Medical drugs have been central to the improvements in health that have been seen since the middle of the 20th century and new, better drugs continue to be developed. However in the UK during 2007 1,031 people died as a result of prescribed medication according to the Department of Health. This is a rise of 130% compared with the 441 deaths due to the same cause in 1997.
A more immediate effect of drugs is the adverse effect that some have on nutritional state by affecting the appetite, reducing absorption, increased losses or alteration in the metabolism of the nutrient:
The risk of drug-induced nutritional deficiency increases with:
In practice those who are well nourished and are not frail are unlikely to develop serios deficiency as a result of drug treatment alone.
Pharmacology, Nutrition, and the Elderly: Interactions and Implications. Couris RR, Gura KM, Blumberg J. in Geriatric Nutrition: The Health Professional’s Handbook. 3rd Edition. Ed Chernoff R. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc. 2006.