Month: March 2023

Agitation causes 180-degree changes in mood

What caused this zero to sixty 180-degree change in mood?

It’s a normal day and everything seems to be going well. Then, all of a sudden, your care receiver begins pacing, muttering, and would not answer any questions. You are trying to find out what is happening. They have Parkinson’s disease, but this has never happened before.

Agitation is common in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, Multiple sclerosis, Chronic pain, other dementias, Bipolar disorder, Autism, Personality disorder, Substance abuse disorder, Depression, and other chronic health conditions. How can the caregiver help with restlessness? Remember, it isn’t just agitation in dementia that is a problem.  You will see agitation in people living with dementia, people living with Parkinson’s disease, and those with MS, but the cause of the agitation may not be so easy to figure out.

March 29, 2023


Agitation is a feeling of uneasiness, aggravation, or restlessness. Irritability and feeling tense are also common signs of agitation. Agitation can be brought on with little to no provocation. Not all agitation gets aggressive, but sometimes, it does. Become more aware of agitation signs and symptoms. The goal is to de-escalate the situation.

Your loved one (care receiver) may or may not be aware that they are agitated. Agitation has been described using these statements:  “I can’t sit still.” “I can’t stay in one place, I have to move, I don’t like it here.” “I have to move.” They may pitch a temper tantrum, throw things, and start accusing you of messing with their “stuff.” Even asking the same question over and over is a form of agitation,

Parkinson’s disease

People with Parkinson’s disease or other cognitive decline disorders commonly have some type of psychosis. Psychosis(some type of disconnect with reality) includes hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia. You may also see impulsive or compulsive behaviors too. Agitated behavior is quite common in the mid to later stages. 

This is where you marshal up your strength and do what needs to be done. You must remain calm. Remember, you are de-escalating the situation. You are not trying to win or be right. You cannot use logic when anyone is in the throes of an agitated state. They are not being logical; they can’t be logical. The amygdala part of their brain has been activated and everything else has been hijacked. Think fight, flight, fawn, or freeze actions.

As best that you can try to figure out what happened in the previous 30 minutes.

Causes of Agitation:

Happening in or to the body

·       Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

·       Head injury, Stroke, Seizure

·       Infection

·       Low oxygen levels

·       Organ failure

·       Too cold or too hot

·       Pain or Discomfort

·       Needing to pee or poop

·       Dehydration

·       Vision problems

Mental or Behavior health issues

·       Dementia – any type

·       Sundowning

·       Psychosis

·       Disruption of sleep (nightmares, sleep apnea, sleepwalking or talking, nighttime seizures)

·       PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

·       Disruptive patterns of thinking

·       Bipolar disorders

Substance use or abuse

·       Alcohol

·       Narcotics (pain meds)

·       Stimulants (caffeine, thyroid medications, corticosteroids, asthma medications, seizure medications, Parkinson’s disease medications, ADHD medications)

·       Hallucinogens (Cocaine, LSD, Ecstasy)

·       Toxins (pesticides, heavy metals,)

Medical interventions

·       Post-operative anesthesia

·       Sedation

·       Withdrawal from drugs

·       Withdrawal from alcohol

·       Drug-Drug interaction

·       Long wait times

·       Perception of unfair treatment

What to do to de-escalate the situation and decrease the agitation:

First, assess the situation for violence. Agitation may include physical aggression. What are they doing and what is close at hand for a weapon? What do they look like? Look at their breathing, eyes, and skin. What do you observe? They may be unable to express what they are feeling or what is happening to them. You may have heard the phrase “old man strength.” It is real and it is not just the men that have the strength either. The women do too. Remember, it is changes in the brain that are driving some of this behavior. 

Problems to look for:

·       Shallow, rapid breathing

·       Pupils dilated

·       Flushed or reddening of the skin

·       Sweating

How are they acting?

·       Throwing things

·       Clenching of fists

·       Irritable

·       Hostile behaviors

De-escalate; Decrease Agitation: 

If the area is safe, remain calm and talk in a low soft voice. Show compassion for their concerns. Use plain and simple language. Short sentences and do not be condescending. People with any type of dementia or cognitive impairment can experience restlessness and agitation. 

Listen to them and remain respectful. Acknowledge their frustrations and perceptions. You don’t have to agree with them to acknowledge what they are feeling or believing. Ask open-ended questions, not yes-no questions, you want them to talk and try to explain what they are feeling. Do not pepper them with questions. Be conversational. They may not know exactly what is going on or why they are feeling this way. You are trying to manage the agitation and decrease their restless feelings and anxiety. 

Try to get them to go to a neutral, calm area to decrease the stimulation they are experiencing.

You can assess the environment later, right now, the goal is to de-escalate and calm down. After they are calmed down, you can try to redirect their attention to a soothing activity. Watching a movie, listening to music, watching a TV show, or doing an art project. Maybe it is time for some physical activity to get rid of that excess energy.

Next steps

You will have to determine if this is an unusual situation or if it is becoming more and more common. Talk with your doctor, your loved one may need an evaluation to find the possible cause or triggers. If you haven’t done so, you will need to look at the home or environment they are in when the behavior occurs. Lighting, shadows, figurines, plants, and smells will all need to be evaluated as possible triggers.

Care partners (caregivers) can become agitated, too. Caregiving is hard when a loved one has dementia, it is even more difficult when your loved one with dementia has agitation and feels restless. Not only do you have to try and manage the dementia patient, but you also have to manage your own behavior, frustration, and agitation too. Most of the time it is a medical condition, underlying illness, or something that is making them uncomfortable that drives the behavior. 


Supplements that can mess up your meds

Supplements and Medications Interactions

At your last checkup, your doctor told you to take calcium 500 – 600 mg twice a day because your bone density tests indicate that you have osteopenia. Osteopenia is a decrease in bone mineral density below normal reference values, but not low enough to meet a diagnosis of osteoporosis.

Ok, no big deal. You pick some up and begin taking them. Wait, there could be a big deal. Do you take medication for your thyroid, such as levothyroxine? Are you taking doxycycline or ciprofloxacin for an infection? If yes, you cannot take the calcium supplements with the thyroid medication or the antibiotic. They need to be separated by two hours. There are other medications that are made less effective by calcium. 

March 22, 2023

Calcium effects – Medication interactions

Calcium binds up the medications (those that are affected by it) and makes them less available for absorption and may decrease the effectiveness of your medications. Some of your medications may increase the absorption of calcium causing too much calcium in your body. Kidney problems or serious side effects of calcium may occur.

You may have tolerated problems in your earlier years, but now you are 60 or older and things are changing. Your kidneys don’t filter as well. Your liver may not be able to metabolize things as well as it once did, causing an increase in side effect problems or adverse drug events.

Be more aware of supplements and drug interactions

I want you to be more aware of what can impact your medications. Some things cause too little of your medication to be absorbed. Some things cause too much of your medication to be absorbed. If you are taking supplements, find out what you can and cannot take with your current meds. Find out the best time to take your supplements.

Iron, Potassium, Vitamin K

Over-the-counter Iron supplements, potassium supplements, or vitamin K supplements can cause problems too. St. John’s wort is another supplement that may cause problems. A lot of folks are on medications that are used to treat high blood pressure medications, heart medications, antidepressant medications, and blood thinners such as warfarin, or antiviral medications.

It matters!

You need to know what can and can’t be taken together. You need to know when to take what. You need to know that the fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E,K can build up in your body. Some of you have been told that you “pee out what your body doesn’t absorb” which is not entirely true. Did you know that your body can only absorb 500 – 600 mg of calcium at a time?

PPI’s and Medication interactions

Even gastric acidity affects some medications. Are you taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) such as Prilosec® (omeprazole), Nexium® (esomeprazole), Prevacid® (lansoprazole), etc.? If you have to take an iron supplement and you take a PPI, your iron is probably not being absorbed as the gastric acid is “less acidy.”

Certain foods can also interfere with medication absorption. Examples include Grapefruit, Kale, Dairy, Yogurt, Alcohol, and Tyramine-rich foods.

Common things that we don’t think about that affect medications:

  1. ·       Nicotine use
  2. ·       Alcohol
  3. ·       Caffeine
  4. ·       Our diet
  5. ·       Changes in medical conditions
  6. ·       Changes in illness (usually a decline)
  7. ·       Infections

Aging and what the body does to drugs

With aging comes changing pharmacokinetics. Pharmacokinetics is what the body does to drugs. These changes include Absorption, Distribution across body compartments, Metabolism, and Excretion. The metabolism and excretion of many drugs decrease, which means your dosage probably needs to decrease as well. Absorption is not usually a clinically significant problem unless other factors come into play. As we age body fat usually increases and total body water decreases. This can affect the distribution of drugs that are lipophilic (dissolves in lipids or fats). Hepatic (liver) metabolism through the cytochrome P-450 system, decreases with age. Renal (kidney) elimination. This one actually begins to decline at about age 40.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that can impact your medication’s ability to do its job. Your pharmacist can help you with these issues. 


Can you have a difficult conversation and be respectful?

Sometimes, having a difficult conversation and being respectful don’t always go together. You can have a difficult conversation, but you can’t seem to reign in your emotions or you can talk about things that don’t really matter and be respectful. Think about it. How do you feel when you know a difficult decision must be made and you are facing a difficult conversation? Your heart begins to race, tension builds up in your body, and you are irritable. The conversation hasn’t even happened yet and you are all torn up. 

You are on edge and ready for a fight. You don’t want to have this difficult conversation, but you’re facing it all the same.   However, this is all in your mind. Nothing has happened, yet. Why do you feel this way? Past experience? Your racing thoughts are running amok and you are experiencing a stress response. You aren’t sure that a difficult conversation can be any other way than adversarial. Maybe, you don’t feel safe because you can’t predict the outcome. 

March 15, 2023

First, let’s figure out what your style of communicating is when you are stressed. Yes, you handle things differently when you are at peace with yourself and your surroundings. Stress impacts our ability to communicate. What toll are your relationships taking when you are not at your best?

Self-awareness plays a vital role in this arena. Are you aware of how you are feeling and why you feel that way? Are you aware of when it is not a good time to have a difficult decision because you are not in the best frame of mind? Did you know that it is your responsibility to get your shit together and then have the hard talks?

When you are self-aware and emotionally healthy:

·       You can intentionally respond to a situation. You think about the situation and act accordingly.

·       You are more open to others’ ideas and inputs. You are looking for the best solutions.

·       You are actually listening to understand and not just to respond.

·       You are empathetic to the other person.

·       You allow yourself to be curious about how the other person thinks and are open to changing your own mind.

·       You will allow yourself to seek out support from others.

·       You are willing to be understanding, supportive and fair.

·       You have the ability to be patient during the discussion process.

When you are not emotionally healthy or self-aware:

·       You tend to react to what the other person says and emotions escalate.

·       You will be more critical of anything the other person is saying.

·       You may even shut down and withdraw from the discussion.

·       You tend to personalize the comments and do some projecting of how you feel onto the other person.

·       You tend to be more judgmental and closed-minded.

·       You will do things on your own and not seek out help or guidance from others.

·       You will use manipulation, and verbal attacks to dominate the discussion.

·       You are impatient and that will lead to you becoming pushy and interrupting.

When we are tired, we can slide into the not-emotionally healthy or self-aware category. What is usually a small annoyance can become a mega monster deal to us and we react accordingly. Notice that I said, react. We are not being rational or acting in the best manner. Our brains have been hijacked by the amygdala (stressors and cortisol dump) and we are off on a tear. What we sometimes forget is that there are people whom we love and care deeply for on the receiving end of those rants and raves.

