Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Trade Off

We've all seen a million Big Pharma commercials pushing a pill that will solve or manage the one problem you have only to possibly give you a litany of others that sound rather scary.

Side effects may include:
Stroke
Heart Attack
Depression
Thoughts of Suicide
Nausea
Spontaneous Combustion
Numbness
Paralysis
Or Grand Mal Seizures

"Consult you doctor to see if this horrific medicine created in Hell's Laboratory is right for you!"

I know I can be a conspiracy nut at times but when they put that in the commercials, our collective red flags should go up.  Yet when our doctor prescribes something to help us with an actual medical problem, what do we do?  Such was the case with my dad four, maybe five years ago when the doctor told him to lose ten pounds and to start taking a particular cholesterol medicine to lower his cholesterol.

I will spare you the details that would fill a novel to recount but since that day my dad has slowly been in a state of physical and mental decline.  Originally he was constantly nauseous and losing weight rapidly.  Then he started losing cognitive abilities and became very forgetful.  He has had every test known to man only for his physicians to be stumped. We, his family, had pretty much come to the sad conclusion that he was just getting older and his health was going to be declining and there just wasn't anything we COULD do about it.

Well I got a call from Mom this morning.  After telling her Dentist about dad's condition he suggested that she do some research on Lipitor and Statin and asked if dad was on either one of those?  Why yes. Yes he is.  He proceeded to tell her this is pretty common and to look into it.  She did.  And the internet was full of information about how these two drugs affect a certain percentage of the population, causing nausea and major digestive problems, lowing testosterone, lowering vitamin D, as well as causing mental fog and forgetfulness.  Every single problem he has had for FOUR or FIVE YEARS!  Turns out, my grandma, who spent the last decade of her life in a Senior Home for Alzheimers took Lipitor till the day she died. Now I have to wonder if she had Alzheimers at all!

Maybe sometimes the trade off is worth it.  Not in this case.  Not at all!