Retirement and Prescription Drugs: Love/Hate Relationship
by Wendy, Retirement Enthusiast/Coach
Prescriptions, yes, I take a few... most retirees do.
This is simply my two cents on Drugs -- sometimes they are necessary, other times they are not. This is not researched, just my experiences.
Prescription Drug Commercials
YES, those d*** commercials with someone romping through fields of wildflowers after using this new med... WOW! I need this stuff!
But Wait -- did you hear a fast-talking person at the end of the commercial, spelling out all the possible side effects? Oddly enough, as quick as they can verbalize those negative effects, they are gone. Back to the feel-good flower romping person who has has a new great life due to these drugs.
Are the side effects worth the benefit? You are retired. Do the research. You have time to better understand your medications now.
Doctors, Drug Representatives and Free Samples
I have a great doctor and I'm honest with him. I've told my doctor that I seriously hate that he has Pharmaceutical Reps in the office all the time. They bring samples, and he is kinda obligated to hand them out. Yes, he is giving free samples to us, to try before we must pay for them. Yeah, but...
Drug Reps are often young good-looking women, dressed up, high heels, and the patients wait while the doc is with the rep learning about the newest drugs... drives me crazy. WHY are they all young and good-looking? Can't anyone provide the info to doctors so they can learn about the benefits of these newer drugs? Apparently not -- they need good-looking females to capture their attention. 🙂
I once told the nurse: WHY do they have to send these good-looking gals to talk about prescriptions? She said: WAIT -- we have one good-looking male rep. who comes in and all the nurses want to chat with him!
Doctors, in turn, think they are giving the newest great thing to their patients, but they are also giving out samples because they must. Doctors are provided with incentives to help their patients learn about the newest drugs out there.
Patients often see the highly-marketed fabulous commercials and run into their doctor office asking for the newest greatest prescription. Doctors hand them a prescription, even if it's not the best drug for them.
I wrote about the fast-talkers at the end of commercials for new improved medications. Most drugs have side effects -- and quite often, you end up with a second and third drug to combat the effects of the first drug.
Bill, a senior friend, told me about two resources online that will let you learn more about your drug interactions.
-- Drugs.com is a website where you can search the drug you are taking. Scroll down the page a bit (first there are ADS that will take you off to a different site), then there is information about your medication and links to other articles. My search took me to insomnia and xxdrug, dosage, side effects, comparison to other well known meds, etc.
-- Medisafe.com is another interesting site with lots of research articles. Bill uses their *Free* Medisafe app, and it looks pretty cool.
Medisafe will: 1) remind you to take you meds, 2) remind you when refills should be ordered, 3) tell you about drug interactions after you enter your meds in the app, and more! It even provides coupons and discounts at thousands of nationwide drugstores!
If you've got the time to research your meds, why not?
Maybe, just maybe, you'll realize that one of your issues, something you never thought was medication-related, could be a side effect to discuss with your doctor. You could even research other meds to tell your doctor you'd like to try.
Is your medication necessary?
It probably is, but not always. I'm not being a skeptic, I simply want you to think for yourself and do some research.
For example, My sister was on a cholesterol drug for years. When she looked it up, her levels were in the normal (leading towards high) range -- so she asked her Doctor WHY she was taking the meds? The answer was: to keep you from increased cholesterol. Lorri changed her eating habits, brought her cholesterol down naturally, and with the doctors approval, stopped the drug.
This was an easy example. Most medications aren't this easy to quit. BUT maybe you are taking something that might not benefit you as much as you think it does?
And Maybe your drugs are not playing nice together, giving you side effects that could be resolved if there wasn't a bad drug interaction. Yes, doctors and pharmacists know this, but they are busy and we need to look out for ourselves!
I love essential oils (peppermint, lavender, tea tree oil) and different items from Health Food Stores too. But, I don't go overboard on these supplements either.
On this flip side of prescription drugs, two of my besties died of cancer... both were gals who disliked modern medicine and did all things with natural remedies. They always talked about health food stores and herbs -- Both Died.
Please don't be too fixed in your health mindset. There are pros and cons to everything. Research. Walk into the doctor's office with a list of questions to ask (that way, you don't forget).
Do Your Homework
I do believe in Doctors. One big need for doctors in retirement is anxiety and depression. I don't like these meds but sometimes they are necessary to get past the transition phase of these big life changes. Get yourself balanced again.
-- Do you use a Prescription Drug App?
-- Have you ever taken the time to research what you are taking?