Monday, January 19, 2009

What's in a pill?

Today was a holiday of sorts and I made it home in time to watch the evening news learning something that will help me in the future.

In for her annual exam, I was reviewing the list of medications with a patient this afternoon. "Well, I am on something for my cholesterol but I just can't remember the name," Mrs. S said with a puzzled look. "At first I was taking that one with the guy rowing on the lake. You know him, he invented the artificial heart."

Yes, I had seen the commercials for her old medication but tonight I figured out what medication she is currently on. "But I am not on that one anymore," she had continued. "It caused some problems so now I take the one with the young African American woman in the commercial." Got it. I saw the commercial. Now I can record the correct medication in her chart.

In medical school and residency I frequently learned to recognize a medication and the dosage based on the color of the tablet or capsule. Generics changed all that as it is impossible to keep up with appearance of even oral contraceptive packaging. Now with direct to consumer advertising the television commercial is often a point of reference for the patient.

I just wonder if a change we can believe in is a lowering of medication cost by removing some of this direct to consumer advertising. Then perhaps patients will begin to believe that a pill recommended by anyone other than Sally Fields might be effective to treat their osteoporosis.
What's in a pill?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

No comments: