And I was given pills that looked like this:
Same color, VERY different shape. But, I was told both pills/meds are equivalent. And I was okay with that until I had my next blood work done--and my blood levels were unstable, again. It took me another round of blood work a few months later before I realized that my new problem was tied to the change in my meds--and I was correct. After discussing this with my MD, he prescribed Levoxyl, no substitutions, and my levels have been stable ever since. Another lesson learned.
A few months back, K saw his doctor and pointed out a bit of a rash/dry skin that he had behind his knees. It was diagnosed as a kind of dermatitis and a prescription for a lotion was written. K filled the prescription and his rash was taken care of in good time. The other day, he brought the bottle to me and asked if I would order a refill for him. The name of the medication--mometasone--seemed familiar to me, so I had to look it up. As it turned out, K's lotion for his rash is the same medication that I use as a nasal spray for my sinuses, Nasonex. Same drug, different forms, for two quite different problems. Interesting.
A while back, I wrote about a friend of mine who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. He ultimately decided to have a bone marrow transplant and has had some set-backs and side-effects from it. He wasn't tolerating a medication called tacrolimus--which is given as an immunosuppresant agent for those having transplants--very well and the doctors were needing to do some adjustments. The name of the drug sounded very familiar to me, but I put the thought out of my mind. After all, I knew of no one else that had received a transplant of any kind, so I shouldn't be familiar with the drug. And then one day, I reached for one of my many lotions/potions/ointments that I use for the psoriasis I still have and there was a tube of Protopic, which is the ointment form of tacrolimus! I guess I shouldn't be so surprised, as psoriasis is an auto-immune disease and the immune system needs suppressing in order for the skin to heal, but it stunned me, nevertheless. It's hard to wrap your mind around two such different uses for the same drug.
With these three examples alone, I can't imagine what it takes for doctors to 'get things right.' And 'get things right' is what they do more times than not. While their mistakes can, and often do, have life-ending consequences, it still is a wonder that more mistakes aren't made. Whenever I think about it, I have a new respect for doctors and all that they know.