Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do you ever wonder...

...if we might only exist to be lab rats for the pharmaceutical companies?

This is a little off topic, but not much.  In the last year I have had several residents who have come in with only two or three prescriptions, who now have over 9.  Not because they have necessarily had anything really wrong, but because the pharmacy consultants give the doctors recommendations and they take them.

For example, Resident A can no longer take care of themselves at home.  They come in with a blood pressure medication and a multi-vitamin.  Then, the pharmacy consultants come in.  Now they need vitamin D once a week.  Oh, and they are at risk for osteoporosis, so lets give them calcium.  Then the blood tests start. So, their triglycerides are high. Let's poke four fish oil pills down them a day.  Now they're getting confused, so let's put them on a memory pill.  Well, now their appetite is not good and they're losing weight.  Of course, we can't stop the memory pill, because they're confused, so lets put them on an appetite stimulant.  A couple months later we do another blood test and now their sugar is high, so we treat that.

And on, and on, and on.

I'm not against folks being as healthy as they can be.  I am against taking medication just because a study shows that it might be good for me.  That includes vitamins.  Further, I'm against taking medication to counteract the side effect of another medication.  I'm pretty sure a memory pill never saved anyone's life.  If the memory pill is ruining your appetite, how about just discontinuing the memory pill?

I have heard that you shouldn't be on more than nine different medications as a general rule.  Nine.  I have resident's who are on over twenty.  Yes, over 20, including all the vitamins.  Someone's benefiting from this.  I'm not sure that it's the resident.


C said...

And contrary to common sense/ legitimate medical concern, most older adults who are given a benzo for sleep or anxiety will stay on it almost forever, even if it's not helpful or if their condition has improved. That always bothers me.

K. Tree said...


At the other end of the spectrum, we'll have a resident who is stable on their current medication regime and the pharmacy consultants will send a note to the doctor stating that such and such medication is due for a federally mandated trial reduction. If I had a dollar for:
A.) every time the doctors didn't even check on the status of the resident before agreeing to the reduction


B.) every time the trial reduction didn't work out to the benefit of the resident

I would be able to open my own nursing center.