noun Pharmacology .
the use of two or more drugs together, usually to treat a single condition or disease.
Courtesy of www.Dictionary.com
Here is a definition of Polypharmacy I found on Dictionary.com . I like this particular definition because it really defines how Vince’s doctor is using the technique. I found quite a few definitions that pointed more to the aspect of patients seeking out medications from different doctors and getting them filled at various pharmacies. Those definitions may be true however I personally do not know. I imagine from all the horror Hollywood stories of overdose on prescription medications, that this does happen. But that definition did not seem to be the real medical definition of the term, in our eyes. So I came up with the one above.
This has been on my anxious mind lately. We have talked about the subject with Vince’s pain management doctor many times. He understands our concern and will always take time to explain why polypharmacy is being used with Vince’s condition even though he knows he has explained it more than once. He has even agreed that it is good to be concerned and to ask questions in our situation.
If Vince expresses that he feels the pain is starting to get a little out of control, his doctor will suggest changing the dose on a current medication or suggest adding a different medication that has not been tried before. This is what I love about this particular doctor. He is always willing to listen and try new treatments. He has even thought out of the box and tried medications that are not normally used to treat Neuropathy, and some have actually pleasantly surprised us. The main one that sticks out in my mind is when he gave him a spray that heart patients normally use orally. He instructed Vince to spray it on his legs and feet when the pain spikes. He did tell us to watch for low blood pressure but explained the proper way he wanted it used topically. Vince and I both left the office thinking this was crazy. How can this work when the medications specifically for Neuropathy don’t even always work. Well, it worked and it is actually one of the few medications that gives him real relief! This is why listening and never being afraid to try new and different things is such important qualities to us in a pain doctor. Not all doctors are this open minded.
The doctor also explained that the use of polypharmacy with Vince’s medications is helping to keep the narcotics at a minimum. Yes, he is a pain doctor and he prescribes Vince pain medications. They are however very controlled and are kept at a minimum as much as possible. He explained to us, that by adding all of these other various “neuropathy” specific medications, it is helping to keep the narcotics at a minimum. I liked this explanation. I never quite understood why they would constantly add more and more medications to his regimen. I thought, this can’t be right. This is getting a bit ridiculous. But after he explained in detail why he was treating Vince in the manner that he was, it made sense. I look back to all of the appointments where Vince went at his wits end hoping for some relief. If the doctor were to just increase the pain meds every time instead of looking for alternatives, it would have spiraled out of control. I feel a good pain doctor does not let this happen. To the contrary, he also doesn’t deprive Vince of medications and say tough luck as some do. He always has something new to try. To give him hope of relief. He seems to really understand the disease and genuinely wants to help Vince get out of pain.