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(The Care Guy)
20 commandments 12 & 13: Meds & side effects
Posted on 6:56am Monday 9th Jul 2012
20 commandments12: Thou shalt inform your clients well about side effects of medication, observe well and help to find solutions if needed
20 commandments 13: Thou shalt not avoid the subject ‘sexual side effects of medication’
You visit the doctor because you’re in pain. You sprained your elbow the other day and I hasn’t felt right since. The GP is very nice and very helpful. After examining your elbow and comparing it with your ‘good’ arm he prescribes some medication with the reassuring statement…
“That’ll do the trick”
Grateful that you have a diagnosis and the prospect of some relief you trot off to the chemist and get your prescription filled. In a few moments you find yourself clutching some brightly coloured tablets with the instruction to take one three times every day. You go home and take the first tablet.
All is well for about an hour after you take the medication but then you notice:
Over time you notice:
The doctor’s only response to this is to prescribe even more of the same medication (he sees your unwillingness to take the medication as a symptom of illness) and also to prescribe another tablet to deal with the ‘side effects’.
How keen would you be to take the medication?
How keen would you be to trust the doctor’s new prescription?
There are two compelling reasons to be open and honest with people about medications and their side effects…
There’s also a third, altogether more human reason to do with fairness and empathy.
You’d want to know, wouldn’t you?
This principle is especially true when considering the sexual side effects of medication. It’s interesting how many drug trials play down or even ignore the issues of impotence and dysmenorrhea. They do this because the pharmaceutical companies who fund and design the trials understand just how big a hurdle this is to overcome. Dr. Ben Goldacre has published a wealth of information about this and other drug company ‘research’ tactics at www.badscience.net . It’s well worth a look.
For now though it’s enough to say that if you ignore the sexual needs of your clients and the devastating impact that psychotropic medication can have upon their sexual lives you will be doing them a great disservice.
We need not only to be prepared to have these discussions when sexual side effects ‘come up’. We need to be prepared to begin those conversations in the best interests of our service-users and clients.
Based on the work of ‘Margreeth H.’