Doctors, Pharmacists and Medications – Oh My…

I started my business with medical transcription, and prided myself in the deep knowledge and love of the pharmacy – medications.  I didn’t have it in me to attend school for medicine, but I love research and education regardless.  I have since moved on to love my non-medical clients and workload even more because I found it broadens my chances of learning even more on many more topics.

But I digress.

Recently a very close friend of mine and I were talking about the medications he was on.  All for heart condition and diabetes more or less – cholesterol, triglycerides etc.  We were also talking about how his blood values were not changing after all the lifestyle changes he had done over the years and he was tired etc.  Being a typical male, he just went through day by day not thinking about why, instead just being frustrated and aggravated.

Then one day on the news he saw a broadcast about one of his medications.  It stated simply – ‘Zetia should be taken at night’.  That got him thinking, hence our talk.   When we did research together into his medications we found some other very important items that he should consider – one – that his Welchol should not be taken with any other medication at all.  Now mind you – he had been taking all his medications as directed as far as dosing, but all together at one time.  Why?  Because the doctors never told him any different.

And each time he went to the doctor for blood work, and to complain about tired, achy bones et cetera, never once did they mention any of this.

I have to ask – how many people read those inserts that come with their medicine?  I know all I read is the reactions/interactions portion.  I trust my doctor to tell me, and in fact mine does, but apparently, some just figure we read the inserts on when to take and even food interactions.  For example, did you know grapefruit should not be eaten or drank by those on many heart medications?

Now my friend has gone to the pharmacy and spoke with the pharmacist who was able to work with him to get a schedule that fits his lifestyle to better manage his medications.  Will this make a difference in his blood work values?  Who knows.  But as it is, the medications he was taken all at one time needed to be split up so that he was taking his meds as prescribed, but at different times per day.

Already he is feeling empowered by the knowledge that something has changed and there is a chance things will change in his blood work as well.

I am just wondering, with all the talk about health care reform – if better management and instruction to the patients that already have insurance is going to be included?  Because that alone can save money and lives.

As for my friend – I will update when the results of his next tests come back.  It should be interesting…

Update:  After several months on the new schedule taking his medications as prescribed, but with the additional knowledge of interactions, et cetera, the blood values have improved and so has his feeling of tiredness and achiness.  The most interesting thing I have noticed is that upon speaking to his doctors about his medications, they are each only concerned with what THEY have prescribed and not how they may interact with meds prescribed by other specialists and the schedule for taking the individual doses prescribed.  This has to change – for him and for everyone.  It not only saves money, but saves a lifestyle and lives of so many people when the doctors take the time to work together for the good of the patient.

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