Saturday, August 29, 2009

The way medication is prescribed and packaged here is fascinating to me.

First of all, most doctors only prescribe 2 or 3 days worth of medicine at a time. Supposedly this is because doctors want to check the patient's progress and adjust the dosage accordingly. This makes sense, but there's not likely to be much progress made at such short intervals. Especially after the first round or two of medication (for myself and the boys), I've always been told things are "slightly improved," and been given the same prescription. It takes several visits before the symptoms are "much improved" or any changes are made to the prescription. My cynical side hypothesizes that the doctors like to bill back as many office visits as possible to the national health care system. These frequent visits don't affect me (much) financially as the fees (I think co-pay would be a correct label) are very low (as are the medicine costs). However, as a mother of very young children, I find these frequent visits incredibly inconvenient. We've found that if you (read: Matthew) put a little pressure on the doctors, they'll prescribe medication for longer periods.

The medication below was prescribed by the ear, nose and throat specialist who treated Rowan and I for sinus and ear infections in July.

For adults, instead of being given various bottles of pills with instructions on each bottle, the medication is packaged together. You take the contents of one little packet all at once.

Here's my medication for two days. I was supposed to take the contents of one packet three times per day. [I didn't take the entire contents, though, because I am a horrible patient. My beloved pharmacist explained what each one was. I chose not to take some of them because either (a) I felt they were unnecessary or (b) they were not breastfeeding compatible.]

For children, the medication is a little more complicated. I had to mix four different ingredients (three liquids and a powdered antibiotic) together into a not-very-tasty cocktail, which was not fun to administer. The pharmacist labeled each bottle with the amount per dose (2 or 3 ccs three times per day). The pink liquid (an antipyretic) is labeled "fever" and the white is labeled "cool," as it needed to be kept in the refrigerator.


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