After my stint was installed, I was put on Toprol XL (a Beta Blocker), Hyzaar (ACE with diuretic), Lipitor (cholesterol reducer), Plavix (anticoagulant) and 325 mg of aspirin.
Since I knew that all meds have side effects, I carefully scanned the Internet for all of the information that I could find. Noting that some of the meds have similar side effects, I put together a grid of side effects vs meds. That way, if I experienced a side effect, I could quickly cross reference it and note which med/meds could be causing the problem.
After about 3 month on the new meds, I became terrible absent minded. It started out small at first. I would misplace my car keys or my coffee cup, little things that we all do. But then, things got more severe.
I would do things like get in my car and start driving only to realize that I couldn’t remember where I was going. And once I went to Meijers (regional grocery chain), bought a whole cart load of groceries and then left them in the parking lot. Fortunately, someone hollered at me so I stopped and put the groceries in the car.
At work, I started becoming confused. My boss would tell me to do something and I would think that I had done what was requested only to discover that I hadn’t done it at all. Or worse, I would do something and not remember doing it. In short, for a year, I lived like I was drunk, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sometimes my speech was even slurred and my motor skills impaired.
I thought I was loosing my mind. I checked and rechecked the Internet for side effects of the drugs and none of these symptoms were listed. Have I suffered a stroke I wondered? Do I have a brain tumor? The doctors were at a loss. I was at a loss. My boss was at a loss as I was no longer dependable. People at church were beginning to whisper. I was going through life in a haze; a fog that never seemed to lift.
I was told when I started the Plavix that I would only have to be on it for a year. And what a year it was.
If I nicked my self while shaving, it might take me 20 minutes to stop the bleeding. Routine cuts and scraps became major first aid events. I was now a bleeder who had to watch every move and action closely to insure that I didn’t injure myself. Bruising was now a regular part of my life. But I told my self that I would soon be off this drug and to just bear with it.
When my year was up, I went back to my doctor and told him that it was now time to get off of this drug. Reluctantly he checked my charts but in the end agreed that it was time to stop this drug. Yes!!
I looked forward to a normal life where a shaving nick did not require 20 minutes of first aid. Plus, I looked forward to a time when a simple bump did not produce a massive bruise. And I received all of these plus something more.
Six weeks after leaving the Plavix, the fog in my head lifted. My absent mindedness went away or should I say it returned to its normal level. I no longer felt like I was drunk and I could remember and think clearly again. I wasn’t loosing my mind after all. It was the Plavix all along.
I hit the internet again only this time, I started from the end of my Google search and worked forward. Bingo! I found the side effects that the manufacturers don’t acknowledge; I found the side effects posted by the drug users themselves.
In addition to the side effects, I found some articles on wrongful death law suits that are in progress right now. It seems that Plavix is believed to cause fatal brain hemorrhages. Some speculate that Plavix is more dangerous than Vioxx.
I don’t doubt that Plavix aided in my recovery, but it could also have cost me my job or even killed me.