What is it with my family and doctors? Admittedly I have a deep distrust of the medical profession following Shane’s death and my family and I would have to be at death’s door before consulting a doctor. I can’t say I dislike doctors as I think they usually mean well, I assume they don’t get up in the morning and think “who will I harm today?”.
Yesterday I sent the poor long-suffering husband off to see the doctor. He was driving us all demented with his dodgy ears; he was becoming as deaf as a post ye see. Surely that’s grounds for divorce? Most mornings we ALL awakened at 6am to the sound of his alarm shrieking continuously, while he slept like a baby. I think he was beginning to enjoy the benefits of oblivion. We on the other hand might as well have been taking to the wall.
Although I have a deep distrust of doctors, I knew that they couldn’t do much harm just having a look at his ears. In fairness to the doctor, he did a great job with the husband’s ears, using some newfangled contraption. He was very thorough and also took his blood pressure, which was fine. The doctor then gave him a clean bill of health but understandably said he should give up smoking. The bold husband agreed, having absolutely no intention as he’s totally addicted to nicotine. That’s when the doctor recommended this ‘new’ drug – Chantix (aka Varenicline). Coincidentally David Healy had written a blog on Chantix yesterday here.
Well Tony (the poor husband) of course was well aware of the dangers of this particular drug and said an emphatic NO! The doctor looked bemused and said, and I quote – ‘but this is a new wonder drug’. Tony told him that he would be very concerned about the side effects of chantix whereupon the doctor said “no, no this is only a new drug, it’s a good drug and less risky than the patches”. Needless to say he left without the prescription, having muttered something about informed consent and probably had a smoke outside to calm his nerves.
Chantix come with a range of warnings, including heart risks, suicide and violence, which this doctor clearly knew nothing about. Even the pharma funded Irish Medicines Board recommend:
“Patients should be advised of the possibility of psychiatric adverse effects when taking varenicline and to contact their doctor immediately if they develop suicidal thoughts or behaviour. Patients should be closely monitored during use of varenicline and it should be discontinued immediately if agitation, depressed mood, or changes in behaviour are observed that are of concern for the doctor, patient, family, or caregiver”.
The strange thing is that he only went in with a blocked ear and if he wasn’t aware of the dangers, would have left with a prescription for a drug that potentially could have killed him.
Tony was frogmarched back down to the practice with a RxISK report and this PLOS ONE study showing that Chantix has the worst record for iatrogenic violence. He’s waiting for a call back as the doctor was busy when he went back. I’m not mentioning names as we’ll be barred from every practice from here to County Cork. If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be funny. I’m just glad my husband was only deaf, not blind or stupid. The doc on the other hand…