. Embrace this opportunity to learn how to reduce your medication reliance safely. It's a valuable step in GoldCare's commitment to improving your health and fostering medication independence


  1. Dr. Joseph Mercola's "How to Tell if You're Overprescribed Medications". Available at:
  2. "What Are the Signs My Doctor May Be Overprescribing Medications?" from Federal Lawyers. Available at:
  3. An article on overprescription from The Economist. Available at: