Friday, September 4, 2009

Drug contraindications

I take a couple of drugs for cholesterol…lipidil and Lipitor. When I filled a script a couple of days ago the Pharmacist asked me if I knew that that combination of drugs was contraindicated and could cause muscle pain and wastage. I was not aware of that, but the fact that I have had quite severe pains in my calves over about three weeks prompted me to seek an appointment with our GP.

One of the big no-nos with GPs is to front up with a printout from an Internet page which declares that the drug(s) he has prescribed is somehow dangerous. John, our GP, informed me that Pharmacists are wannabe doctors and one shouldn’t worry too much about what they say. He knew the story about contraindication with those two drugs, but informed me that I would have a better chance of winning lotto than having such a problem described. Never-the-less he did send me off to have a blood test to see if indeed there was a problem associated with the drugs.

Well, blow me down, if there wasn’t a news item on TV last night suggesting that studies in Tasmania show that Lipitor can cause muscle pain and wastage. I gave the Path. Centre some blood this morning so that they can tell me if I am OK or not.

Also this morning I visited John, our friend, in his lock-down nursing home. John has dementia and I don’t think he really knew who I was today. We sat out in the sun and I engaged him in conversation by asking questions about his family, his work (he still thinks he is a senior lecturer at a university) and anything else that I could think of. John responded to all my questions and suggestions, but beyond the first few words he wandered off the topic. I found it amazing that part of his brain has lost memory and what he is saying is jumbled and off topic, but his speech is well formed and in orderly sentences. Who knows how that all works?

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