Taking a New Medication? Beware!

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Most of us trust our doctors enough to not question a new prescription, but new prescriptions can wreak havoc with our health. Be careful and read all the possible side effects. It could save you from a lot of pain.

My childhood friend has lived with me for a number of years. She suffers from quite a few health problems including depression. But honestly, the medications she has been given have caused more problems than I ever thought possible.

The latest new prescription Linda was given was a muscle relaxer. The doctor assured her that it was the safest drug on the market. She’d learned to ask lots of questions before taking a new drug. After just a few days of taking the new medication at a lower dose than recommended, she fell — three times! Now she is recovering from a leg fracture and surgery to correct a tear in the torn ligaments in her ankle.

Every single one of us is unique and so is our tolerances to medications. When we take more than one prescription, the chances multiply for possible side effects. What affects one person may have no effect on another.

All of us who care for a loved one have to be very diligent in researching new prescriptions and being very observant to how our loved ones react to new drugs. I did see a problem with Linda’s new drug, but a call to her doctor reassured her even when I could see the negative effects it was causing.

Being a caregiver is not for sissies!

What I know now is I should have insisted she discontinue the drug until I could do more research. I had read most of the literature given with the drug but after the fall I dug deeper. I was astounded to learn that this drug had lots more side effects than I had previously read about.

You can never be too careful!

My mother’s doctor recently gave me some good advice — never let your mother go to the doctor alone. Now my mother either goes with my father or me, but daddy is hard of hearing and not nearly as likely to ask questions. I now know that I need to go and be the big mouth that asks a lot of questions. Luckily my parent’s health provider offers e-mail access to their doctors. I don’t hesitate to e-mail their doctors with questions and concerns.

While I’m just a social gerontologist with no medical degree, I still know to do my best to be an advocate for my parents and for Linda. Hopefully in the future, I’ll be a better advocate. This was a costly lesson!

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