Call your doctor when in doubt

There are three little words, that coming from a patient, strike fear in the heart of the doctor. Those words are, “So I figured.”

How often have patients said, “I felt better so I figured I didn’t need the rest of the pills” or “I was running out of pills so I figured I would cut them in half and they would last longer” or “I didn’t see any more blood in the urine so I figured it wasn’t important” or “I was very happy with the Viagra so I figured I could give some to my friend” or “sure I’ve been taking Coumadin but I caught a cold so I figured I would take some of my wife’s big bottle of left over Cipro antibiotic?

Each of these instances is an example of very poor judgment on the part of the patient who just figured wrong and endangered not only their own health and life but others as well as seen in the Viagra scenario above.

When a patient is taking a nitrate medication, such as Nitroglycerine, Deponit, Minitran, Nitrek, Nitro-BID, Nitrodisc, Nitro-DUR, Nitrogard, Nitroglyn, Nitrolingual, Nitrol, Nitrong, Nitro-Par, NitroQuick, Nitrostat, Nitro-Time, Transderm-Nitro Isosorbide Mononitrate, Imdur, Ismo, Monoket, Isosorbide Dinitrate, Dilatrate-SR, Isordil, Sorbitrate, Erythatyl Tetranitrate, Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate, Sodium Nitroprusside or with the calcium channel blockers Norvasc, Lotrel, or Amlodipine, adding Viagra can possibly be fatal.

In the case of the blood in the urine, which seemed to stop, delay in diagnosing the cause of the bleeding might be the difference between a curable versus an incurable condition.

My grandmother, a very wise woman, used to say that ten thousand soldiers couldn’t do as much harm to a man as he could do to himself. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Your doctor is a professional, superbly trained and prepared to look after your health needs. Today, there are so many different medications and more coming into use each day that interactions between them are not uncommon.

The doctor has at his or her disposal computerized tools to warn of drug interactions and side effects before they become a serious problem.

When health questions arise, trust your doctor. He or she has keen powers of observation, knowledge of many diseases and the diagnostic tests helpful in distinguishing one from the other as well as the choices of suitable treatments. When your doctor feels that your condition requires consultation with another physician, you will be so referred. So when a medical question arises, figure out that the smartest thing to do is to reach for the phone and call your doctor. He or she will be happy to hear from you and advise you on your question.

Have a question? Call Dr. Okun at 718-241-6767

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