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Lifetime Prescriptions

No limit to the refills needed for maintenance prescriptions
  [vote for,

In The US, prescriptions exist for many non-abusable yet life improving medicines. Let's take asthma for example; the maintenance inhalers I use keep me from having troublesome attacks yet each inhaler is about the size of your thumb. Needless to say, I'm always out and I'm always at the end of my refill limit. This usually happens on weekends or vacations.

My doctor knows that I need this medicine and he also knows that I understand how to use it properly. As a result of this, he's reduced to writing me ridiculous prescriptions with 20+ refills (and these run out too.) Although these inhalers can cause some health concerns if they are used at silly levels, I think common sense combined with a doctor's sign-off should be all that's needed to arrange for a lifetime supply which could be doled out at only so many units a year. If you attempt to exceed this than you'll need to contact the doctor for an override.

jon3, Nov 28 2002

Buteyko http://www.buteyko.com/
It works. [angel, Oct 04 2004]


       I think that you're heading for a hopeless WIBNI with this, jon3. Expecting 'officialdom' to actually trust members of the public. I can see the be-suited bureaucrats recoiling in horror even as I write.
DrBob, Nov 28 2002

       Given that you're already on a repeat prescription, and you're getting the prescription repeated, this seems fairly reasonable. Your practitioner should still see you at intervals though.
Somewhat off-topic, [jon3], my wife used asthma medication for over twenty years with no long-term benefit. After a course in the Buteyko method (link) three years ago, she has used none since. You may want to try it.
angel, Nov 28 2002

       //which could be doled out at only so many units a year//   

       Your doctor currently regulates this. You can only get further medication (a repeat prescription) if he (a highly trained professional) deems it necessary. A responsible doctor will only "dole out so many a year". This is an excellent system.   

       If the visits to the doctor were scrapped, who do you suggest would ensure that you don't overdose? There is no central body to keep records.   

       A card that the patient carries to be stamped every time they receive a new batch of medication would be too prone to theft/forgery/black market exploitation. Doctors notes and judgement are the most secure way of ensuring that medication is distributed effectively, legally and safely.
Mayfly, Nov 28 2002

       [angel], thanx for the link.   

       On my travels, I have noticed that there are many countries where drugs are available "over the counter" that require precriptions elsewhere; your ability to purchase such medications is limited merely by your spending power. And yet society amazingly fails to collapse.   

       I am however very much in favour of the control of medications where there is a risk of drug resistance developing through incorrect or inappropriate use.   


       //who do you suggest would ensure that you don't overdose //   

       [Mayfly] - you would. It's quite hard to harm yourself accidentally with a lot of these things, and if people want to harm themselves deliberately then we might as well just let them get on with it; they tend to find a way anyway. Humans are pretty ingenious in that direction.   

       Simple question: "Can this thing be used to harm another person ?"   

       if YES - controls MAY be necessary.   

       If NO - Its' your life. How you screw it up is YOUR business.
8th of 7, Nov 28 2002

       As a diabetic who invariably runs out of insulin on the Friday afternoon of a Bank Holiday weekend (aargh!), or on one occasion, went to see a friend in Brighton and found my spare container was smashed on the journey, and had to traipse around the hospitals to find a doctor to do me a prescription, then conduct yet more traipsing to find a @!%?*ing pharmacist that was still open (...whatever noise is one step up from, "Aargh!"), I heartily put my thumbs up this idea.   

       Perhaps a time-limited (quarterly, six-monthly, whatever) drug-pass would be more secure though.
friendlyfire, Nov 28 2002

       "Automatic Prescription Machine" - drug-vending ATM ....
8th of 7, Nov 28 2002

       I firmly believe that you're overestimating the intelligence level of the general public.   

       Although it sounds like I am advocating a "nanny-state", I'm actually trying to save the health of the masses by preventing accidental overdose caused by stupidity/misinformation/desperation, and trying to save the resultant burden on the health service.   

       //if people want to harm themselves deliberately then we might as well just let them get on with it//   

       Two scenarios for you all:   

       a) Excessive use of the drug has no harmful side effects. So make it available without a prescription and anyone can swallow/inhale/inject as much as they like. No problem.   

       b) Excessive use of the drug has harmful side effects. So use a qualified professional to control the use of the drug and advise the user on the possible hazards of misuse and to ultimately ensure the user is not harmed by overdosing. A doctor can also make informed decisions about whether the drug is actually benefiting the user, or whether an alternative drug/treatment would be more appropriate. Studying the rate of usage is a key part of this decision.   

       Also, please see this from the doctor’s point of view:   

       Patient: “Can I have a lifetime supply of drug X please?”. Doctor thinks ‘No, you’re a stupid inbred hypochondriac who I wouldn’t trust to use an aspirin correctly’. Doctor actually says “?????……..”. I can imagine patient suing doctors when they are refused a lifetime pass.
Mayfly, Nov 28 2002


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