Proceed with caution

Just in case there was any question that this country over-prescribes medications, here is the tickbox list that came with the online health forms I had to fill out for my daughter to go on a school trip.

ABILIFY/AIRPIPRAZOLE   ACCUTANE/CLARAVIS   ADDERALL   ADDERALL LA   ADDERALL XR   ADEK   ADVAIR   ADVIL   AFRIN   ALAVERT   ALBUTEROL INHALER   ALEVE   ALLEGRA   ALTACE/RAMIPRIL   AMOXICILLIN   ARIMIDEX/ARIMIDEX   ASMANEX/MOMETASONE FUROATE   ASPIRIN/ACETYLSALICYLIC ACID   ATARAX/VISTARIL/HYDROXYZINE   ATENOLOL/TENORMIN   ATIVAN   AUGMENTIN   AURALGAN EAR DROPS   AVANDIA   AVAPRO/IRBESARTAN   BACLOFEN   BACTRIM DS   BENADRYL/DIPHENHYDRAMINE   BENTYL/DICYCLOMINE   BIAXIN/CLARITHROMYCIN   BIDEX   BLOOD SUGAR CHECK   BUSPAR   CALCIUM   CEFZIL   CELEBREX   CELEXA/CITALOPRAM   CHLORPHENAMINE MALEATE   CIMETIDINE   CITLOPRAM/CELEXA   CLARITIN/LORATADINE   CLARINEX   CLONAZEPAM   CLONIDINE   COMBIVENT   CONCERTA   CORTISOL   COUGH DROPS   COUMADIN   CYMBALTA   D-ALLERFY   DAYQUIL   DAYTRANA PATCH   DDAVP   DELSYM   DEPAKOTEER   DESMOPRESSIN   DETROL LA   DIASTAT   DILANTIN   DIMETAPP/BROMPHENIRAMINE   DITROPAN/OXYYBUTYNIN   DOXYCYCLINE   DULCOLAX/DOCUSATE   DYNACIN   EFFEXOR/VANLAFAXIN   EFFEXORXR/VENLAFAXIN   ELAVIL/AMITRIPTYLINE   ELESTAT   ELIDEL CREAM/PIMECROLIMUS   ENTOCORTEC/BUDESONIDE   EPI-PEN   ERYTHOMYCIN   EXCEDRIN   FACTOR VIII   FIORICET/ACETAMINOPHENCODEINECAFFEINE   FISH OIL   FLOVENT   FLONASE   FOCALIN   FOCALIN XR   FOLIC ACID   FORADIL   GENOTROPIN   GEODON/ZIPRASIDONE   GLUCOPHAGE   GROWTH HORMONE   GUANFACINE/TENEX   HUMALOG   HYDROCORTISONE CREAM   IMIPRAMINE   IMITREX   IMMODIUMAD/LOPERAMIDE   INSULIN NPH   INSULIN R   INTUNIV ER   KEFLEX   KEPPRA   LACTAID   LAMICTAL   LANTUS   LEXAPRO   LISINOPRIL   LITHIUM/LITHIUM CARBONATE   LODRANE   LORTAB   LURIDE LOZI TABLETS/SODIUM FLORIDE   LUVOX/FLUVOXAMINE   MAXAIR   MAXALT/RIZATRIPTAN   MAXALT/RIZATRIPTAN   MELATONIN/   MERCAPTOPURINE/PURINETHOL   METADATE   METFORMIN   MIDRIN   MINOCYCLINE   MIRALAX   MIRAPEX   MOTRIN/IBUPROFEN   MUCINEX   NAPROXYN   NASACORT   NASONEX   NEURONTIN/GABAPENTIN   NEXIUM/ESOMEPRAZOLE   NORTRIPTYLINE   NUTROPIN/SOMATROPIN   OMEPRAZOLE   OMNARIS   PANCREASE/CREON   PANTANOL EYE DROPS   PANTENASE NASAL SPRAY   PAXIL   PENTASA/ASACOL/MESALAMINE   PEPTO-BISMOL   PHENERGAN/PROMETHAZINE   PHENOBARBITAL   PREDNISONE   PREVACID/LANSOPRAZOLE   PRILOSEC   PROTONIX   PROVENTIL NEB/MDI   PROZAC   PULMICORT   QVAR   RETIN-A/TRETINOIN   RHINOCORT   RISPERDAL/RISPERIDONE   RITALIN   RITALIN LA   SEREVENT/SALMETEROL   SEROQUEL   SINGULAIR   SOLODYN   STRATTERA   SUDAFED/PSEUDOEPHEDRINE HYDROCHLORIDE   SUDAL   SYMBICORT/BUDESONIDE-FORMOTEROL   SYMMETREL/AMANTADINE   SYNTHROID   TEGRETOL/CARBAMAZEPINE   TENEX   TETRACYCLINE   TOPAMAX/TOPIRAMATE   TOPAMAX/TOPIRAMATE   TRAZADONE   TRILEPTAL   TROFOANIL   TYLENOL COLD DAY   TYLENOL   DIAZEPAM/VALIUM   VERAMYST   VITAMINS/VITAMINS   VYVANSE   WELLBUTRIN   XOPONEX   XYZAL/LEVOCETIRIZINE   YAZ/DROSPIRENONE AND ETHINYL ESTRADIOL   ZANTAC   ZARONTIN/ETHOSUXIMIDE   ZEGERID   ZERTEC   ZITHROMYCIN   ZOLOFT/SERTRALINE   ZOMIG/ZOMIGZMT/ZOLMITRIPTAN   ZYPREXIA   ZYRTEC D/CETIRIZINE DECONGESTANT   ZYRTEC/CETIRIZINE

