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Posts tagged ‘medication’

Getting the best from your GP – Part 2

Medication and more

6 Know your meds

Understand what medication you have been prescribed. Know their names and how they work. Also be aware of both the generic (scientific) and proprietary (Pharmaceutical or trade) names.

There are lots of online resources. I find this one the bestYou can also try this NHS site which gives more of an overall view. 

By understanding what your medication does, you are also able to be alert to side effects. But beware – these can sound very scary. Also, not everyone suffers from these side effects and you certainly won’t get all of them. If you are someone who is aware that you may be easily influenced, give the information leaflet to a close friend or family member who can check side effects for you if you are worried.

7 Always report drug side effects

If you are having side effects from your medication, note them down. Use your notes when you go back to see your GP. If you feel you are getting more side effects than benefits from a medication – don’t be afraid to ask if you can try something different.  

The same medication can work differently on different people. Just because someone you know had side effects from a medication doesn’t mean you will too. 

8 Don’t be afraid to say no!

If you really cannot cope with the side effects from a medication, it is your right to say if you no longer want to take that medication. You should always discuss this with your GP first. But ultimately, it’s your body and your choice.

One of the most common drugs prescribed in the UK are statins. They are very cheap, and are given to patients who have raised cholesterol. One million people were prescribed statins in 2011

But thousands of people also suffer side effects from statins. The most common of these side effects are muscle pain and cramps. There is also a risk that statins can increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Statins are often prescribed to reduce a risk of heart attacks caused by high cholesterol. Opinion on statins is divided, even between doctors themselves. 

My own, non-statistical, view talking to friends and family members who have taken statins, is that the side effects some people experience are considerably worse than the risk involved by not taking statins. 

That is my personal choice. If you need to make a decision about statins, or any other medication please discuss your options with your GP first. 

9 Check about supplements 

Many of us now take vitamin and other supplements to improve our health. But did you know they can interact with prescribed medication?

Check out what you are taking or considering buying with your GP. The same advice applies if you are seeing a hospital consultant. Please also tell the doctors or nurses if you are going to have investigations or surgery. 

10 Not all GPs or practices are good

Sometimes things go wrong. Try and resolve you concerns with the GP themselves. If your concern is about one of the reception staff, speak to the practice manager. Your complaint may help them deal with an ongoing issue. 

Where I previously lived in West London, there was an arrangement for my the nearest Chemist to pick up scripts from my GP’s surgery at least once a day. Usually this system worked well. I would order my meds on line and the script would be at the Chemist two days later. The following day I could have my meds delivered. 

However on several occasions prescriptions went missing or couldn’t be found. If I phoned to check what happening there was one particular receptionist who used to get very angry and defensive. On two separate occasions she accused me of lying about what the Chemist had said to me. 

The first time I just thought she was having a bad day. But on the second occasion I spoke to the Practice Manager. It turned out there were some ongoing issues with this particular staff member. Not only was the prescription collection system improved but the incident was used to try and help the Receptionist’s skills training. I stayed with that practice till I moved

Learn about the care other GP practices give disabled people. If you find you have chosen the wrong GP – find a better one. Poor care is not acceptable and you have a right to change your GP.


Drinking whilst Disabled – Part 2

The medical information bit

As disabled people we often have a more intimate interest in our bladder than most. At the most extreme end catheters of various sorts are involved.

I have one close friend who has a supra-pubic catheter so we often talk about the problems she has. Supra-pubic catheters are only usually used for people with severe spinal damage or who have had multiple problems using urethral catheter, i.e. one’s that go in through the urethra. 

The articles written by The Times columnist Melanie Reid – who is now tetraplegic following a riding accident describe only too graphically the very small gap between a healthy bladder and severe and life-threatening sepsis. 

When I first realised I needed to limit my trips out to places where I could plot a route between loos, I determined this would not restrict me. I remembered about a card I could carry. I also knew that I could take medication.

The card is called I just can’t wait and is available from the BBF

The medication I take is Oxybutynin which is used to treat people with irritable bladder syndrome and other related conditions. 

Oxybutynin can be taken in tablet form or as a patch. Please be aware there are alternative options and that Oxybutynin does not suit everyone. I’m fortunate, it works perfectly for me in that my bladder control has greatly improved. I no longer have to desperately rush to the loo more often than is convenient. 

This is specially relevant for me in the mornings. I often wake up with severe numbness in both my feet and at least one of my hands and some times both. It can take up to half an hour for my body to decide to start working properly. Prior to medication I would usually end lurching sideways and hitting myself on some furniture or at worst, completely fall over. 

For those who want a non-interventionist approach – there is the option of badder re-training. A leaflet from Kings College Hospital, London gives lots of good information. 

Some women find Kegel exercises help and wikihow has a great set of instructions.

There are also Kegel exercises for men which are sometimes advised after prostate surgery. This is the link to a useful US leaflet. 

Bladder problems are not inevitable whether you are disabled or just getting older. There is plenty of help. Some medical professionals will try everything not to prescribe you medication. But you have a right to access the treatment you want. If you are refused treatment, seek further advice from another doctor or specialist nurse.




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