Tag Archives: pharmacogenetics

Who Benefit$?

Insurance companies dictate what medications we can and can’t take or tests we can or can’t have. Thirty plus different medications. Side effects. Drug/drug interactions, FDA. Big Pharma. Generic vs. brand name. Chemicals. Plants.  Quality Measures. MTHFR. Pharmacogentics. Addiction. Bad outcomes.

Don’t you see the craziness? Do you see the connection?  Because the craziness and the way we just go with it…are eating me up.

We do dumb stuff! Really dumb!

Essential oils

I can’t talk about my essential oils (distilled from plants)…not for real and in an open forum. I can’t tell you all of the reasons why I love them.  I can’t tell you the amazing things they have done for my family.  No chemicals.  I could…but I’d be in trouble. They gave us a list of words we can’t use…which are the very reasons most of us use the oils to begin with.  Things like…antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, arthritis and so many more.  I’m a nurse for crying out loud.  These words are in my everyday vocabulary.  But yet I can’t say them when speaking about my beloved essential oils.  The same oils I have witnessed do amazing things without chemicals and side effects or worrying about addiction issues.

I can’t tell you that just recently I rubbed lemon oil on my husband’s upper right quadrant after days (week) of intense, sudden, sharp cramping and pain discomfort (I’m not allowed to say pain when referring to my essential oils). The pain discomfort stopped immediately and hasn’t returned.  It’s been 4 days.  But it would have been appropriate for me to tell you if we had gone to the urgent care and received a narcotic to help with the pain. We couldn’t have gotten in to see his physician so quickly.  We could have had to go to urgent care.  However, unless there isn’t really another option- urgent care isn’t something I’m fond of using for my family – for several reasons related to my nursing career…people use them as their primary physician, meds are over-prescribed/over-used/abused, care isn’t coordinated well, etc.  But absolutely…sometimes urgent care is needed.  But if I can wait – I go to the appropriate physician I have a history with.

We could have gone and had him examined and gotten some medication (narcotics for the pain?) and we would have been told to follow up with our primary care physician. Instead, I rubbed lemon oil on the spot that was bothering him.  It stopped.  It hasn’t occurred again in 4 days.  This was happening multiple times a day.    No narcotics. No unnecessary prescriptions or costs.  No side effects. No medication interactions. I’m not proposing we don’t see physicians. We need them.  They are smart.  They diagnose and treat.  But we can treat differently…without always prescribing medications.  But isn’t that why we go to the doctor?  Are we looking for a pill? A quick fix? He will see his primary care physician because we believe in wellness appointments and getting to the root cause. We have a choice. We are empowered.

There are so many things we could learn about using essential oils and so many healthcare issues including addiction. Truly. There are things that could possibly help with so many of the underlying causes of addiction.

Who benefits when more and more pharmaceuticals are prescribed creating side effects and drug /drug interactions?

Medical marijuana

Up until about 3 years ago – I NEVER would have said it…but I support the use of medical marijuana. I wouldn’t have supported it because…my mother was an addict and I was always told it was a gateway drug.  True. It can be.  Just like Lortab, Percocet, Xanax, Klonopin, OxyContin, Oxycodone Ativan, etc. …

I’m certainly not advocating the recreational use of marijuana just like I’m not advocating the recreational use of Lortab, Percocet, Xanax or any of the prescription medications we know could be an issue.

It’s a plant. People have had great results with treating anxiety, nausea, and so many other things.

Who benefits when pharmaceuticals are used even if medical marijuana would be better for the individual person?

Health Care Quality Measures

Quality measures are items that Medicare reimbursement will eventually be based upon. Some of the quality measures include things like…Tobacco use assessment and cessation intervention, weight screening, depression screening, vaccination information, etc.  Really tobacco cessation?  Healthcare providers are judged on whether their patient’s smoke or not? How successful has this program been in all the years that it is been measured?  In my experience, most of the smokers will tell you – “I don’t want to quit smoking.  I enjoy it.”  Tying Medicare reimbursement to physicians/agencies/organizations providing health care to smokers who don’t want to quit smoking – is craziness!