So, what can we do to be in the best frame of mind when we need to have difficult conversations?

·       Rest and get good sleep.

·       Do something physical each day for 15-30 minutes.

·       Write down 3 things that you are grateful for every day. Different things.

·       Be aware of what your inner critic is saying to you. Is it true or correct? If not, then you have to get verbal with the inner critic and tell it to shut up. Your inner critic needs a new job but that is another discussion.

·       You may not be able to rid yourself of stress, but you can manage your stress. Hopefully, you will do that in constructive ways.

We can all benefit from learning how to become better communicators. Take a course, do a seminar, or look up good articles online.

Our scenario:

Let’s look at the driving issue that seems to pop up. Here is the situation. Your dad needs to stop driving. He no longer has quick enough reflexes. His arthritis and neck issues are worse. Maybe there is some dementia that is now becoming an issue. You have noticed dings in the car on the sides and in the rear. The reasons could be physical, mental, or both.

You know that this is going to be difficult and it could get ugly. Hence, the stress response. You also know that this very difficult conversation has to happen soon because you are truly concerned for their safety and the safety of others.

Now that you have the scenario, what is the best approach for you to use when this discussion has to happen and you want to be helpful, loving, and respectful?

Family dynamics will play a part in this. It is best for the person who will have more sway with them to do the talking. This is not a guarantee, but it will help. Keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t get off-topic and into the weeds. Know what your “main thing” is. Next, you will need to state the “why’s.”

The main thing – stop driving

Why’s –         

§  Cognitive decline (dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other impairment)

§  Problems with mobility or coordination

§  Vision problems

§  Hearing loss

§  Sleep disorder

§  Seizures

§  Inability to turn their head and neck very far

All right, you have your main thing and your “why’s.” Now you need to prepare for the emotions that will come from you and them. This is where you discuss and listen with respect. That means no name-calling, no cussing, no threatening, no bulldozing over their concerns or pushback. 

They are going to push back. They are going to fight you on this. The best way to prepare for this is to listen to what their concerns are and understand what they are trying to say. I guarantee you that there are many things not being said and that is the real problem. Understand the other person’s point of view. Keep the conversation going as long as it is productive and emotions don’t send it off the rails.

What is not being said is, “I don’t want to give up my independence.” 

                                          “I want to go and do as I please.”

                                          “I don’t want to bother you or be a burden.”

                                          “I don’t want you judging me for where I go or what I do.”

                                          “I am your dad, you are not my dad.”

                                          “I will not be told what I can and cannot do.”

Take the time to understand things from their point of view. Imagine yourself being in the same situation because you’re going to be in the same situation one day so put yourself in their shoes.

You can keep stating the facts. You can even talk about the concerns you have for their safety, their passenger’s safety, or someone else’s safety. All of that is great and necessary. You have not addressed their concerns and wants. How will you handle that? You have to listen to the other person’s perspective.

You have to meet their needs and help them with what concerns them about not driving. Who will take them to the store, to the mall, to breakfast or lunch with friends? Who will take them to play golf, bowl, or to a ball game? Can they use a driving service such as a Taxi,  Uber, or Lyft? Will you set up the drive to and from for them? Who will pay?

Whew! You may or may not have a resolution, yet. You may have to table this discussion until a later date. You may, in fact, have to have this discussion multiple times before a resolution is reached. Unless they have a cognitive impairment, you may never get them to stop driving. Their doctor may have more sway than you and that is fine to use the doctor if needed. You can’t make someone do or not do anything. They get to make the decision, even if it is a bad decision. 

The purpose of this exercise was to show you an example of a difficult discussion and some things to think about before jumping in. To show you that you can prepare, you can listen for understanding and provide alternative solutions to meet their needs.

You are in control and in charge of your own emotions, feelings, and how to act and react. You are not in control of any other person’s actions or reactions.

A few tips:

·       Use “I” statements. Do not use any sentence that starts with ”you.” It makes people defensive.

