The Gamble of Trying a New Medication

Right now I'm on 6 prescription medications per day, along with several non-prescription additions. I take medicine for my adrenal disease, for my electrolytes that run low though nobody knows why, for a stomach issue, and I used to be on 2 meds for asthma but am now off those because my asthma is stable right now (hooray for small victories!).

So why add another to all that? It does seem I should have enough pills to keep me from wanting to go shopping for more. However, though all those medications stabilize (or at least partially stabilize) several of my conditions, the one thing that still runs my daily life is my blood-sugar problem. It is the reason I have to eat every 3 hours, monitor exactly what I eat, avoid sugar, and keep track of symptoms throughout the day so I can counteract unexpected problems (like a lunch being 15 minutes later than I'd planned for).

Over the past 15 years, I've tried several different medications, though unlike diabetes (high blood sugar) there isn't a tried-and-true med for having low blood sugar. The closest I have gotten to something really helping is a medication for ulcers that has the side effect of slowing down my digestion. Problem with that is, the side effects eventually wear off, so I have to go off that medication sometimes then start again so it works for what I need it to work for.

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? Yeah, I am my own part-time job. =)

I've searched and searched for anything that might help with my blood sugar, except the problem actually is with my insulin. Unlike regular hypoglycemics, my symptoms are worse not when my numbers are low, but when they're shooting down, because my insulin is rather hyperactive and tends to overreact (yes, even my pancreas tends to be dramatic!)

Just the other day I found a medication that may actually help with this. It was hard to find--very rare and very expensive (of course). I went to the doctor yesterday to talk with her about it, and she'd never heard of it being used to slow down insulin. So she pulled it up on her medical website, spent a long time reading through interactions to other medication to make sure I wouldn't have some major clash with my other prescriptions, and then proceeded to read me the list of possible side effects.

Here's where the gambling part comes in. There are no guarantees about trying new medication. I've had everything from no effect at all, to bad side effects, to hospitalization from trying new meds.

Sometimes the risk is not worth the possible benefit. For this one, however, if it helps it would change my life in a big way, so I've decided to go for it.

Here are the list of possible problems, just in case you were curious:
Monitor/Modify meds that could interact--84
Caution Advised--18
And here we go on the Adverse Reactions:
Serious Reactions:
diabetic ketoacidosis (say that 5 times fast)
hyperosmolar nonketotic coma
hyperglycemia, severe
CHF (guess this one was scary enough they only used the main letters)
cataracts, transient
acute pancreatitis/pancreatic necrosis
Common Reactions:
 excessive hair growth (don't think I'd look good with a beard!)
sodium and fluid retention (as in, swelling up like a balloon)
hirsutism (no idea what that is, but is sounds impressive)
hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
anorexia (ha! not likely)
nausea (yippee, here we go again)
vomiting (don't even want to talk about this)
abdominal pain
loss of taste, transient
elevated uric acid
thrombocytopenia (where do they come up with these names?)
weight gain (oh thrill)

Not exactly a fun weekend activity. Yeesh, so there's my gamble--risking any of the above for the possible chance that it could fix the symptoms I've had for years. Then again, it could be trading those symptoms for others even worse.

I'll just have to take it and see.

So there's a visit into the world of someone with multiple chronic health conditions. I'm nervous about taking this stuff, but hopeful too. It's not likely to work (thank you, Eeyore), based on my experiences of trying many, many other meds, but then again, I just can't give up the hope that there's something out there that will help.

Here's hoping this is the one!

I'll get back with you next week and let you know if I threw up or grew a beard over the weekend. =)

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