What about tying reimbursement to physician’s/agencies/organizations who perform pharmacogenetics testing, MTHFR testing or other testing they actually have some control over and could see positive results from?

Medication reconciliation is another quality measure for ACO’s – I’m a HUGE supporter of medication reconciliation.  But come on!  How is it truly measured?  The process is complicated.  How often is it truly done correctly?  How many people actually care that the patient is taking so many different medications and they can barely afford them.  Or some even have to choose between food and medication. There are over the counter medications to consider.  Several different physician’s ordering medications (primary, urgent care, specialists, etc.) for the same patient.  So many pharmacies being used…Wal-Mart or Walgreen’s $4 meds, mail order VA making it impossible for pharmacy’s to check for interactions for all of the medications. When interactions are identified – we are required to notify the physician (rightfully so). They are bombarded with so many interaction notifications because almost every medication has an interaction.  But yet our hands are tied.  Our elderly patients are falling, confused, having bad outcomes and taking so many different medications.  It’s not unusual to for them to take thirty plus different medications. Chemical interactions?

Where is the pharmaceutical company in all of this? Advocating the use of more medications…the newer more expensive ones?

How about a quality measure for reducing the amount of medications a patient takes? How about trying to eliminate some instead of just adding more and more.

Who benefits from less meds, less side effects, less drug/drug interactions, etc.?

Insurance/pharmaceuticals

Insurance companies’ control what medications can be ordered and what can’t by what they are willing to pay for. They don’t always pay for the medication that was proven to be the most efficacious but sometimes they go for the cheapest. Never mind what the physician has ordered and deemed most appropriate for the patient.  Sometimes it’s all based on cost…only.

Then there is the whole generic vs brand and the cost savings or profit pushing? Is there a bigger profit margin for generic medications for pharmacies? Will the person experience a different outcome using generic vs brand?

Insurance will pay for Lortab, Percocet, OxyContin, Oxycodone, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan and so many other medications that have helped so many but also because of addiction…have turned lives into shambles. So we can easily get our hands on cheap potentially devastating medications but we can’t talk real about oils that are known to relieve pain discomfort.  Why?

I can get the above medications paid for by our insurance company. No problem. But Deplin a medical food that treats some of the underlying causes of the reasons the above medications are prescribed for symptom control isn’t paid for by a lot of the insurance companies! This particular medicine, Deplin has helped someone close to me.  It significantly decreased panic attacks and anxiety.  Now our insurance refused to pay for it.  But they will pay for medicines that are used to treat the symptoms and are addictive.  Why? Too costly despite the potentially better outcome? What if the use of pain medication and benzodiazepines led to addiction problems…wouldn’t the cost of addiction treatment far out way the cost of the medication?

Who benefits when additional medication is needed and root causes aren’t treated?

Pharmacogenetics testing

Here’s more information on pharmacogenetics.

Medicare, Insurance and Veterans Administration were going to pay for this amazing testing to help get patients on the right medications from the beginning. Less error in prescribing the wrong antidepressant, antianxiety, pain medications and so much more because the test assesses the persons DNA to see which medications their body can most easily metabolize.

Who benefits when wrong medications are prescribed? Lots of them…?

MTHFR 

Here is more information on MTHFR$%&!

This isn’t being utilized enough to help treat root causes for things like anxiety, depression, heart disease, arthritis…etc.

Who benefits when root causes aren’t identified/treated and more and more medications are ordered?

Think about this….who loses a profit if people are using essential oils when appropriate, growing their own medical marijuana, taking less medication which in turn means combining less chemicals, less medication interactions/side effects, being prescribed the right medications (based on pharmacogenetics testing and their DNA) so millions of dollars aren’t wasted on the wrong ones and avoiding hospitalizations?

I’m not advocating that we don’t need medications or pharmaceutical companies. We need them. They save lives.  But let’s stop the crazy behavior and do what is right.  We would have decreased costs (profits too) and people would benefit more.

Let’s acknowledge the benefits of essential oils without having to worry about the FDA trying to regulate and the pharmaceutical industry getting their hands in it for their cut.

