Monday, May 19, 2008

Drug Run Frustration

So... Mom has a chest cold. When she started coughing up phlegm in various hues of doom she calls Dr. G. her awesome internist who calls in some antibiotics. Seems like a reasonable response. A little while later I hit the drive-thru at the drugstore of the national chain variety to pick up the drugs. Mom is on auto-pay at this store so it should be a quick and painless exchange. But no. The clerk goes to fetch the prescription and comes back with the news that the pharmacist wants to know if Mom is taking her Warfarin. Well, yes she is and I tell her that the doctor wants her to take the antibiotic anyhow. Clerk goes back to the pharmacist and returns saying the pharmacist is asking if the doc knows she is on Warfarin? Well, again, yes. He knows. Just give me the prescription for the love of Pete. And reluctantly they did finally send it out after a few more rounds of intermediated conversation.

The reason I found all this so frustrating is because we have been here before. Just a few months ago we were in the same situation. Mom has chest congestion, coughing up the telltale colors of phlegm that are a sign of infection. Just like this time, the doctor is called and the prescription is called in. When I get there, the pharmacy refuses to give it to me. Apparently her blood thinning medication is contra-indicated with the antibiotic. So I ask the pharmacist what our other options are and he suggested an over the counter decongestant. Long story short, that made her worse and she ended up in the ER with CHF and pneumonia. I discussed the issue I had had with the pharmacy with her doctor who told me there are NO antibiotics that aren't contra-indicated with blood thinners. Gah.

At least this time I knew enough to stand my ground with the pharmacy, got the antibiotics and my mom is on the mend. Like they say on those public-service ads on TV, the more you know...


Anonymous said...

I have found that using a smaller pharmacy (owned by a pharmasist or even a smaller branch of a national chain) are better to deal with. I've been to one where it was a fight every time to get something filled. I've worked with smaller pharmacies where you can actually get to know them. Works a lot better.

Alan Gaylord

Betsy said...

Good idea, Alan. A personal relationship can make a world of difference.