·       Do not be sarcastic.

·       Do not use the words, “always” or “never”

·       Look at them in the eye.

·       Do not interrupt them. Let them say what they need to say.

·       Stick to their abilities and not their age.

·       Remember to value the relationship.

·       Be solutions-oriented. Ask them to be solutions-oriented.

·       Watch your tone.

·       Remember to deep breathe.

·       It is okay to disagree. Maybe a neutral person needs to do an evaluation of driving skills.

·       Have them drive you around.

·       Maybe, they can drive short distances in the mornings or early afternoons (avoid rush hours).

·       Know when to start or not start the conversation. Is this the best time to have this discussion? What else is going on? The time may never be perfect, but you need to find the best time possible.

·       Remember your purpose in having this difficult decision. You want them and others to be safe.

With any difficult discussion, emotions run high. Do what you can do to be prepared. Maintain your composure and learn to listen for understanding.

What disrespect looks like and sounds like

·       Disrespectful people do not care about the other person’s feelings.

·       People stop talking when you enter a room.

·       They do not accept responsibility when both of you share some of the blame.

·       They continuously interrupt you.

·       Angry or rude outbursts

·       Bullying

·       Shaming you

·       Arrogant behavior

·       Sarcasm or Taunting

·       Sighing, Making faces, Eye rolling

·       The silent treatment

·       Dismissing ideas without listening to them

You can become a more effective communicator. You can have difficult discussions with less stress. You can do all these things. You can learn better communication strategies. You know what you want to accomplish. Are you also willing to agree to disagree and improve the situation? 


What happens to your body when springtime seasonal allergies start?

While we may not be finished with Winter weather, Springtime weather is peeking through, and with that comes a host of spring allergy issues for those of us sensitive to those allergens. The aggravating headaches will not go away and have you wondering if it is a stress-type headache, a beginning migraine, or because you are stuffed up. It could be any or all of these allergy symptoms at the same time. Dang allergy season. 

Your eyes may feel like sandpaper or they are burning and itching so bad that you want to scratch them out. You try not to rub them, but sometimes the need for relief wins. Your nose is stuffed up, on both sides and it is hard to breathe. Don’t forget about the other sinus cavities that can be congested. We have 4 pairs. These allergy symptoms may trigger all kinds of allergic reactions. 

Scratchy or sore throat from the drainage. Sneezing and coughing to clear mucus from the irritated pathways. The mucus is clear in allergies. If you have mucus that is yellow or green colored, that usually points to a cold. Some folks even develop hives. What is causing this misery and how long will it last? The most common culprits are tree pollen, grass pollen, mold, and dust mites. 

March 7, 2023

Don’t forget about the body aches and tiredness that may happen. Did you know that they could be caused by an allergen?  A slight temperature increase may also happen in some folks. Not a fever, but a degree or two increase. Just enough to make you feel bad and tired.

 Seasonal allergies are caused by the immune system that has been overloaded and is now overreacting to some “stimulus.” The stimulus in seasonal allergies may come from a variety of sources. Check your local area for the pollen count. You may also use the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology website:

Trees in East Tennessee that may trigger seasonal allergies:

·       Oak

·       Hickory

·       Birch

·       Maple

·       Cedar

·       Walnut

Grasses in East Tennessee that may trigger seasonal allergies:

·       Bermuda

·       Bent

·       Timothy

·       Sweet Vernal grass

Pollen in East Tennessee that may trigger seasonal allergies:

·       Ragweed

·       Wormwood

Common Molds that trigger an allergy: 

·       Alternaria

·       Aspergillus

·       Cladosporium

·       Penicillium

Mildew is also a type of mold that may trigger an allergic reaction. 

If you ever feel like your throat is closing off, go to your doctor or allergist. I understand it may close off for a few seconds when an allergen is near, but if it continues longer than a few seconds or seems to get worse go to your doctor. If you have asthma or COPD you must treat the allergy so you can have better control over asthma or COPD. 

