One more thing about pharmaceuticals

You can skip to the end if you want, because that contains the summary of my far-too-many-words. However, I have learned a lot and wanted to share

Every time my Primary Torturer hands me a prescription–which is usually her answer for all that ails me–or she recommends I see a real torturer disguised as a physical therapist—I ask her about what she’s giving me, and I remind her that I’m going to go home and Google it, which I do. Many prescriptions I don’t fill, which she knows.

So…why didn’t I Google the hand full of prescriptions given to me by my pill pusher?

Dr. Saved-My-Life, aka the pill pusher, is a little sketch to me now. Why did I blindly follow his instructions?

Because I was D E S P E R A T E.

He was the one with the degree. He was the fourth pill pusher in my lifetime that I interviewed. He seemed to know what he was talking about, and definitely took the time to listen to me.

I only had two choices. I chose to do whatever it took to manage my depression and anxiety. I have been the most compliant patient, other than following homework assigned by my therapist.

Three of the medications I take have been a staple of my diet for years. Life continued to be a struggle to maintain some sort of sanity. There had to be something better than what my Primary Torturer was giving me, whose expertise was not in the field of psychiatry.

One of the add-on pills from my new pill pusher was a mood stabilizer. However, I continued to have anxiety which interfered with my daily life. I also continued to struggle with depression, which was also interfering with my life.

My pill pusher added another old standard medication which worked wonders for my anxiety. It’s a drug older than the new medications forced upon us, creating little guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical companies to cash in. The older medications have little value, but are just as effective. In my case, the older medication was the answer to the snowball of anxiety I had created.

The benzodiazepine, Xanax, has been my friend under all stressful situations. I never took it when my kids were little, and I can’t take it if I plan to drive, or handle heavy machinery–like the car. 🙂 I began using Xanax to check out, so to speak. Life isn’t always easy, but I had a pill for that. I also recognized that it wasn’t normal.

Anxiety has plagued me most of my life, maybe all of it. I’ve done things to escape it, that I won’t even share on here. (see, I can keep a bit to myself)

😀

All is good, I didn’t want to tweak anything because I could slowly feel myself come to life. I want off Xanax–which has continued to be prescribed for my dances with panic and to aid with sleep. In my opinion, Xanax is bad <echo> <echo> <echo>. (My apologies to the grammar-spelling-punctuation-police-persons for using the less than and greater than characters for emphasis–it’s most likely incorrect, but it’s all I had).

I’m tapering off Xanax, but it is an extremely slow process because the withdrawal can be rather horrid–so I’ve read. To replace the Xanax and help me sleep, my pill pusher prescribed yet another pill–one that has been around for a long time. He started me on a low dose, but I started myself on an even lower dose to see if I really needed the larger dose.

I didn’t Google the medication.

Since being on this latest medication I have had many mishaps far and above what are normal for me. My husband recognized that I was a little more lost than usual and tried to encourage me to go back to the doctor or quit taking the last medication prescribed, but I refused because I wanted to return to life. Sleep is pretty important to how the brain functions—but I think we all know that. This medication gave me the much needed sleep, but it also robbed me of any lucidness.

My brain stuffing was nothing but mush, but I was finally looking forward and was beginning to see something, even if it was full of confusion and gaffes. At least I was beginning to feel less anxious and depressed. I believed I could deal with side effects if I had to. The other choice I had, is not one I want to face again. Ever.

I Googled the medication.

I knew to stay away from grapefruits, or grapefruit juice, but I was very shocked that the new medication had major drug interactions with three of the other medications I was taking.

I did something against all my common sense, and what I preach about. We must be our own advocate. We must know what is being given to us and why. We must know of ALL the side effects and drug interactions. I know that there is information that I should have read which is attached to every prescription filled, but when was the last time you read the enclosed literature?

I tapered off the medication with the help of Dr. Sketch, and I am slowly feeling a bit more cognizant. I have been off the medication for three days now.

Wow.

The internet can be full of misinformation, but it can be your friend if using reputable sites. I never read the forums, just the facts.

Be informed.

Advocate for yourself.

Oh, and read that literature that comes with your medications.

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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27 Responses to One more thing about pharmaceuticals

  1. aviets says:

    Oh my gosh, you had a narrow escape. I just wonder why your doc didn’t know ahead of time about that negative interaction. Good for you for getting to the bottom of the problem. And I hope you’re not too hard on yourself for not catching it sooner. Holy cow, it’s a MAJOR feat to keep track of all that stuff.

