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Phrases like ""Let's face it,"" ""Drag out the heavy artillery,"" ""Can you dig it?"" plus assorted vulgarisms for parts of the body run rampant through this windy text, devaluing much of the sensible advice proffered. It's no news that we are an overmedicated society, prey to remorseless ads and promises of easy cures at high expense. Graedon advocates knowing exactly what the doctor has ordered and understanding when and how a drug should be used (always take aspirin with a full glass of water), the contraindications, what happens when you take more than one drug, and how to pay as little as possible for a prescription. He deals with over-the-counter as well as proprietary drugs and rates their efficacy, drawing heavily on such sources as Consumer Reports' The Medicine Show. His favorite all-purpose drugs are aspirin and codeine, and he loves vitamin C. Rather uncritically--considering his harsh caveats about most medications--he suggests you try honey on your cuts, a teaspoon of sugar for your hiccups, vitamin B to repel mosquitos, and vitamin C for almost anything. His chapters on the dangers of contraceptives, the side effects of heart and high-blood-pressure medication, and the treatment of asthma and allergy are reasonable and up-to-date. There are sound tables of drug interactions, lists of brand and generic names, and sections on how to stock a medicine closet or traveling bag. If you can stomach the prose and weed out the bias and hyperbole, it's not a bad book.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1976
Publisher: St. Martin's