Russell's story: Living with multiple medicines

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

Age at interview: 59
Number of medicines: 15
Cultural background: Anglo-Australian with Scottish and English heritage



Russell is an audit and compliance officer who lives in Sydney on his own.


Current medicines and conditions

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

  • Lipitor (atorvastatin): cholesterol
  • Tritace (ramipril): high blood pressure
  • Diamicron MR (gliclazide): type 2 diabetes
  • Diabex (metformin): type 2 diabetes
  • Lantus SoloStar (insulin glargine): type 2 diabetes
  • NovoRapid FlexPen (insulin aspart): type 2 diabetes
  • Byetta (exenatide): type 2 diabetes
  • Effexor XR (venlafaxine): depression
  • Seroquel XR (quetiapine): anxiety
  • Astrix (aspirin): blood thinning
  • Somac (pantoprazole): gastric reflux
  • Panadol Osteo (paracetamol): osteoarthritis, aches and pains
  • Vitamin D3: vitamin D deficiency
  • Glucosamine: temporary relief for joint inflammation and tenderness from osteoarthritis
  • Olive leaf extract: coughs and colds 


About Russell

Russell started taking regular medicines when he was diagnosed with diabetes. He currently takes 15 medicines for diabetes, cardiovascular risk factors, depression and anxiety. Russell’s medication regimen is complex and requires a lot of organisation. He finds keeping an up-to-date medicines list very helpful and takes it with him when he sees new health professionals.

Russell was hesitant about starting insulin and has had concerns about the long-term use of his mental health medication. During these times he has found trusted health professionals and information from prominent organisations very helpful. 

More about Russell

Russell did not take many medicines before he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes halfway through 2000, which made starting the medicine regimen difficult. Russell now takes 15 different medicines including medicines for diabetes, cardiovascular risk factors, depression, anxiety and osteoarthritis.

As Russell’s diabetes has progressed his medication regimen has become more complex. After taking Diamicron and Diabex for some time, Russell’s endocrinologist told him he would need to start insulin. Russell was hesitant about this, and was particularly concerned about using needles. However, he got use to the insulin really quickly and had no real problems injecting. Using insulin at work and in other social situations did raise concerns for Russell about how other people would react. At first he would inject insulin only in private but he is now more confident with administering insulin around people. He has found that most people don’t notice or aren't concerned.

When initiating insulin, Russell was referred to a diabetes educator whom he found very helpful and a great source of practical advice. Russell sees a number of health professionals including a general practitioner, endocrinologist, gastroenterologist and a psychologist who specialises in diabetes and has sought out health professionals he trusts. Russell finds keeping a medicines list a useful way to keep track of his medicines and takes it with him when he sees new health professionals.

Russell likes to be well informed about his medicines and he searches for information on the internet, goes to talks and education sessions and reads books. He has found that there is a lot of information on the internet about medicines which is not reliable and a lot of websites that are of the opinion that you shouldn’t take some of the medicines he is on. Russell prefers to look at information from sources he trusts and finds information from prominent diabetes organisations very reliable. He has had a similar experience with people in his life and now chooses only to talk to people whom he trusts about his conditions and medicines. While he needs to be more open about his diabetes, particularly at work, he is very selective about who he talks to about his depression and anxiety.

Russell describes his medication regimen as relentless. His medicines are a part of his life he needs to consider and plan for every day. Russell makes use of his strong organisational skills to manage his medicines. With detailed planning about dosing times, backups and script refills he has still managed to travel, which he enjoys.

Russell has considered the prospect of coming off his medicines in the future, particularly his medicines for anxiety and depression. However, his focus is now about quality of life and he is accepting that long-term medicines may be an essential part of quality of life for him.


Listen to Russell's story

Russell often needs to work late or into lunchtime unexpectedly. He needs to anticipate these occasions and have his insulin for diabetes with him at all times.
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Russell attended information sessions conducted by a consumer organisation and joined an association which he has found helpful in managing his type 2 diabetes.
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Russell believes it is important to find someone who is non-judgemental and able to offer practical support.
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The Living with multiple medicines project was developed in collaboration with

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