You are viewing Allergic Living Canada | Switch to United States

Talking Allergies

* FAQ    * Search
* Login   * Register
It is currently Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:47 am

All times are UTC - 4 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:09 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I was in the hospital recently for a couple of weeks. Getting non medicinal ingredient info. on medications can be problematic. Pharmaceutical companies should be *required* to list non medicinal ingredients and provide that info. to pharmacists. (It can take days to weeks to find out the source of "starch" for instance. This according to a pharmaceutical company my pharmacy is currently trying to get info. from.)

Hospital staff should *not* give medication to an allergic patient without checking the ingredients first. Also, folks (i.e. nurses. hospital pharmacists) need to be aware that different brands of the medication contain different non-medicinal ingredients. (On more than one occasion, I was just given medication. No one checked the ingredients. You have to ask *every* time. Of course, when you ask, they may not be able to tell you.)

And even if you do look up the info. yourself in the CPS (I found the medical library in the hospital!) and discuss the ingredients of a particular drug with the floor pharmacist, you need to be aware that the pharmacy might turn around and give you a generic version of the drug *not* listed in the CPS which has ingredients to which you are allergic.) I didn't even know that there were generic versions until I got home and noticed that the pills supplied by my pharmacy are of a different colour and shape.

Also, I've discovered that you can't simply trust pharmacists to read labels for you. It's best to ask to see a *listing* of ingredients. The hospital pharmacist told me that this one drug would probably be okay for me as long as I didn't react to the corn oil. But it contained tocopherol. I mentioned that it was probably derived from soy, and he didn't believe me because he thought that in that case soy would be listed in the ingredients. (I guess he isn't familiar with the lack of labelling laws. He also didn't know that tocopherol usually is soy.) I think he felt I was questioning his professional knowledge. He was *certain* that he was right. After I pressed the issue, he reluctantly agreed to call the company for me. It didn't help any, because they didn't get back to him, and I needed to take the medication. I thought I'd be okay with highly refined soy especially because I was on high dose prednisone, but I do like to know what risks I'm taking ahead of time.

After I figured out that the nurses looking after me weren't always aware of the allergy situation, I started telling every nurse that I have epipens by my bedside. Important when trying new drugs.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:25 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6479
Location: Ottawa
I'm curious about how they identified you as having allergies. Dd gets a red hospital bracelet.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I had a red allergy bracelet as well.

Everyone knew about my allergies--that wasn't the issue here. AND I had specifically asked the pharmacist about the non-medicinal ingredients of all new medications. They actually did try to accommodate me (and in the one case, the pharmacist and the team of resident doctors working under my doctor went to a lot of trouble to try to find if they could get a liquid version of a particular drug by making an oral solution from an I.V. solution.) I assume they didn't think of the fact that the pharmacy might give me a generic version which I hadn't researched (and wasn't listed in the CPS--the pharmacists wouldn't even be able to tell what is in the drugs unless they are listed in that manual.) Maybe no one thought of the possibility that generic drugs have different non medicinal ingredients, especially because they aren't listed.

My situation is very tricky because cornstarch *and* potato starch *and* wheat starch are objectionable. not to mention soy and egg derived ingredients (although I believe I'm okay with highly refined soy products. soy is an anaphylactic allergen for me, though, so I'm careful.) Basically, I'm the patient from h double hockey sticks. (am I allowed to say that here? :wink: ) I'm not expecting miracles. Just to be informed about the ingredients of the meds I'm taking. If I'm likely to have a reaction, I feel I have the right to know in advance!

While cornstarch would *not* cause an ana reaction, when I'm not drugged on prednisone, it does cause a flare up of my autoimmune disease...the same autoimmune disease which landed me in the hospital.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:15 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6479
Location: Ottawa
Wow! Yes, you definately need special treatment. It certainly doesn't help that people forget that when we say food allergies we don't mean we only need to be careful of food but really anything that has food derivatives in it.

Because of your multiple allergens, you will have a hard time getting appropriate treatment while avoiding our allergens and are at high risk of accidental exposure. You would require special observation pretty much full time as a reaction can occur several hours after ingestion. I would suggest you speak to your allergist about preparing a special note that can be given to hospital staff to this effect. You may also want to discuss the issue with hospital admisistration prior to elective surgery to see what they can do. Would your insurance plan cover the use of an aide to supervise for reactions?

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
good ideas, Susan. Thanks. I should get a note from my allergist for the future. It might not have helped in this case, however, because my allergist was in communication with my doctors. The one drug really was an oversight, because the day before I was given the medication, I specifically discussed the likelihood of me reacting to the potato starch in the name brand medication with my doctors. They along with the pharmacist did research on alternatives for me. They somehow missed the fact that there the hospital had a generic version in stock!

My issues in the hospital are in some respects unique to my situation. But I was thinking that this is also a wider issue that impacts the allergic community. I would imagine that folks with a severe milk allergy for example might have difficulty with avoiding lactose-containing meds in the hospital. If I had an allergic child, I would *not* feel safe leaving him or her there.

Mistakes with food are easy to make as well. For instance, I was given cornstarch-containing yogurt on more than one occasion. (The one time, I was given yogurt in a smaller container without any ingredients. Fortunately, I never eat *anything*, not even "plain" yogurt without checking the ingredients.) I hadn't quite decided whether I would risk eating food prepared in a hospital kitchen. While I was deciding, my parents were bringing me food from home :)

The next time I land in the hospital (and there is likely to be a next time, unfortunately), I'll be better prepared. The one good thing about my experience: I was afraid that folks would not take my allergies seriously. That wasn't the case. I do feel that I was treated well, especially by my doctor and his team of resident doctors. I was also referred to a dietician who was amazing even if she couldn't do a lot for me in terms of getting me safe food from the kitchen.

Of course, in addition to be treated well, I'd like to be fully informed about ingredients!!!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
update: The pharmacist on my floor had given me his business card, and I so I emailed him. I'm pleased with how things worked out--he felt badly about the fact that I had been given medication with unknown ingredients. He said having me there as a patient was a learning experience for them. I'm sure the next person with complicated allergies on that floor will have an easier time of it. And I will feel safer if I end up in that hospital again (probable scenario according to my doctor.)

I raised some more general issues with the Ethics department---i.e. maybe the hospital should ask pharmaceutical companies about the ingredients of their medications in advance so that they will have that info. when they have to administer meds to patients. The idea: if hospitals demand this info., then maybe the pharmaceutical companies will find it more convenient to have that info. readily available. (Currently, it can take "several days to weeks" to get ingredient info. from suppliers.) I'm not sure if this idea will fly, but I feel like I'm trying to make a difference and that feels good. I'm also addressing some issues re: methods of meal preparation and cross contamination in the kitchen. I'm really impressed with the ethicist I spoke with.

While I now feel as comfortable as possible with ending up in this particular hospital, I'm still scared of hospitals in general!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:48 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6479
Location: Ottawa
I'm glad you contacted the pharmacist and the Ethics Dept. given the increase in allergies, it would make sense for the pharmacy to be up to date on, at the least, priority allergens.

I felt so much better after having spoken to someone in the food service at our local Children's hospital.

Educate, educate, educate!

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 4 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group