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Shear Number of Meds Fighting SCLC


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My wife's recent addition of Memantine to her long list of pills prompted me to post a thread on the shear number of pills she is taking. She did give her permission as she always does when I post specific info. I was not sure if this thread was that important but decided to post anyway and let the readers decide on their own.

Prior to being dx with SCLC, my wife was taking 1 Levothyroxine (thyroid removal), 1 Fluoxetine (panic attack), 1 Propranolol & 1 Amitriptyline (migraine combo), 1 Montelukast (allergies), and 1 Atorvastatin (cholesterol). This was a total of 6 pills and seemed like one heck of a lot of pills to her daily routine.

My wife has had pills added and subtracted over the course of her cancer treatment but as of today, following are the additional "cancer related" pills: 2 Metoprolol replaced Propranol (heart arrythmia + migraine combo, see above), so we will count this as 1 additional. Added were 1 Amlodipine (blood pressure), 2 Pantoprazole (heartburn symptoms), 1 Dexamethasone (appetite), 4 Magnesium Oxide (Low Mg), 2 Potassium Chloride (Low K), 6 Sodium Chloride (salt pills - Low Na), and 4 Memantine HCL (memory). The additional pills total 21 for a daily total of 27 individual pills.

My wife hates taking the pills. Some are "horse pills" and some are tiny but, again, the shear number of them are "hard to swallow". LOL. Sometimes added to the above are the "as needed" pills such as 1 - 4 Promethazine (nausea), 1 - 6 Oxycodone-Acetaminophen (pain), 1 Clonidine HCL (emergency high blood pressure), and 1 Furosemide & 1 Potassium Chloride (swelling combo). Let's go ahead and add to this list some of the liquids. 1 - 6 Magic Mouthwash (mouth sores, fungus) and 1 - 4 Carafate (fungus, stomach irritation). I forgot to mention 2 Claritin (bone pain) when Neulasta is given for producing red blood cells after chemo and 2 antibiotics (infection).

How about the normal household items? 1 - 2 Tylenol (headache, fever), 1 Mucinex (cough, congestion), 1 Allegra (allergies), 1 - 4 Imodium AD (diarrhea), and 1 - 2 Miralax (constipation).

There are probably others that I have missed but you get the picture. I have long since taken over the pill giving duties. I have a list typed up of all her meds, including household items. The list includes both the common name (i.e. Elavil) and the "scientific name"? (Amitriptyline). Also, the list includes the tablet/capsule size (mg, etc.) and the dosage (2 x daily, etc.). It also includes the prescribing doctor or nurse practitioner and what the pill was prescribed for. For my part, I add descriptors such as "plenty of water", "take with food", and "do not crush or chew". Do not crush or chew is important. There were times when my wife had severe swallowing issues that I had to crush up some of the pills. Severe stomach or esophagus issues can occur and lessening of pill effect may occur. I no longer take a bag of meds to the hospital or doctors office; I just give them the list. I actually have the list memorized since I have been monitoring them since February. Many of the doctors and nurses, especially the hospital (they know us by name now) want to talk to me. They have learned to trust what I have to say. Funny thing is that I have learned a lot from them as they ask me stuff. I often ask questions back. I have learned which doctors and nurses to trust just by what they ask and how they respond to my questions.

I hope this thread has some use ... Steve


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Steve, that's really a bushel of pills and potions. I commend you on your good record keeping-- it's essential with so many different meds. Your wife is indeed fortunate to hav you to take care of her in this (and other) ways. All my best to both of you.

Bridget O


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hopefully the memantime will stop soon.  Is she on different doses each week?  I sometimes wish I hadn't given that one to my husband, but I can't go there.  That along with him taking Ativan to get thru the radiation, and the steroid.  It was a lot!  I hope she's doing well.

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