|Side effects of pill popping hard to swallow|
|Written by Addie CaDavid, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Sunday, 03 April 2011 19:11|
“I know she went through a long process. She had to meet with two guidance counselors, an audiologist and a social worker. All of our teachers had to give evaluations before the learning specialist would prescribe the medication,” Chelsea Becker, a sophomore community health major, said about her friend’s process on getting a prescription for the drug Vyvanse.
Vyvanse is a stimulant drug that affects certain chemicals in the brain to increase focus and calm behavior. Drugs such as Vyvanse are prescribed for disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder, the diagnosis of Becker’s friend.
Dr. Jean Swearingen, medical director for Student Health Services, shed some light about the standards of prescribing medication.
“Every doctor or other prescriber has their own approach to prescription medications. Our society and culture also has input into use of medications,” Swearingen explained. “Some doctors and patients see prescription medications as last resorts and others see these medications as necessary or at least helpful aids to preserving or returning health. There are a lot of perspectives. Most doctors and patients are somewhere in the middle.”
This means patients must educate themselves on the medication they are taking and ask questions about its effects. Many often take doctors’ information for granted without doing their own research to see what works best for their lifestyle.
Swearingen explained that, although society often looks to medication as a cure-all, it is not always the best option. Prescription drugs can be beneficial, but in some circumstances they don’t have a profound effect.
Vyvanse, in Becker’s opinion, showed profound effects. Her friend was more focused in school, better at
competing in swimming and a safer driver. But while a positive change could easily be seen by everyone, the drug’s side effects were also making themselves known.
“I would say she lost about 30 pounds in the first year,” Becker said. “I was worried that something was wrong at first because she didn’t eat, but I guess she just didn’t have an appetite.”
Not surprising, since stimulants have the side effect of suppressed appetite. Many have to learn to make themselves eat despite not wanting to. Certain side effects are appealing for some and lead many to seek prescription drugs.
Many use versions of Adderall when cramming for an exam or working on a large project. While the idea might seem reasonable, it can be dangerous and is illegal.
“First of all, students need to be aware that even though these may be prescription medications, it is illegal to take meds, especially controlled substances like narcotics and Adderall or Ritalin, that aren’t prescribed for you or to sell them,” Swearingen said.
Swearingen also cautioned that selling medication is akin to selling illegal drugs. Those taking medication they have not been prescribed may suffer complications with current medications or preexisting health conditions a physician would not have been able to foresee.
Swearingen warned that medication does have its own place in the healing process, but sometimes other options are worth looking into. For a society that relies on a magic pill cure-all, education seems to be the best prescription.