Individual Reactions to Medications

Lynne Taetzsch Health Guide
  • At our last bipolar support group meeting, one of our members mentioned that he had had a terrible reaction to Risperdal. Instead of helping calm him down, the Risperdal made him so jittery he thought he might jump out of his skin. Another member said she was prescribed Risperdal to help her sleep, and was knocked out for two days.  A third person said that cutting her 25 mg pill in half did the trick.  She was able to get a good night’s sleep without feeling drowsy the next day.

    As we discussed other drugs that evening, we found similar discrepancies in the way people reacted to them.  Sometimes the difference was a matter of finding the correct dose, and sometimes it was the side effects – or lack thereof – that made a drug work for one person and not for another.
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    At the same time she was reporting problems with her drug regimen, a new member said that her doctor was not returning her calls.  This is definitely a problem.  It is vital that you keep your doctor informed about how your drugs are working, especially when you have just started a new medication.  And if the drug is not working for you, or causing bad side effects, then the matter is urgent.  A doctor who won’t return your urgent calls is failing you big time.

    We urged this member to find a new doctor right away.  Taking the wrong medication, or the wrong dose, can be life-threatening.  For example, one of our members informed us that she had just gotten over lithium poisoning as a result of having been prescribed too high a dose.  If you are on this drug, you should be getting regular blood tests to determine whether or not you are being given the proper dosage.

    One of the benefits of a support group is that members can discuss medications and share results.  This can be very useful information as long as we keep in mind that what worked wonders for one person may not do the same for another.  The person we should work closest with to get our meds right is our doctor.  

Published On: April 09, 2007