PT's story: Living with multiple medicines

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}-->Find out about PT and hear him speak about the value and challenges of taking multiple medicines.

Age at interview: 49
Number of medicines: 7
Cultural background: Indian



PT lives with his wife and children. Since settling in Australia five years ago he has worked in retail sales, following a former career in business in India.


Current medicines and conditions

Some medicines are taken regularly; some are taken only as needed.

  • Minax (metoprolol): high blood pressure
  • Piax (clopidogrel) : antiplatelet (prevention of clots)
  • Aspirin: thins blood
  • Somac (pantoprazole): counteracts stomach side effects from aspirin
  • Karvea (irbesartan): high blood pressure
  • Vitamin D: vitamin D supplement for vitamin D deficiency
  • Fish oil: supplement for overall health


Previous conditions and medicines discussed

  • Vitamin D deficiency: severe deficiency diagnosed nine months ago
  • Heart attack six months ago
  • Cardiac stents inserted five and six months ago following heart attack


About PT

PT had no major health issues until he had a heart attack six months ago. Since then he has been taking five medicines regularly for his heart, which he feels is a new stage in his life as he had taken very little Western medicine before. When he lived in India, PT had tended to use homeopathic and traditional Indian medicine and meditation techniques for any health issues, but accepts the need for Western medicines after his heart attack. PT also believes that Western medicine does give symptomatic relief, but is inadequate to treat the cause of disease. He is a little concerned about possible long-term side effects of his medicines but is unsure that he can find balanced information on this issue.

More about PT

PT was not aware of any major health issues until nine months ago when he experienced some minor chest pain. He had a stress test which was normal and saw his GP, who discovered he had high blood pressure and raised cholesterol and started him on medicines to treat these conditions. Around the same time PT was found to have a severe vitamin D deficiency and was started on vitamin D supplements.

Six months ago PT was admitted to hospital with a heart attack and immediately had a stent inserted and another stent a month later. While he was still in hospital he was started on aspirin and clopidogrel to thin his blood, metoprolol to lower his heart rate, and his previous cholesterol medicine was changed to atorvastatin. A month later he was prescribed Somac to counteract the side effects that aspirin can have on the stomach, and his atorvastatin dose was doubled.

His doctors emphasised how important it was to take his medicines as directed, especially in the first month after his heart attack when he was waiting for his second stent and his medical condition wasn’t yet stabilised. PT received information about his medicines from a folder of information given to cardiac patients and from a cardiac rehabilitation course he attended.

As he had never really taken medicines before, starting all these medicines felt like a different stage of PT’s life. He felt he had no choice but to take them as they were necessary and important for his health. When PT was living in India he had mainly used homeopathic medicine and Ayurvedic medicine to treat any health problems, rather than medicines manufactured by pharmaceutical companies (allopathic, modern or Western medicine). PT has accepted that as he is in Australia he needs to stick to his prescribed Western medicines, although if he had had his heart attack in India, he may also have considered alternative forms of therapy. He believes that to be able to really resolve issues that cause diseases one has to look further, particularly towards inner transformation with meditation that can ease stress and establish inner peace.

PT has a good relationship with his GP with whom he discusses his medical conditions and medicines. As he had ongoing dizziness, his GP suggested reducing the dose of Karvea to see how it affected his blood pressure, which PT monitors daily. His GP stopped the Karvea a few weeks ago and his blood pressure has remained low since.

PT found his medicine regimen quite difficult for the first month or two after his heart attack as most of the medicines were new and he was still physically weak. During this time, he found the medicines lists provided by the hospital pharmacy and the help of his family of great assistance. Things have become easier over time, as his medicines have been pretty stable since he had the second stent inserted and he has become used to the regimen. Now that he is pretty much back to normal and time has passed since the stress of his heart attack, PT is less focused on his medicines and occasionally forgets to take them.

PT feels that Australia has people from multiple cultural backgrounds with different physical, emotional, mental and cultural make-ups. Some of his doctors have been able to identify his different physical characteristics and modify their diagnosis and treatment accordingly.

Apart from feeling dizzy, PT has not had any major side effects to any of his medicines so far. He is, however, concerned that he may experience side effects in the future when he has been on them long term. He is not sure where he could find reliable information about these concerns as he feels that the available information may be a bit lop-sided in favour of research results from the pharmaceutical companies and from a Western medicine perspective, and that alternative views, especially from a holistic approach to medicine, may not be readily available.

While PT dislikes having his medicines linked so closely to his everyday life and the importance they now have in his life, he feels fortunate that they allow him to live as normal a life as possible after his heart attack.


Listen to PT's story

PT regards the start of lifelong medicines as a different stage of life which has an impact on everything.
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PT comes from India, which has a strong tradition of complementary medicines. He believes that the cause of his heart condition is implicated in what he lost when he immigrated to Australia five years ago.
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The cardiologist took the time to explain to PT the new medication he was prescribed while he was in hospital. This helped PT comes to terms with the way in which Western medicine approached his condition.
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PT relied on his family to help him establish good medication routines after he had a heart attack. They still offer significant support.
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PT has recently been in hospital for a heart attack. He found the written information that he received on discharge to be most helpful in managing his medicines when he was at home.
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The Living with multiple medicines project was developed in collaboration with

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