Immune Response Diagram

A trigger causes a histamine release and an immune response.

Look at all that. It is a good thing that our bodies know what to do, isn’t it?

Oops! I almost forgot about the 4 pairs of sinus cavities:

Frontal sinuses – Just above each eye

Maxillary sinuses – Sit behind the cheekbones

Sphenoid sinuses – behind the eyes and way back, near the optic nerves & pituitary gland

Ethmoid sinuses – separated into the front, middle and rear groups (about 6 -12 tiny air sacs) they are behind the nose

Pain locations:

·       Side of nose

·       Temple area

·       Eyes

·       Jaw

·       Teeth

·       Back, Neck, or Joint pain – due to inflammation

·       Muscle aches – due to inflammation

·       Headache

Treatments to help alleviate symptoms that allergy triggers cause: 


1.     When you come inside for the day, take a bath or shower to get rid of the pollen on your body and hair. Change your clothes.

2.     Stay well hydrated.

3.     Clean and dust your house regularly to get rid of pollen and dust mites

4.     Use a HEPA filter/HEPA Air Purifier to help get rid of dander, dust, and such.

5.     Change sheets weekly (best sheet materials include – bamboo, cotton, Tencel, or silk) 

6.     Use air conditioning in your house and car (recirculated air)

7.     Do not hang clothes outside to dry

Reducing your exposure to your allergy trigger: 

1.     Stay inside on dry, windy days.

2.     Avoid lawn mowing or pulling weeds.

3.     Wear a face mask when outdoors.

4.     Close doors and windows at night or when pollen counts are high. They are high in the early morning, too.

5.     Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning, when pollen counts are highest.

Over-the-counter allergy medications

1.     Antihistamines – (there are both sedating (sleep-causing) and non-sedating antihistamines)

These meds help with itchy watery eyes, drainage, and skin itching

These meds do not increase your blood pressure

2.     Decongestants – help with nasal congestion.  These meds can cause you to feel jittery or wired and may keep you awake.  Decongestants are meds that will increase your blood pressure.  Decongestants are not recommended for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, or in men with enlarged prostates or with difficulty urinating.

3.     Steroid Nasal Sprays – to decrease swelling and congestion

4.     Cromolyn Sodium nasal spray – helps with sneezing, runny nose, or itching – Prevents mast cells from releasing substances in the immune response cascade.

5.     Decongestant nasal sprays should only be used for 2 days and not more than 3 days or you will probably develop rebound congestion due to the nasal spray. I do not recommend these types of sprays because they can cause more problems than they are worth. Place a little Vick’s vapo-rub under your nose, if needed.

Rinsing your sinuses

1.     Using normal saline nasal spray or  rinse to clear the nose, moisten nasal passages

2.     Using at-home products – Neti pot or other nasal irrigation devices to clear out sinuses. Be careful – you must take care of your devices and clean them as directed. Let them air dry as directed. NEVER use tap water! You must use distilled or sterile water in these irrigation devices. If you are using salt or saline in your device always check to be sure that it is USP-grade sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate, 99.99% NON-iodized salt, or pharmaceutical grade. Clean your irrigation device as directed by manufacturer instructions.

Tap water is not adequately treated or filtered to be used in medical devices or in nasal irrigation products. Using tap water in these devices may cause serious and even deadly infections.

Alternative treatments

1.     Things like Spirulina, Butterbur, or other herbal remedies may help, but they have not been verified or proven to help with an allergy. 

2.     Acupuncture or Acupressure may help, but has not been proven to help.

 Multi-use over-the-counter products

Don’t buy them. Take only what you need when you need it. A lot of those types of products contain acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and you can find yourself taking way too much. The only multi-use over-the-counter product I recommend is Robitussin-DM® (dextromethorphan and guaifenesin).


Could it be an adverse reaction to a medication?

