Author Topic: Prescription medicine, how safe is it?  (Read 1203 times)

Offline MayRae

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Prescription medicine, how safe is it?
« on: January 24, 2008, 12:20:07 am »
With news of the death of 28 year old Heath Ledger (actor in such movies as Brokeback Mountain and A Knight's Tale) from a possible allergic raction to prescription sleeping pills I am wondering how safe the medicine we trust our doctors to give us really is?
 

The pills found in Ledger's apartment were prescribed by a doctor even though there have been reports of many side effects, some of which are extremely severe. The almost endless list includes hallucinations, sleep walking, a worsening of the existing insomniac condition,  headaches, night terrors and depression. One person even gained a ton of weight because the pills made him sleep walk and he was raiding the fridge in his sleep and didn't even remember!!!


Ledger had just split up with his girlfriend (the mother of his 2 year old daughter) and was having trouble sleeping.
It's alledged that one possible explanation is that having taken one pill and had it not work, Ledger then took another and the resulting allergic reaction was both immediate and lethal.

 

I think it is a great shame if this is indeed the case, and that medicine meant to help has just robbed us of yet another promising actor.

But the possible implications of this are huge, how do we know what is actually safe?

Is it really a case of we don't know and should just trust the doctors? Or should we be insisting on better protection and more detailed information about the medicines we take?

Offline oldspice

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Prescription medicine, how safe is it?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2008, 06:47:46 am »
Well, my husband has to take quite a lot of prescription drugs following a heart attack and subsequent heart by-pass some years ago.  Each pack of pills comes with a detailed leaflet about the side effects and possible consequences of  long-term use (he has to take them for life).  So far he has not suffered any side effects but the medical profession has to weigh up the advantages of taking the drugs against the possible side effects.
 

I think that in this country, the profession is more careful about testing drugs and making sure that each individual gets the form of the drug that suits them best. This is probably because of the dreadful Thalidamide episode in the 1960s.

 

I do feel for this young man and his family and hope they get to the bottom of the cause of his death. Manwhile it won't put me off taking prescription drugs because, in reality, you could have an allergic reaction to anything (as I found out, aged 6, with a brazil nut). 
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Offline smurfboy

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Prescription medicine, how safe is it?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2008, 01:49:47 pm »
If you read the list of potential side effects of any medication, it makes  being ill sound like a more appealing prospect than taking it. But this is largely down to the fact that drug companies are very mindful of the fact they could get sued; hence every potential side effect, even those that have a million to one chance of happening, is listed.

What happened to Heath Ledger is a terrible tragedy, and of course it's possible that he had a severe allergic reaction to a certain medicine. Sadly though, my instinct is that if it was only prescription medicine he was taking, he was definitely not taking it as prescribed.

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Offline MayRae

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Prescription medicine, how safe is it?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2008, 10:21:34 pm »
Quote from: oldspice
Manwhile it won't put me off taking prescription drugs because, in reality, you could have an allergic reaction to anything (as I found out, aged 6, with a brazil nut). 

Oh I absolutely agree with you, and I didn't mean to offend anyone.

I just think that as patients we are to asked take a lot on trust, and doctors are often wrong at least in their initial diagnosis.

My best wishes to your husband, who I hope enjoys much better health thanks to his medicine regime. Smile

 

Quote from: smurfboy
Sadly though, my instinct is that if it was only prescription medicine he was taking, he was definitely not taking it as prescribed.

Yes I too think that is a distinct possibility. I wonder at how many actors these days can read script after script, memorizing their lines as they go, but fail to properly read and understand the directions on a prescription pill bottle.

It's a sad and tragic thing when it ends this way. 

Offline oldspice

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Prescription medicine, how safe is it?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2008, 07:11:58 am »

No offence taken MayRae.  And how you are about doctors! They don't know everything and I have a real problem trying to get proper treatment from my GP for a genetic neurological condition that causes me a lot of complications. After a terrible time last year with a thyriod problem - I just gave up going to see him and put up with the problem.


Hubby is fine now thanks, although he could do with shedding a few pounds!

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Offline MayRae

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Prescription medicine, how safe is it?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2008, 09:42:06 pm »
Glad to hear about your hubby. Big%20smile
Not so good about your thyroid problem.

I can understand your frustration with the lack of help from your doctor.

 

My fiance has had an extremely sore and painful eczema-type rash on his hand for over a year now, and after being prescribed at least 6 different antibiotic or steroid creams (that either haven't done anything or have made it even worse), the doctor finally decided this week that perhaps it was time he should see the dermatologist at the hospital.

So now, he has to wait for his refferal to be processed and an appointment to become available. This we've been told, could take another 6 months.  

 

Offline oldspice

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Prescription medicine, how safe is it?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2008, 08:09:29 am »
Take it from me - steriod creams aggrevate eczema. Get him to try Sudocream. You can buy it over the counter, it's in a grey tub and it's usually used for nappy rash so you might find it with the baby toiletries but it can be used by anyone with sore eczema.  It's much better and safer than steriods. Its best to apply it at night and then wear cotton gloves. It's really soothing. As a life-long eczema suffere I know that steriods have never worked for me - this is the only type of cream that soothed the rash enough to make it less itchy. It's thick and sticky and helps to lubricate the skin and heal it.
 

Good luck.
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Offline MayRae

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Prescription medicine, how safe is it?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2008, 10:53:59 pm »

Oh. Thanks oldspice.


I'll tell him what you've said here. In fact I'm sure we have some somewhere, as his little girl is not quite 4 and still gets sore from time to time.


Hee Hee maybe it'll clear up his eczema and GIVE him Nappy Rash!!! LOL

I'll let you know what happens, and thanks very much for your help. Smile