Let’s pay for beneficial testing like pharmacogenetics and MTHFR so we can have better outcomes and treat root causes.

Let’s pay for medications that treat root causes instead of just cheaper more addictive medications that allow for more profit.

Let’s stop treating addicts like criminals. Let’s quit doing dumb stuff where the people in need aren’t benefiting.

Let’s quit doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – Insanity!!

We have to treat the underlying cause…properly and most accurately.

We have a huge problem. It’s bigger than the FDA, Big Pharma…it’s the insurance companies, health care systems, us and so much more.  Sick people make someone a lot of money.

Be your own advocate. Find a great physician. Do your research.  Fight for yourself and others.  Get informed and empowered.

Do you see the craziness?

Kandy

 

 

 

 

 

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Pharmacogenetics and Medications!

Medications

I have a love/hate relationship with medication!

I’m a nurse…I know medications are needed and have saved so many lives. But I also know they have contributed to so many bad outcomes, addiction and even deaths. Which makes my heart hurt.

Through the years of my nursing career, it has not been unusual to find patients who are taking thirty different medications on a daily basis. While I am not a doctor, I do understand the process of how this can happen. I’m not blaming the doctors. Medications are over sought, over prescribed, over used, illegally obtained and abused. It has created a healthcare nightmare. We have to take a more proactive approach.

So here’s the frustrating scenario (greatly simplified)…

You go to the doctor for an ailment. He/she assesses, diagnoses and then prescribes you a medication. You go to the pharmacy and pick up your medication which is sometimes very expensive. You start taking it and after several days, weeks or months, you learn the medication won’t or isn’t working for you for whatever reason. You go back to the doctor. Another medication is ordered in addition to what you are already taking or in place of the other medication. You go back to the pharmacy and pick up the new medication which may be super expensive. You start taking it and after several more days, weeks or months, you learn this medication isn’t going to work either. You are completely frustrated. This cycle is sometimes repeated many times until a person gets the correct medication or gives up. Not to mention, it costs a fortune in money, a person’s time and bad outcomes (drug/drug interactions, side effects, hospitalizations, deaths, etc.).

I’m sure you have experienced this or you know someone who has.

In comes Pharmacogenetics…What a great tool!

So what is Pharmacogenetics?

It is the study of how our body breaks down (metabolizes) and responds to medications based on our own unique genetic makeup. Based on the genes we inherited, we respond differently to medications or experience different side effects from the medications. This means our individual response to a medication that is effective or safe for another person may be less safe for us.

This can help doctors prescribe a medication based on a person’s genetic makeup and the way their body metabolizes (breaks down) certain medications. The theory is – it will take some of the guess work out of the process. There are so many for a doctor to choose from, I can’t even imagine the difficult process they go through. I’m so excited to share because I know so many can benefit from this test.

It is a very simple buccal swab. From what I understand, many insurance companies will pay for this test including Medicare. It is expensive but in the long run it has the potential to save so much…lives, heartache, money, time, bad outcomes, etc.

 Here are some great links to give you more information:

CBS Pharmacogenomics

Millennium Health Pharmacogenetics testing

pharmacogenetic tests

Pharmacogenomics – National Institute of Health

Sounds simple enough! Right? The test itself is very simple. It is a simple buccal swab of the inside of the cheek. The problem is – there are so many physicians who don’t know about the test or who can’t interpret the results. So do your research in finding one. Find out if your insurance pays for this test. Find a doctor who is knowledgeable about pharmacogenetics, who will order the test and who understands how to interpret the results. Get a copy of the results for future use.

Even though I currently don’t take any medication other than my vitamins and use my essential oils, my plan is to take a proactive approach and have this test completed on myself, because at some point I will need medications. I want to be proactive and be in a place where I can give my doctor a copy of the report and she/he can order the right medicine for me. I want to cut out some of the trial and error.

I can’t help but wonder how this testing might have helped my mother in her health and battle with addiction. If her underlying issue of anxiety would have ever been controlled in her early years, maybe she would have been on a very different path.

Finding the sweet side of crazy!

Kandy

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