I felt like a bit of a slacker when I didn’t tick any, though she did get told off by her teacher the other day for having a Ricola at school, because it’s medicine, and I see now that cough drops are included above, though it’s hard to read within the angry shouting of all the capitalization.

Watching the medicine ads on TV was always a feature of our trips home when we lived abroad, symptomatic of a societal disorder which seems to be even more deeply rooted. The disclaimers are now woven into the narrative, so that the actors look you in the eye and describe what might happen if this medicine isn’t “right for you.” One takes it as reasonable that a side-effect might include an erection that lasts more than three hours (see our ad in Golf Digest), a coma, or even death. Why let risk stand in the way of potential?

Ask a third grader (with health insurance) what happened to her taped wrist and she will describe the MRI she had, the recommendation from the specialist. You learn medical terminology young. People have procedures. They will scan you at the drop of a hat. What was once the domain of the old is now open to the young but they enter with optimism and resilience.

There was a study done in the UK a few years ago about playgrounds and they found that children took more risks the more safety features were installed. If you watch the teenagers on swings that are on choke chains, see how they flip the swings over the bars. Children take more risks on bouncy surfaces. I think a similar study was done to correlate driving safety and seatbelts, or bike riding and helmets. By making playgrounds “safer,” —with the bouncy ground and the slow equipment—we are undermining the fun and pushing them to create riskier risks.

With more medications and procedures available to us (if we have health insurance) do we feel safer and more resilient?

The staple drug of my youth, a taste so redolent of being looked after and taken care of it is now available as a perfume, baby aspirin, is no longer safe to give to children. But everything else is, supposedly.

Advertisements

3 Replies to “Proceed with caution”

    1. Thanks, Monique! Other expats we met in the UK said that the first 6 months getting settled were the hardest, but that the process took about two years, and that was in an English- speaking country, so perhaps longer in Italy?, but that going back was harder because no one understood what you were going through. It’s true. You’re home. What’s to get used to? I will be interested to read your blog as you get started. Have you read Tim Parks? He writes about living in Italy, from England, having an Italian wife and raising kids there.

      Like

      1. thanks. we actually have been back yrs but I’m finally getting around to writing this – I took a NY Times online course on blogging that finally gave me the push….so shell shock is gone and maybe my views have softened a bit… for better of for worse. I love Tim Parks, I forgot about him!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s