More about Glenn
After Glenn was found to have high cholesterol about 20 years ago, he tried a low-fat diet for six months with no effect. He then started on cholesterol-lowering medicine, currently Crestor, which reduced his cholesterol levels. Glenn recently noticed problems with his memory and discovered on the internet that long-term treatment with statin drugs, such as Crestor, can affect some people’s memory. He is now wondering whether to reduce the dose or stop taking his Crestor and risk a heart attack, or to continue on with it.
Around 1998, Glenn first noticed he was having issues with his mood and was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and adult ADHD. Glenn tried a number of medicines to manage his bipolar disorder, including many antidepressants which didn’t work, until he tried a combination of lithium and testosterone in 2008. He is still on these and they have made an amazing difference to his life. While on lithium, Glenn has had to learn to maintain a constant salt intake and steady water balance, and has had side effects such as distressing diarrhoea, hair loss and hand tremors. Despite these problems, he wouldn't want to change any of his medicines as he is so much happier, more social and now feels like a normal person and so has learned to live the side effects.
Glenn had no idea he had adult ADHD until his psychiatrist gave him a trial of dexamphetamine, which improved his concentration within 40 minutes. He still takes dexamphetamine, which has had the unfortunate side effect of making Glenn clench his jaw and grind his teeth, causing damage to his teeth. However, since he started on Antenex to relax his muscles these side effects are not as bad.
Before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and adult ADHD, Glenn used to self-medicate with narcotics to try to relieve some of his distressing symptoms. For two to three years, Glenn was exhausted as besides working full-time, he would also spend many hours a day ‘doctor shopping’ across Sydney to obtain pethidine scripts to try to feel better.
Glenn found it easy to start taking medicines for his bipolar and ADHD, as it was a novelty discovering how much they improved his life. Once his conditions stabilised and he felt well, remembering to take all his medicines became a bit of a chore, and sometimes Glenn would stop taking them because it all seemed too hard. When this happened, he could feel himself slipping backwards (reduced energy levels, spiralling into depression), so he would try harder to remember to take them regularly with the help of alarms on his watch and phone, and packing his tablets into pill boxes, but he still wasn’t always remembering his medicines. He then found the NPS MedicineWise app for his iPhone, which has made things a lot easier, with its alarms and medicines record that he can show doctors and his pharmacist.
Glenn is very happy with his current GP who now provides most of his scripts, so now he just sees a psychiatrist every six months. He has a great pharmacist and Glenn appreciates receiving text messages letting him know when his repeat scripts are due. If he texts back ‘Yes’ his medication is ready for him when he next visits the pharmacy and since he started using this service he has not run low on any of his medicines.
The couple of hundred dollars he spends on his medicines each month is a big issue, even when he is working. He has let his previous employers know what medicines he is on and why, especially as he has been working in mines where he has had to undergo drug testing. He has a letter from his GP on his personnel file so if any issues arise, he refers people back to his manager and his GP’s letter. He has also let a couple of trusted friends know about his medical conditions and medicines, and feels comfortable if they ask him if he has taken his medicines if they notice subtle changes in his mood or personality. He feels these people act as a back-up for him.
Despite the problems associated with some of his medicines, especially lithium, Glenn never wants to stop taking his medicines because they work so well for him and he is much happier with his life.