Q: Why won’t doctors listen to their patients any more? I’m old school and accustomed to a doctor listening to a patient’s concerns when prescribing medicines. Today it seems doctors just prescribe the newest and most expensive medicines on the market without actually knowing much about them. I’m referring to some of the cholesterol medicines out now. Well, I just don’t seem to be a candidate for any of the cholesterol lowering medicines. They seem to cause me more problems than they’re designed to cure.
For example, after only a few days on one drug, I was in so much pain I could barely walk or lift my leg. Can you imagine what it would be like driving and getting pulled over by a cop when all of a sudden sweat just pours off you and runs down your face like a faucet being turned on? Well, that’s what it was like. At first I didn’t connect all the side effects to the cholesterol med. When I did, I stopped taking the drug and the severe muscle pain in my thigh and legs went away within days. I’ve tried to explain this to my doctor, only to be met with a blank stare – and advice to try another medicine which wasn’t any better and even more expensive than the one before. I almost passed out when I took the prescription to my pharmacy and was told what it would cost to be filled.
I’m frustrated and tempted just to stop going to the doctor altogether. It’s as if they want you not to have a say in your own treatment. I tend to suspect doctors may not be reading lab results correctly – as has happened numerous times before – and which led to what could have been some serious complications.
I don’t fit the stereotype of the individual who doesn’t eat right. I don’t eat fattening or junk foods so it’s not a challenge for me to stay away from them. I usually eat lots of fish and vegetables and I love eating fruit. I only cook in olive oil. I exercise. Despite this, my doctor often tells me I’m eating ice cream and chocolates and that’s why my numbers are high. Sign me frustrated.
A: And I don’t blame you for being frustrated. Without knowing what medication you were on, I can only assume you were placed on a statin drug which is designed to block a substance in the body that produces cholesterol. Statins also reduce a patient’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease and countless other disorders, yet they aren’t right for everyone. Common and well-known side effects may include joint and muscle pain, constipation/diarrhea, nausea, type 2 diabetes, and liver damage (which is why physicians order lab work on a periodic basis). Statins can cause an increase in liver enzymes.
There are options to drugs in this category, yet that’s not at the top of your to-do list. First and foremost, you need a new physician. If your doctor is not willing to work with and believe you, find someone else who will. Speak with other family members or neighbors, or telephone your local hospital for a referral. Make an appointment for a get-acquainted visit. Explain your situation. If you don’t like what you see and hear, simply say thank you and walk away. There is help for you. Your problem may have a genetic overtone and have nothing to do with the secret indulgence in ice cream and chocolates your present doctor perceives you have. He’s wrong in not listening and you have every right to find someone in whom you can trust.