Thursday, February 7

Thursday Thirteen #131: My Prescription Interactions

When TB and I went to see that snotty pain management doctor who wouldn't administer the spinal epidural last October because he said he was afraid TB would break his table (yes, he said that), he also said something else that scared us then. He looked at the list of meds that TB and said something to the effect--with your size and sleep apnea I'm surprised you haven't passed away in your sleep. When TB said he uses a C-PAP machine, the doctor said well, that's probably what saved you this far.

That was a shocker. And then there is what happened to Heath Ledger--this seemingly healthy young man died from a combination of legally prescribed medications. It hasn't been that long since Anna Nicole Smith and her young adult son also died of an accidental overdose, a combination of medications.

I had to go online and look. My Thursday Thirteen this week is:

13 Scary Interactions My Prescriptions Can Cause

1. Cymbalta and Zoloft can have a major drug interaction, causing a rare but potentially fatal serotonin syndrome. I later learned that this syndrome killed an 18 year old college student--it can happen to young healthy people as well as folks like me within hours of taking too many meds that overstimulate brainstem receptors.

2. Lamictal and Zoloft have a moderate drug interaction, working together to repress the respiratory system.

3. Cardizem and Lorazepam also have moderate drug interaction. They can work together to cause low blood pressure and depress the central nervous system.

4. Lisinopril and Lorazepam, moderate drug interaction, also can work together to cause low blood pressure and depress the central nervous system.

5. Lorazepam and Zoloft, moderate drug interaction, can combine to repress the respiratory system.

6. Lisinipril and Zolpidem, moderate drug interaction, can cause low blood pressure and depress the central nervous system.

7. Lisinipril and Zoloft, same as #6

8. Zoloft and zolpidem, moderate drug interaction, can cause central nervous and respiratory depression--especially in elderly or debilitated patients, non-ambulatory, I'm assuming

9. Zolpidem and Lamical, same as #8

10. Cardizem and Zoloft, moderate drug interaction, can combine together to form higher levels of the drugs that have to be metabolized by the liver.

11. Cardizem and Prevacid, same as #10

12. There are up to 2,354 other medications that interact with the ones I'm prescribed

13. There are lots of moderate food interactions with drugs I wasn't aware of. Grapefruit is a big no-no and I eat that all the time!

Heath Ledger was taking six medications with moderate drug interactions that combined to overwhelm his respiratory system. I'm thinking he stopped breathing while he was sleeping and didn't wake up again. When his breathing stopped long enough, his heart arrested.

I think that's what that snotty doctor meant when he said the C-PAPs probably saved us. A C-PAP provides continuous forced air even if you stop breathing, as happens with sleep apnea.

Do the benefits of my meds outweigh the risks? I take Cardizem and lisinopril because of high blood pressure. I take Prevacid because I have gastric reflux and also because of the pain meds I take. Cymbalta treats depression and fibromyalgic pain. Zoloft is an antidepressant and zolpidem is a sleep aid--Ativan. Lorazepam treats anxiety/panic attacks. Lamictal is a new kid on the block, prescribed because it seems I am bipolar. I am thinking that with the bipolar diagnosis, I want to get off the Zoloft and stop the Ativan.

I already have an appointment to talk to the doctor.

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Melanie said...

Wow- that is really scary. Do you get all of your presrciptions from the same pharmacy? Why didn't they realize what could happen?

Sandee said...

I see a pattern here...Don't take Zoloft. Yikes. This is scary stuff. Have a great TT. :)

Laura Paxton said...

Scary stuff...and something else to keep in the back of my brain for future reference!
Happy T-13!

Ash said...

Wow, that shit is scary! You should really talk to your Doc about this!

Lux said...

My mom's been thinking about this subject also - just be careful! Good luck with the doctor appointment!

DK & The Fluffies said...

Good luck with getting that all worked out! Gung Hay Fat Choy from all of us!

Karen said...

As one who is on multiple meds for various things (cardizem, lipitor, nexium, klonopin, effexor) it is completely true that no medicine is without risks, especially when you have to take several different ones. But when you go to the doc, have a list of your meds and go over them with him/her every time. I know that I am watched very carefully because I'm on so many. I recently threw my back out and they wanted to put me on a pain killer and steroid. I pulled out my list (including vitamins) and asked if there were any problems. Most importantly, don't stop any meds before talking with your MD. Stopping them can cause serious problems as well. Try to be as informed as you can, which you seem to be, and always discuss any concerns with your doc ASAP.
Take care of yourself!

Eve said...

I've been doing some investigation into some of my meds. It's scary what can develop because of a medication the doctor thinks you need and has prescribed for regular use.

Melanie said...


damozel said...

It's astonishing that people put up with such rude treatment from doctors. How absolutely out of line, unforgivable, and insensitive. Find someone else and write a letter explaining in plain words why.

Sleep apnea is scary, but my mom has had it for years and she's still ticking along. You can get oxygen etc. for it.

TT#23 |  13 New York Photos (Part I: Around Town)

Bloggers said...

that is scray!! I read through your blog a little before posting this and see that me and you share the hell of Fibromyalgia!!What a horrible disease. I have had such a hard time finding a doctor. I finally had to go to U of L. They are awesome and use all natural and diet regime. All though I love food and have a hard time with that.LOL.

I found you from thursday thirteen.

Unknown said...

Thanks for visiting my TT. That's an awful lot of medications you're one. Good luck with all this, and be careful.

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