It is springtime, and you are excited to be outside and doing your thing. Whether it is cleaning up, planting, prepping, or mulching. It is great to be outside, even if you are just enjoying the weather. Time to go inside, get cleaned up, and ready for dinner. All of a sudden, you start itching and you notice a rash on your forearm. Do you think about an adverse drug reaction? Do you think about a drug reaction? 

March 1, 2023

You assume that it must be poison ivy or some other weed irritation. Over the next couple of days, the itching is still making you crazy and you are beginning to feel miserable and aggravated. You begin taking over-the-counter Benadryl or some other antihistamine. Two weeks later, it is better, but it is still there.

What is the cause? Yes, it could be poison ivy mixed up in the mulch you spread. Yes, it could be some other weed or, who knows what? It could also be one or more of your medications. Most of us don’t relate itching and redness to a drug reaction. Especially, if we have been taking our meds for a few months. 

Adverse drug reactions are not side effects. An adverse drug reaction is always negative and may cause harm to you. A side effect is a secondary effect of a medication, which could be harmful, beneficial, or neutral. Usual side effects are where you see a lot of off-label use of medications.

A drug allergy is a serious matter. Technically, it is an adverse drug reaction. In a drug allergy, your body recognizes “it” as a foreign and dangerous substance. The body then activates the immune system to fight it off. You may see rashes, hives, itching, wheezing or other breathing problems, and inflammation. In severe cases, you may see anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening. True allergic reactions happen in about 10% of adverse reactions.

The time frame is different for a drug allergy and an adverse reaction (usually). In a drug allergy situation, the immune system evens occur within minutes to a few hours after exposure. Rarely, does it occur after 24 hours of exposure.

An adverse drug reaction can occur anytime after exposure to the medication. Where it gets confusing or better yet, forget about it when it happens weeks or months after you begin taking the medication. Some adverse drug reactions can be due to the drug itself or an interaction with another drug.

Symptoms of an adverse drug reaction vary by medication, but common ones include:

·       Digestive system bleeding

·       Heartburn

·       Fatigue

·       Sleepiness

·       Nausea/Diarrhea

·       Lightheadedness

·       Dizziness

·       Constipation

·       Skin rashes

Adverse drug reactions aren’t caught a lot of times. Most of the time the physician sees the complaints as “another problem.” Guess what you get? Yep, another prescription. It takes time and effort to figure out what is going on and what may be causing the problem. This is where you can use someone, like me to help figure things out.

We didn’t discuss intolerance, but it is a possibility too. You cannot tolerate a certain medication or the side effects that may occur. Usually, this has to do with metabolism and your body’s ability to use the medication.

Drugs that most commonly cause Adverse Drug Events that lead to a hospital visit:

·       Antibiotics

·       Anticoagulants (blood thinners)

·       Insulin

·       Opioid pain meds

·       Benzodiazepines

·       Renin-angiotensin drugs (blood pressure meds) Ex. ACE Inhibitors, ARB’s (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers, ARA’s (Aldosterone-receptor antagonists)

·       Lipid modifying agents

·       Urological medications (ex. Urinary incontinence meds)

Drug reactions to medications happen more than we realize. Strange symptoms may occur such as unexplained drowsiness may be a symptom. The dosage prescribed may be too much for you. Remember, allergic reactions occur fairly quickly after the medication has been administered. Anaphylaxis reactions may occur immediately or within half an hour of administration. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction. You may see these terms, adverse drug reaction, drug reactions, adverse reaction, allergic reaction, or adverse event and they are almost always talking about an unintended adverse drug reaction. Anyone taking a drug can have reactions to medicines even if they have taken the drug before and had no problems. 

You know your body and how it feels. Don’t dismiss things that are happening for more than three or four days. You may not know what it is, but you know that you are “not right.” Yes, it could be the side effects of a drug or it could be a possible adverse drug reaction. Your response to a drug may be different from another person on the same drug. You may know folks that feel this way and maybe they could benefit from my services. Let’s have a chat and see. I don’t know if I can help them or not until we talk and it is free.

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Pat 865-684-8771