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« Free burping lessons | Main | winning the clueless gone too far award »

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janet

Hey, penis tweezers could come in really handy if the guy's been chopping habanero peppers!

The whole emergency contraception thing makes me crazy. But with the yeast infection treatment issue I can understand what the issue was. There are other types of vaginal infections, and telling them apart is not a matter of being dumb -- sometimes the only way to tell is to take a culture and look at the bugs under a microscope. If you've had a couple of yeast infections, then yes, you can probably tell them apart from other vaginal infections with similar symptoms, but if you haven't had one before, then you might not even realize that it could be something else, because all you ever hear about is yeast. You could waste money and time self-treating, all the while delaying effective treatment for another type of vaginal infection. And if you've got trichomonads, then you really need to know, because they're almost always sexully transmitted, and you could be at risk for worse. Any nurse practitioner can tell you stories of women who self-treated with otc yeast meds for weeks or months before coming in to get a culture taken and finding out that it was actually some other type of infection. In the end I'd come down on the side of making yeast meds otc, because of course yeast infections are very common, and if you have them often you don't want to have to go to the doctor for a prescription every time. But it's not without its drawbacks. And then again, frequent yeast infections could be a sign of another medical problem, like uncontrolled diabetes.

Working in patient education has taught me that one of the hardest things to do is to get people to take medications correctly. Prescription meds can be just as bad -- despite warnings, many people will quit taking antibiotics when their symptoms go away, and save up the rest of the prescription for future use. The failure rate for typical use of birth control pills is 8% per year, mainly because of misunderstandings of how to take them. This is a failure on the part of the person who prescribed them, but when things are otc there's even more risk of goofing up.

Oh dear, where did this soap box come from?

Madeline

Wow. OTC birth control pills would be awesome. Does that exist? Because I hear so much like, "Oh, my insurance required that I had to have some dick Asian guy who didn't speak English wrench my cootch apart and have a look-see before I could be prescribed, and then the dosage made me so sick I couldn't eat without puking, but like hell I'm going back..."

To get to fiddle around all by yourself until you had the dosage/combination that worked best for you... Sweet!

badger

Right, but don't you think some guy might think that pesky itchiness is just a fungal thing, when actually it's something much worse and so he spends 6 weeks spraying jock-off-lotrimin, or whatever they call it for boys, on his crotch, pointlessly? Think of all the people he could be putting at risk in the meantime, etc. etc. Don't you think the same arguments you're making could be stretched to cover many, many other conditions? Especially the first time you get it? When you consider this it does seem that anything to do with one's lady parts means that Authority must intervene.

I love saying "lady parts" as it makes me think of SJ "I, Asshole"

On the other hand what if being old is even more of a risk factor? Maybe old people shouldn't be able to buy OTC meds. Because they could be kind of confused and their condition is more likely to be something serious.

Well, you get the idea... I think public health policy decisions are often incredibly dumb...

janet

Oh, I'm sure there are dangers in self-treating jock itch. But I think it's probably true that the lady parts, being mostly internal, are more vulnerable to "silent" problems.

The thing is, the whole system of prescription drugs and how drugs are made otc is paternalistic and somewhat arbitrary. I've talked to a couple of doctors who believe that if aspirin were a new drug, it could never get FDA approval to be sold otc. Some types of insulin are otc, others are prescription only, and it doesn't really have anything to do with relative safety -- a lot of it is essentially a matter of history. The difficulty is in changing the status of a particular drug -- if it's otc, it's likely to remain otc, unless something really dreadful about it is discovered, and then it's more likely to get pulled off the market altogether. If it's a prescription drug to begin with, then there's a higher the burden of proof that it's safe if you want to change it to otc.

I just wish there were a better way to explain to people how to use drugs than the little inserts that come in the package, which are not easily readable and which most people don't read.

Sarah Summer

Over the counter yeast infection medications rarely work! They just keep you coming back for more so the corporations can have more of you money.

Lily

I’ve seen ads on TV for Caduet. It has two ingredients. One is Amlodipine and the other is Atorvastatin. With my RxDrugCard I can get 30 tablets of Amlodipine for $9 and 30 tablets of Simvastatin for $9. I’ll bet they are charging more than $18 for this new drug! Don’t pressure your doctor into giving you something just because it’s new. Do your homework. Find a drug card like I did at www.rxdrugcard.com. I think that RxDrugCard.com is the best drug card available for prescription discounts.

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