Posts Tagged ‘medication’

Glaxo-Smith-Kline agreed to pay $750 million to settle a case involving defective drugs. As far as I can tell, no definite harm from these drugs was documented.

That’s what I love about our health care system.  The level of safety we expect is extraordinarily high.  FDA rules on drugs demand an extraordinary level of safety expectation.

When people ask me what I think of “natural” treatments for their conditions, I tell them that I feel much safer with an actual medication, because our medications are extraordinarily well-defined and safe.  Reputable American pharmaceutical companies don’t take chances. The risk to them of making a mistake, as GSK did here, are enormous.

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My gerontologist has me taking generic Zocor daily to help control my cholesterol. Having obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I’m very good at taking the drug regularly. I have a seven-day pillbox that helps me remember to take the medicine as directed. But even I’m not perfect.  

A few days before my prescription ran out, I called the pharmacy for a refill. The prescription had become outdated, so the pharmacy had to contact my physician’s office for the refill. No problem. I had contacted the pharmacy several days before my pill bottle would be empty. I had four days to get the medication. 

Everything went perfectly well. The pharmacist contacted the doctor, the doctor refilled the medication, and the pharmacist prepared the prescription. Then I forgot to pick it up. I missed about three days before I realized my error.  

OK, so I missed three days. Fortunately, this isn’t the kind of medication for which missing doses can mean life or death (like HIV drug treatments or immunosuppressive drugs in someone who had an organ transplant). I rarely miss doses, realizing that if I want the drug to work, I probably need to take it.  

If a patient isn’t taking the drug exactly as directed, it isn’t the end of the world. Just be honest with your doctor about it. It’s hard enough to make a treatment plan when the doctor knows what the patient is doing. It’s that much harder when the doctor doesn’t know. 

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