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David Hines [userpic]

random medical rant

November 1st, 2008 (11:56 am)

There is absolutely no reason for most drugs to require a physician's prescription.

I can see a case for antibiotics -- too widespread use reduces their efficacy for everyone. I can see a case for serious narcotics. But for Chrissake, *asthma* meds? I am asthmatic. I have been asthmatic all of my life. The basic drug for controlling asthma is the albuterol inhaler. There are other drugs, preventatives, and I use them -- but the *basic,* the absolute basic, is the albuterol, because if you don't have it and you have an asthma attack you are fucked. I know what drugs I need. I know what drugs I will *always* need. There is no need whatsoever for me to need a doctor to call in a prescription for me. I should be able to buy albuterol over the counter.

(And while I'm on the subject: the new, CFC-free inhalers suck donkey balls. They don't work *nearly* as well as the CFCs. And they're more expensive. THANK YOU SO MUCH, FEDERAL LAW.)


Posted by: Not your everyday Viking angel (shadowvalkyrie)
Posted at: November 1st, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)

I'm with you on that! I don't have attacks very often, so I don't always have an inhaler with me, which once got me into the nice situation of standing in a thankfully near pharmacy, obviously unable to get much air, and still receiving a "Sorry, can't sell that without prescription" from the woman behind the counter. (Luckily her colleague saw that I was ready to black out there and then and let me have a whiff and come back a few hours later with the prescription. Traumatic situation anyway.)

Posted by: Vvalkyri (vvalkyri)
Posted at: November 1st, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)


In a pinch, the primatine at least kinda works, or long enough to deal. But ugh.

(to David, I think the rationale is that one should be seeing a doctor if one is having said symptoms. but still.)

Posted by: Mari (marici)
Posted at: November 1st, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
on the other side of life

Amen, and can we add birth control pills too?

Edited at 2008-11-01 05:56 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elspeth (elspethdixon)
Posted at: November 1st, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)

As a fellow asthma-sufferer (albeit one who only occasionally needs inhalers), I feel your pain. The only time I had regular medication for asthma was in college, where I could quickly and easily get a prescription from the school health people just by showing up and saying: "Hi, I have asthma and need a new inhaler." Whereupon they'd give it to you. They handed out birth control like candy, too, possibly because it was an all-girls' school.

I think that for things like this, medication for a chronic condition that doesn't have the potential to be sold as recreational drugs (unlike painkillers) and doesn't need to be taken in individually calibrated doses (unlike, say, anti-depressants or thyroid medication, etc.) people should get a sort of three-month or six-month blanket prescription that allows you to buy as many inhalers as you need over that span of time. Rather than having to get a new prescription every time you need a new inhaler, you go back in to a doctor three or so times a year for him to check you in case your asthma has either miraculously improved to the point where you can dispense with the inhalers, or gotten worse to the point where you need other kinds of treatment as well.

Edit: Oh, yeah, and for the doctor to check you once in a while to make sure that your asthma isn't masking the symptoms of another lung disease, like lung cancer (my grandmother, who has emphysema, had the early stages of lung cancer discovered during an semi-regular check-up of her lungs).

Edited at 2008-11-01 06:38 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Sara LaKali (sara_lakali)
Posted at: November 1st, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)

I hear you, and while I agree that you are intelligent enough not to dose yourself with something unnecessary, it would be seriously overestimating the wisdom and intelligence of the average person to allow just anyone to buy most prescription drugs without a doctor's advice.

Posted by: Andrew (bibliorex)
Posted at: November 2nd, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who is frustrated by this, especially since the version without the "good stuff" in it doesn't ever work for me. I love the mindless delays and being made to feel like I'm a criminal because I want to dry up my sinuses.

Were any meth-heads *really* going around to grocery stores and pharmacies and buying this stuff in sufficient quantities to make meth? I am highly skeptical. Besides -- let's face it -- they could still drive around to enough stores and do that, it would just take longer under the current system.

Posted by: Sinanju (sinanju)
Posted at: November 1st, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)

Here in the glorious People's Republic of Oregon, you can't get SUDAFED without a prescription anymore. Not content with the federal rules, which require showing ID and signing for it every time you buy the stuff, Oregon made it a prescription drug. Morons.

Posted by: leftarrow (leftarrow)
Posted at: November 2nd, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)

Just chiming in to say yeah, wow, I'm really with you on this. I had "fun times with no insurance" trying to get albuterol a while back. Paying the non-insurance price for the inhaler was not really the problem. Getting in to a doctor to prescribe the albuterol? MUCH more difficult.

Furthering my irritation is the fact that there are plenty of OTC things that can cause you multitudes of cool problems if used in the proper combinations and quantities. So the limits on really vital yet essentially harmless things are just infuriating. Which brings me to offer a hearty second to marici's note about birth control as well . . .

Posted by: Maire (mkcs)
Posted at: November 2nd, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)

And if there was no market for people to use this one (seriously!) as a recerational drug, there'd be no problem.

And no risk of people using it for non-asthmatics who it won't help.

And no risk of people using it when other drugs are needed as well.

(I think they should give people cards showing what drugs their doctors thing they should be able to buy on demand. That way, you'd get your drugs on demand without the risks mentioned above.)

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