Yesterday on twitter I got talking to people, someone mentioned their mother’s medication had been changed from a brand to generic without her consent and I got into a discussion about what happened to me, other people weighed in and said they knew many other people who it had happened too as well. Despite what doctors say some people DO react differently to different brands of the same drug. Forcing this change through without consent to save money IS NOT ON. In this new era of NHS cuts and dismantling how many of us have been lied to or changed our medications under little supervision when we could experience some pretty nasty side effects?
I was changed to a new medication, without discussion I was just told it would happen, by letter something to do with a review of everyone at the practice and how they had been told to save money blah blah and ‘was the same drug really so you’ll be O.K’. I was changed from Venlafaxine extended release (venlafaxine xr) to Venlafaxine plain old no extended release. Lo and behold for the few weeks as my body got used to changing medication I felt like crap, the usual side effects, shakiness, night sweats, sleeping problems, dizziness, anxiety depression etc. I told my psychiatrist this and the GP, they told me it was nothing and it was the same drug so it shouldn’t happen. The pharmacist who served my mum (who was picking up my meds for me) was concerned and didn’t understand why they were changing me rapidly instead of easing me off as I am on a high dose, she wanted to phone to the GP but it was a weekend and I needed my meds, I couldn’t wait and risk withdrawal and after all I had been reassured it was ‘the same thing’ and I would be O.K.
I hesitate to say my medication was changed without consent, but it was certainly changed without INFORMED consent, I was given misinformation and my genuine concerns over side effects of changing were ignored. I’d had very bad experiences changing anti depressants before, though the time before last the very nice GP who I think has left now who oversaw one change was very honest with me and signed me off uni for a month. That’s the kind of treatment I expect and deserve, saying ‘yeh it’ll be shit for a while but don’t worry that’s normal and stick with it for a bit then come and see me if it’s still bad’ is immensely preferable to being pretty much lied to or having the truth skipped over. I agreed yes, but only because I was reassured it was the same thing and the only difference was I’d take it twice a day instead of once and there was the underlying attitude in the air that I had better change or else, I’m always a bit weak when faced with medical types especially if I’m not feeling too good. Not to mention the ethics of belittling the genuine symptoms of someone with mental illness, making you wonder if maybe you are just being paranoid and making it all up.
This is not acceptable. Yes my new medication saves the NHS money but forcing through a change in that way is wrong, unethical. It just adds even more ammunition to the feeling that I am just ‘parked’ on the NHS, my treatment is the bare minimum and no one gives a shit. Talking therapy is unavailable apart from short term CBT or counselling which does not work for me but there is no way I can afford to go private (nor would I wish to being against private medicine) for long term psychotherapy which I feel I need if I ever want to get my life ‘sorted’.
How many more people have had this done to them? Does anyone else have similar experiences? I’m tempted to investigate a written complaint or something yet at the same time I’m not sure I have the energy to face it .