Early today, a woman called in a refill for her Allegra ODT 30mg. We do not usually stock Allegra ODT. We have one patient who gets it, so we do not keep it on the shelves. If the woman orders a refill, we will order it for her, but we will not keep it on our shelves as long as no doctor is writing for it.
Of course, the woman came into the pharmacy in the evening looking to pick it up. We informed her that it had to be ordered, and it will be ready tomorrow.
"BUT I NEED IT!!!!," she exclaimed. "What am I supposed to do now?"
Not wanting to bring up some obvious points that I knew wouldn't get me anywhere with her, I apologized for not having it in stock, explained that we don't usually carry the medication, and assured her that it will be in tomorrow.
What I wanted to say to her (other than to ask her why she waited until she was out of her "necessary" medication before calling in a refill) was, "no, you certainly do not NEED Allegra."
Perhaps some people don't understand the definition of the word "need." You "need" something when you can't possibly live or you put your health at risk without out. For example, I need to eat food and drink water. A patient who had an organ transplant needs his anti-rejection medications. An HIV patient needs his antiviral drugs. A patient with pneumonia needs antibiotics.
No one NEEDS Allegra. Missing one dose of your antihistamine is not an emergency. The very worst thing that can happen is you get some itchy eyes and sneeze a bit more than usual. You will survive and with no long term adverse effects. Furthermore, if your allergy symptoms do get really bad, there are plenty of over-the-counter options available that will provide relief.
Sometimes I think that people must marvel at me. I haven't taken a prescription medication since 2001. It must be a miracle that I survived for so long without at least a course of antibiotics. I must be extremely lucky to never get sick.
I do get sick though. I get sinus infections. I get sore throats. I get chest colds. I don't get them often, but 2 or 3 times per year, I will get some kind of cold. Despite this, I don't take antibiotics. Why? BECAUSE YOU DO NOT NEED ANTIBIOTICS FOR 99.9% OF ILLNESSES. Sinus infections are almost always viral. Bronchitis is viral. The common cold is the rhinovirus. A Zpak or any other antibiotic does absolutely nothing against a virus. I know this. This is why I don't take them.
I'm also not a germophobe. Not at all actually. I don't shy away from contact with people. I don't wash my hands 7,000 times per day. It makes absolutely no sense to be afraid of germs. NEWS FLASH! You're constantly surrounded by germs. All day long, every single day you have bacteria on you. You can't get rid of it all, nor do you even want to. The harmless bacteria that is on floors, counter tops, and people's hands helps prevent more dangerous bacteria from growing.
I had a conversation on this very subject with one of our technicians. She said that she's so afraid of germs that she won't even use her sister's chap stick because she doesn't want to use something that touched her mouth. In response, I asked a simple question, "You would kiss someone though, right?"
She, of course, said yes, she would kiss someone. What's the difference??? Is the mouth not the most bacteria infested place on someone's body? People are afraid to shake someone's hand, but kissing a stranger they just met in the bar is no problem. It's fucking retarded.
You have an immune system for a reason: TO KILL GERMS! I promise that it does a pretty good job of this if you just let it. I'd like to think that I'm living proof of this.
I kind of got off on a little tangent, but the moral of this post is that a lot of people think their medication is much more important than it really is. Antihistamines are not necessary. Nasal steroids are not necessary. That Zpak for your cold is not necessary. Don't act like you're going to die if you have to wait an extra 12 hours to get it. To my knowledge, no death has ever been averted from taking Allegra.
**Of course, all these people who think they need far more medication than they really do ultimately pay my salary. I guess I shouldn't complain.**