    • April says:

      Apparently, too much of a good thing is bad. I’m glad I didn’t take the full dose. I’ll be bugging him to reduce some of my other medications in hopes that I have what it takes to fight off the anxiety, and hopefully stave off depression. He never discussed Serotonin Syndrome—which it appears (according to Dr. Google) that is where I was headed.

  2. meANXIETYme says:

    I’m so glad you’re okay and that you were able to be your own advocate. A lot of people get medicated and are too far gone to push for the correct diagnosis or medication.

    • April says:

      I think the physical feelings I was experiencing made me question. It was going beyond that break-in period–or the adjusting to. In the last month, I have missed two therapy appointments, which I find hilarious because she is helping me through cognitive behavior therapy. There is an entire list of things I’ve done which are extremely uncharacteristic of me and was being brought to my attention quite well. I suppose I can’t take all the credit, I did have a partner prodding me to DO something. In essence, if you can’t advocate for yourself, make sure you have a backup.

      • meANXIETYme says:

        You’re very lucky to have someone so keyed into you that he could be a backup. I have that, too, but not everyone does. But again, YOU spoke up, and that’s awesome.

        • April says:

          You know what really scared me? The right side of my face was feeling funny and my right eye was twitching really bad. Not to mention how stupid I was. I looked at the National Institute of Health and the Mayo Clinic’s website, and that is where I found all the drugs that had major interactions with the Trazodone the doctor added. I’m curious why he did, and I will be sure to ask him. The funny thing, benzos can counteract the effect of too much serotonin–that stinkin’ Xanax was probably helping and I didn’t know it.

          • meANXIETYme says:

            That would have scared the crap out of me, too. (Also, weirdly, my eye has been twitching for like two weeks now. I keep ignoring it, but it won’t go away. I am not taking anything so I know it isn’t medication induced. I wonder if it’s stress induced? Oh well…)
            A friend of mine had that serotonin overload thing…she had to change meds because of it. Freaked her out, too.

  3. I’m glad you did your research. Also glad you were cautious about the new med and able to recognize and not ignore that there was a problem. I hope you find the right combination.

  4. mewhoami says:

    Your doctor should have known that the drug interacted with the others that you were taking. You are right about educating ourselves though. Having been on a steady dose of some rather strong medications myself for the past few months, the internet has become a good friend of mine. Knowing the side effects and the interactions of medications is very important. One side effect of mine nearly had grave consequences about a month ago…something my doctor should have known about too, but didn’t. So it’s very very important to educate ourselves.

  5. Dave says:

    Wow. I thought that Doctors were supposed to think about the medications you are already taking when prescribing new ones.

    I guess I am fortunate, I screen most prescriptions through my mom, who is an RN. If she doesn’t know about it, I try to do a little research myself.

    I hope getting off of that one helps you to feel better and get out of the fog.

    • April says:

      Yes, I thought that too. He has suggested some others that I said no to because I already know what the side effects are. I’m already feeling better. On another note…my daughter has been attending a college in Montana for an accelerated nursing course. She informed me the other day that she was officially half a nurse. 🙂

  6. We do have to be our strongest advocates. Thank goodness you caught it and are doing better.

  7. I have an associate who struggled to get off her depression meds. You’re so brave for deciding to take matters in your own hands.

    • April says:

      I may have to take certain ones, or even change, but I will never let the doctor prescribe without questioning again. At least I hope not.

  8. Glynis Jolly says:

    I’m so glad that you got yourself off that medication. I’m surprised that your pharmacist doesn’t put a information sheet in the bag with your medication. I get my prescriptions filled at the grocery store. The pharmacist puts that sheet in every time. I don’t need the sheets the umpteen time but I don’t say anything because I’m just glad she does it.

  9. suzjones says:

    Wow. I’m so pleased you found out in time. I remember querying the psych about a medication he prescribed the GG and he treated me like I was an idiot, told me to go home and research it further and then get back to him if I still had questions. That sort of behaviour sort of stops people from questioning their doctors I think. At least you can talk with yours I guess.
    Hope you can get it all sorted and get some strategies in place for dealing with your anxiety and depression.

    • April says:

      I’m actually doing well, now that I’m off that one drug. It took about 3 days, but I almost feel like the old/new me. Or would it be the new old me? 😀

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