Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Just Don't Ask!

I got a frantic phone call tonight from someone I know who takes a lot of medication. A mind-boggling number of prescriptions. She'd gone online and entered them all in some database that pops up all the potential drug-drug interactions and wanted my opinion.

"So how many different pharmacies do you use?"


One.

Good answer. "OK. The pharmacy should have a database that will give the pharmacist a red flag for drug interactions."

Stuff I didn't understand from the database.


"You know I only give about 3 different kinds of medications in the NICU, don't you? I really don't know about all those grown-up drugs."

More stuff from the database I don't understand.

"No. Really. Most of this stuff came out a long time after I graduated from nursing school."and it was after 1 am by then and I REALLY didn't want to look it up.

Long QT interval

"What makes you think you have long QT interval? Didn't you have an EKG recently?"

Oh, that's right!


"Well, if you're worried, you could take that mind-boggling list of scrips to the doctor to see if you really need all of them."
Repeating myself for the umpteenth time

Well, maybe THESE two.

So then I had to look up Long QT interval. And email it to the individual, because as it turns out there are medications which can trigger it - but there was that normal EKG recently. And the fact that none of the current symptoms are on the list of LONG QT Interval symptoms. Only question. Was the EKG before or after the last meds were added to the list.

This is why I generally tell people "If you weigh more than 10 pounds and you're not pregnant, I can't help you."

To which most of my family responds, "Don't ask Judy. She'll only tell you to call the doctor."

That really isn't true, though. Sometimes I tell people to ask the pharmacist.

3 comments:

geena said...

Friends always ask me about medical things (what's that rash, etc) and I usually have no idea what it is that's wrong with them... I work with critically ill people.. so I just tell my friends to give me a call when they have a heart attack or go into septic shock :)

Judy said...

Geena,
That made me laugh. I have had friends babies (and more recently grandchildren) in my NICU. I don't mind giving breastfeeding and general parenting baby advice, but I nearly always ask what the pediatrician has recommended before I offer other opinions.

Only once have I had to suggest that a family get a second opinion from a second pediatrician. I hope they misunderstood what they were told, but I don't think so.

Anne said...

LOL, my mom is a pharmacist but she works in a VA hospital. Lots of help with heart conditions, diabetes, etc. Not as much with the kids' issues but she does have some good books.