Monday, April 7, 2008

Prescriptions 101: My List


There's no better way to prepare for life with Lupus than by learning about it from someone who's already lived through it. At my support group meetings, I find it particularly helpful to exchange information about the medications I'm on or considering taking. With Lupus, it can be an overwhelming and daunting prospect to manage all of the drugs you have to take. With the help and knowledge from patients who have taken those same medications in the past, the experience doesn't have to be so intimidating.

In this post, I'll list the majority of medications I've taken since diagnosis. Hopefully, this will help close the gap on a few of those foreign-sounding, unknown drugs your doctor is suggesting. In future posts, I'll highlight a couple of medications at a time, detailing my experience with the drug, the dosages, side-effects, and effectiveness. I'll be sure to include feedback from members of my Lupus group who have also been on the drug.

In reviewing this list as well as my future prescription blog entries, please keep in mind three things: 1) each case of Lupus is unique and may require entirely different courses of treatment; 2) any given drug may interact with your body chemistry differently than it did mine, and 3) self-medicating is strongly discouraged. Following doctor's orders as they pertain to medications is vital for both a safe and healthy recovery.
Here's my list, minus a few antibiotics, etc:
Actonel, Bactrim, Bextra, Celebrex, CellCept, Cipro, Clindamycin, Clobetasol Gel, Darvocet, Differin, Endocet, Folic Acid, Fosamax, Hydrocortisone, Keflex, Levaquin, Mobic, Naproxen, Pepcid, Plaquenil, Prednisone, Prevacid, Prilosec, Promethazine, Pulmicort Turbuhaler, Serevent Inhaler, Vioxx, Zantac, and Zyrtec.

If you're trying to find out more about the medications you're taking, Drugs.com is a pretty handy website. I even purchased a copy of "The PDR: Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs" which helped me wade through the dozens of pills I was juggling. You can buy it right here on this site.

What's still one of your best prescription drug resources, though? Your local pharmacist. I never thought I'd become personally acquainted with the person standing behind the drug counter. However, I was there so frequently, I couldn't help but strike up a relationship. In fact, there are often prescription questions that my doctor can't answer that my pharmacist is well-equipped to address. The pharmacy is open much later than my doctor's office and on weekends, so having after-hours access to someone I trust, who can answer my questions, is invaluable.

I experimented with ordering a few of my drugs online, through the provider my insurance supported. In some cases, this was a faster, more efficient, cost effective way to fill my prescriptions. While I missed the personal encounter I had every few weeks at the traditional pharmacy, I still had access to a call-in center where I could get my questions answered. If you have the option, it's definitely something to consider.

Look for future posts in the "Prescriptions 101" series on my blog. The first drugs up for review: CellCept and Prednisone.

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