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Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Case of a Sequestered Mind

11 Jan, 2011 -  The list of psychopharmaceutical chemicals forced on my mother included Zyprexa, Celexa, Neurontin, Depakote, and Ativan,  Mind you, my mother suffered a closed head injury in 2003 and developed expressive aphasia.  She was never evaluated by a neurologist as I requested, nor did she have rehab or speech therapy. The drug interaction profile will tell you that many of these are NOT supposed to be given together, and the research tells you that Zyprexa is not for Elders, especially women. My younger brother, a MetLife salesman, refused to act to create a more beneficial care plan for her.

Now, a new report has been issued regarding new findings that many "prescriptions for the top-selling class of drugs, known as atypical antipsychotic medications, lack strong evidence that the drugs will actually help" and they are costing billions and "serious effects as weight gain, diabetes and heart disease..."

Too late for my mother, but not too late for you.

December 18, 2010 - Please refer to this recent Natural Health News post: Drug Death FDA and YOU

Truth telling seems to be the Mode O'Day with WikiLeaks being front and center in the news. In some small way this is one of my WikiLeak-type stories -

Imagine losing your ability to communicate following a closed head injury.  Imagine knowing that excellent neurological care is locally available in your community but the person with Power of Attorney over your care refuses a family member’s request to take you there.
On the surface this sounds cruel at the very least.  In the depths of this many-year saga it is very ugly.
Just the other day I was working on some drug information for a client in my Health Forensics® program.
At the same time I was listening to a very good discussion of problems with health care in the US, especially drugs that kill about 300,000 people annually, and posted an informative article on the subject to my blog.
This topic is very important to me because a related event happened in my family.
Given the fact I grew up I a medical family I had a different involvement than this brother, younger by seven years.  I went in to the medical field; he is a commissioned salesperson for a major insurance company offering annuities and mutual funds.
Sometime early in 2003, although I have never been told the exact date, my mother suffered a closed head injury. From what information I was able to scout out there was no definitive proof whether my mother fell and hit her head or experienced a stroke.
This brother was given power of attorney as the youngest, so my mother explained. When my mother called me to tell me this both my youngest daughter and I expressed concerns.  We suggested someone outside the family would be best.
As PoA, my brother took more than three months to contact me to tell me about the event.  During this time he either sold or removed all of my mother’s belongings, or gave items to other family members.  He never asked me if there were things I wanted, or that my mother wanted me to have: there were. 
After a very brief sentence or two I was told that my mother was at the same place where she had been living since a year after my father died, except in the nursing home division.
Even though I was experiencing shock because of the way the information was manipulated, I managed to order flowers and sent a card to my mother.  I called the facility to and to further exasperate the situation, the so-called “nurse” had no idea my mother had a daughter, and there was no mention of me in any of my mother’s records.
I did however manage to get a list of the drugs being prescribed to my mother, and found out who the attending doctors were.
Now for the third shock wave!  The list of drugs was so egregious and inappropriate I could not grasp what was happening.  Other than this being the typical way nursing homes, even the “5 star” rated one like this place, do things.  I hoped I’d find otherwise.
I phoned the GP internist.  He was not used to being asked questions so he complained to my brother.
Then I phoned the psychiatrist (another red flag) to ask about the drugs he was prescribing, seven to be exact.  I asked how he was able to diagnose my mother’s condition if she was experiencing aphasia.  He could not answer yet gave a diagnosis of depression.  He also diagnosed leg pain but could not explain why he gave Neurontin to someone who could not tell him if she had this complaint. Neurontin causes garbled speech among its other wonderful side effects; are you thinking what I thought?

