Big Pharma Vs Patient needs

We’ve seen this over and over again, patients being prescribed medications because the doctors are being encouraged by the pharmaceutical companies to prescribe.  Right now it’s some of our most vulnerable who are being prescribed medications that may or may not be safe for them.  PBA (pseudobulbar affect) is a real condition, but is rare and usually affects those with MS or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) but a surprisingly large number of dementia patients in nursing care facilities are being prescribed this medication often without the knowledge of their medical power of attorney.

It is being used as a behavior modification medication.  There hasn’t been sufficient studies to determine if this medication is; a) safe for use in dementia patients, b) actually works across the board as an effective treatment for behavioral outbursts or c) drug interactions with other medications typically prescribed for dementia.

This article goes into quite a bit of detail about the disturbing practices of the drug’s manufacturer, prescribing physicians receiving kickbacks for prescribing it and the fact that a medication designed to treat a rare condition specifically related to completely different diseases there are a large number of patients (especially in nursing facilities) being dosed with it.  Read here.

Should I have some wine with my Xanax?

We should all be aware of medication side effects and interactions.  It’s important to know what we should or should not take with our prescribed medications or even many over the counter medications.  Some medications have shown to have lower efficacy or dangerous side effects when mixed with certain foods or beverages.  The one beverage that has the most potential to create dangerous situations with many medications is alcohol.

This list from Simplemost is a good quick reference for many interactions.  I would go a step further and recommend speaking with your pharmacist about specific counter-indications for the medications you are currently taking.  Don’t forget to mention any over the counter medications and/or supplements you may be taking as well when speaking with your pharmacist.

Dangerous drug interactions …

I’ve spoken before about the dangers of drug interactions, there are medications that do not work well together – an these can send you to the hospital (or worse).

I am not a doctor nor a pharmacist, so I will not try to tell you which meds interact badly with others.  I will tell you this one important thing:

Whenever speaking to your doctor and pharmacist about a new medication

ALWAYS tell them about everything you’re taking.  

Prescriptions by other doctors – TELL THEM

Over the counter supplements or pain meds – TELL THEM

Herbal supplements or teas – TELL THEM

Other medical conditions – TELL THEM

While in your doctor’s office speaking of a new medicine talk to him/her about all I’ve stated above AND when picking up a new prescription from the pharmacy speak with the pharmacist telling them about all I stated above.

It may seem redundant to have the same conversation with both your doctor and pharmacist but it isn’t.  Your doctor has an 8-year degree in the practice of medicine, which includes knowledge of drugs and drug reactions.  Your pharmacist also has an 8-year degree – but his specified in the study of chemistry, drugs and drug reactions.

Follow this link to a news story on the increase of hospitalizations due to drug interactions.

ER visits due to drug interactions on the rise

PS: The featured image is of my favorite pharmacist … my grandpa, who graduated as a pharmacist in 1941!

Big Pharma Vs Patient needs

We’ve seen this over and over again, patients being prescribed medications because the doctors are being encouraged by the pharmaceutical companies to prescribe.  Right now it’s some of our most vulnerable who are being prescribed medications that may or may not be safe for them.  PBA (pseudobulbar affect) is a real condition, but is rare and usually affects those with MS or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) but a surprisingly large number of dementia patients in nursing care facilities are being prescribed this medication often without the knowledge of their medical power of attorney.

It is being used as a behavior modification medication.  There hasn’t been sufficient studies to determine if this medication is; a) safe for use in dementia patients, b) actually works across the board as an effective treatment for behavioral outbursts or c) drug interactions with other medications typically prescribed for dementia.

This article goes into quite a bit of detail about the disturbing practices of the drug’s manufacturer, prescribing physicians receiving kickbacks for prescribing it and the fact that a medication designed to treat a rare condition specifically related to completely different diseases there are a large number of patients (especially in nursing facilities) being dosed with it.  Read here.

Big Pharma Vs Patient needs

We’ve seen this over and over again, patients being prescribed medications because the doctors are being encouraged by the pharmaceutical companies to prescribe.  Right now it’s some of our most vulnerable who are being prescribed medications that may or may not be safe for them.  PBA (pseudobulbar affect) is a real condition, but is rare and usually affects those with MS or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) but a surprisingly large number of dementia patients in nursing care facilities are being prescribed this medication often without the knowledge of their medical power of attorney.

It is being used as a behavior modification medication.  There hasn’t been sufficient studies to determine if this medication is; a) safe for use in dementia patients, b) actually works across the board as an effective treatment for behavioral outbursts or c) drug interactions with other medications typically prescribed for dementia.

This article goes into quite a bit of detail about the disturbing practices of the drug’s manufacturer, prescribing physicians receiving kickbacks for prescribing it and the fact that a medication designed to treat a rare condition specifically related to completely different diseases there are a large number of patients (especially in nursing facilities) being dosed with it.  Read here.

Dangerous drug interactions …

I’ve spoken before about the dangers of drug interactions, there are medications that do not work well together – an these can send you to the hospital (or worse).

I am not a doctor nor a pharmacist, so I will not try to tell you which meds interact badly with others.  I will tell you this one important thing:

Whenever speaking to your doctor and pharmacist about a new medication

ALWAYS tell them about everything you’re taking.  

Prescriptions by other doctors – TELL THEM

Over the counter supplements or pain meds – TELL THEM

Herbal supplements or teas – TELL THEM

Other medical conditions – TELL THEM

While in your doctor’s office speaking of a new medicine talk to him/her about all I’ve stated above AND when picking up a new prescription from the pharmacy speak with the pharmacist telling them about all I stated above.

It may seem redundant to have the same conversation with both your doctor and pharmacist but it isn’t.  Your doctor has an 8-year degree in the practice of medicine, which includes knowledge of drugs and drug reactions.  Your pharmacist also has an 8-year degree – but his specified in the study of chemistry, drugs and drug reactions.

Follow this link to a news story on the increase of hospitalizations due to drug interactions.

ER visits due to drug interactions on the rise

PS: The featured image is of my favorite pharmacist … my grandpa, who graduated as a pharmacist in 1941!

Supplement Danger

There are literally thousands of dietary supplements on the market today.  These over the counter aids boast to be remedies for low energy, obesity, hair loss, virility and any other health complaint you may have.  Whether they are plant based aids or one of dozens of vitamin and mineral supplements they are out there.

I’m not saying that they’re bad, or that they don’t do what they claim. (Although with some I am highly skeptical, but as I’m not a pharmacist or doctor I shall keep my opinions to myself.)

What I am saying is that they need to be taken properly, just like any other medication that you get prescribed by a doctor.  Right time, right dose, right method.

You should work with your doctor to determine which supplements will help you and which supplements will cause bad reactions in conjunction with your prescription medications.

A simple blood test at your doctor’s office will help reveal any vitamin or mineral deficiencies you may have.  Then your doctor will be able to tell you what you need to take and at what levels.  A far better method and approach to supplements than taking a bunch of stuff that you don’t really need.  (Not to mention that it may save you a lot of money in the long run.)

The misuse and uninformed taking of supplements has become such a concern that it has caused the CDC to look into supplement based ER visits.

CDC Studies Supplement Based ER Visits