February 27, 2010

medication mambo

One of the biggest thrills of being a "chronic disease" person is that people come at you with drugs for every little thing. Some people choose to take them. As for me, I'm a bit scared of the interactions, the risk of iatrogenic disease.But sometimes one needs the medications.
I know I need the Copaxone, or some disease modifying medication. Why? It apparently reduces flare-ups and damage from the disease. Apparently, and only by 30%- so it's not overly convincing...and the daily shots are toxic enough to my tissues that I have bruises and lumps under the skin for weeks afterwards. Of course, I could get a different drug, with its own set of problems.
And then there's the antidepressant that made me more depressed. Taking it made me suicidal, but no one thought of taking me off it - just told me to take more. Which has resulted in an increase in my blood pressure, now requiring more medication....
So, after consulting with the docs, I am now off the antidepressant. It's lovely, though I am perhaps less so. I've developed a tendency to swear more frequently, and am somewhat more easily angered. But why not? Some things are angrifying! And I like being able to feel emotions. It's novel.
Of course, the antidepressant was Effexor XR, one of the very very worst to withdraw from. My doc tells me to expect at least 2 weeks of hell. Many people can't take it and end up going back on the medication to deal with the side effects. I'm not enjoying the dizziness, the fevers at night, the feeling that my head is going to pop off, the muscle spasms, the general feeling of unreality. On the good side, because I have to deal with so much of that already with MS, it doesn't seem too unusual...and every day I have a little clearer morning, a little more of me rallying around.
In any case, I feel like the queen of drug induced illnesses, always wondering how much of the crappy I feel is due to the medications people give me. Is it all worth it?
And even more puzzling, have any of these drugs been adequately tested in women? Or are they all tested in healthy male subjects, just cos it's easier not having to deal with all those hormones?
Now that's something worth getting angry about!

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