A Leap of Doubt

I wonder…

My regular family doctor is on vacation so I went to see another doctor in the same clinic to get a prescription renewed. He asked how long I had been taking that particular medication. I said I couldn’t remember. Then he asked how long I expected to be taking it. I said, “Forever.”  He didn’t say anything right away, but looked pensively at the computer screen with all my medical data on it. Then he cocked his head to one side and said, “People don’t usually take it forever.”

Now I’m having my doubts not only about this medication but  also about my other medications and about my regular doctor.

My pharmacist always provides information sheets with new medications, and I always read them.  If I don’t see that I’m likely to turn green or do the John Cleese silly walk, I instantly forget what I have read. According to the vacation-fill-in doctor I was first prescribed this particular medicine seven years ago, so today I thought it was time to revisit the information. It turns out people generally use it for about two years. Hmmm. Pause for reflection.

Why would my doctor, who seems to be wise and efficient, not know this? Perhaps he knows this and disagrees. Or, perhaps he knows this and finds my case to be exceptional. Or, perhaps he is just stuck in a prescribing rut and doesn’t know how to stop giving me the same meds year after year. Or, heaven forbid, he gets a kickback from the pharmaceutical company. No, that couldn’t be it. This is Canada. We don’t do that sort of thing, do we?

Anyway, now I think I need to check the other medications I’m taking. This means seeking medical information on the Internet, which is a really dodgy plan. I recently read that nine out of ten medical articles on Wikipedia is either wrong or out of date, so I won’t go there. I’ll head for WebMD or some other site which appears to have more credibility.

Which is what I thought my doctor had.



  1. Anne, I must see my internist every 6 months (her program, not necessarily mine). Each visit I insist we review the meds I take as some I have taken for years! And thus far, every time, she explains why each drug is necessary. However I keep hearing that as we age, drugs may react differently for us. I’m 70 so all the more reason to check on the 5 prescriptions I take daily. Even the amount of milligrams per pill seems important now. I ask about possibly lower doses. Thus far no luck. I am keeping at it and I wish you luck with your research.

    Mary Beth

  2. I love the idea of second opinions even though it generally means more work for us…but taking fewer drugs is a worthy benefit.

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