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia experience difficulty reading and writing. An Aphasia Therapy Program is an intensive communication program designed to improve communications skills, reconnect with those around them and attain a greater quality of life.  Based on recent studies, individuals with aphasia greatly benefit from treatment provided intensively over a short period of time. 
I still couldn’t figure out why my mother did not have a neurologist as her primary provider.  When asked of the Director of Nursing, she said, “She had an MRI in the hospital, so she must have had one”.  She added later in our discussion that “…you know how those people are after they have a head injury” after I asked who was supplying prescription drugs to the facility and had they provided a drug interaction profile on the drugs prescribed for my mother.  She never answered this line of questions.
I ran a drug interaction profile the next day and again was shocked, so I called a colleague at the FDA who was one of their top pharmacologists.  He specialized in psychiatric drugs.
Politely he said, “This combination would knock out a healthy 30 year old!” and went on to express his real concerns.
I passed this on to my brother and asked that he take her to the neurologist for a real evaluation and to see that she received proper care, including speech therapy. 
Even though for the last couple of years he rails that I was unwilling to collaborate, my brother refused to take my mother to one of the top neurologists in the country.  He refused!  His excuses were 1) he would have to pay for her transportation there (not more than 5 miles one way with a nurse to accompany her), and 2) the nurse told him he would have to move her if she came off the drugs.
Not too long after this my mother was taken to the hospital for hip surgery following a fall.  The nursing director told me my mother would never fall because she had a “lap buddy”. 
A “lap buddy” can be a restrain, which requires an order, and it is to help prevent falls.  Whatever form used on my mother obviously did not protect her from falling and fracturing her hip, forcing her to be hospitalized and undergo surgery.
Now on opiates for pain, on top of her other sedating drugs (often used for staff convenience) what might be next?
The facility stopped sending me the drug data after this event.  To this day I still do not know if the Zyprexa given to my mother caused her to become diabetic.  My brother ignored the warning for suicidal ideation associated with Celexa (he believed drugs were necessary because my mother “tried to jump out a window”).  He too ignored the information I sent him stating clearly that Zyprexa is not for use with elderly patients, especially elderly women, and is a known cause of diabetes.
My little brother sees me as a trouble maker.  I see him as the thief who stole my mother’s mind.
If this is trouble making then I’m happy to continue providing Health Forensics® to all of the people who depend on me to help them understand the problems and nutritional deficiencies caused by drugs.
There is much more to this story.  I may tell it in the future.

DECEMBER 17, 2010,
What Happens When the Elderly Are Prescribed Antidepressants?

By Katherine Hobson

When you’re taking a lot of prescription medications, as many older adults do, there’s the potential for trouble.
An analysis of Medicare claims for 39,512 patients newly prescribed an antidepressant finds within a year, about a quarter filled other prescriptions for different antidepressants or other drugs that raised their risk for a major interaction. About 36% filled prescriptions for drugs that could cause moderate interactions, and about 39% filled prescriptions for drugs that risked minor or no complications.
More than 30% of those potentially major interactions involved pain meds, notably tramadol and oxycodone, according to the study, which was led by researchers from Thomson Reuters and published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
The analysis also found that side effects can play a role in adherence; less than half of the Medicare enrollees who had documented side effects within a month of starting an antidepressant filled a second prescription for the drug. And about a fourth who had documented side effects ceased taking antidepressants altogether.
This is only a piece of the much bigger issue of how — and what — to prescribe to the elderly. A study published earlier this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine examined the safety of painkillers in older people and found that opioids raised the risk of adverse events compared to non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Here’s the WSJ story on the study.
In a JAMA commentary published in October, Jerry Avorn, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, calls medication use in older people “arguably the single most important health care intervention in the industrialized world.” He says the U.S. health-care system needs to change to address the issue, including a greater emphasis in medical education on prescribing to the elderly, better representation of older patients in clinical trials and more coordinated care.
Note:  Some years ago I had the wonderful experience of working with a chemist who had some 47 patents to his name.  I came to know him because my business had done some work at his home, and I later asked him to analyze a compound I was interested in manufacturing.  He had expressive aphasia resulting from a stroke.  With his cooperation, his wife’s help, and some ingenuity, we designed a program for him. He regained speech; something my brother never let my mother experience.

I've served in executive positions in nursing homes.  I understand the games that are played, especially when corporations look for profit over people.  I have been a whistleblower in several Federal Elder care fraud cases. A reason why I am unwilling to sell my soul for a paycheck as I felt was an issue at the Naples FL facility where my mother was sequestered for the last silenced six years of her life.

Neuroprotective Compounds

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