Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Recently Taken

It had been a bad day. My salty summer cold had taken a turn for the worst. My throat felt like hot asphalt embedded with broken glass, my teeth felt as if each one had a deeply bored cavity (thanks to my congestion). Incongruously, despite nasal blockage one might find at the Hoover Dam, my nose dripped a clear, gelatinous fluid. Worse yet, as I had neglected to fill my asthma prescription, I felt like a very fat man was sitting on my chest, making breathing a concentrated effort. When I finally got my 'scripts filled, there was no immediate relief. As these drugs act cumulatively it would take 2-3 days before I felt better.

Cumulatively. It was this word that made me wonder what drugs and substances I had 'accumulated' during that day. So here it is, a clear listing of the known amounts of medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients I took over a sixteen hour period. Notably, the first four lines are things I take everyday.

Medicinal ingredients

50 mcg Salmeterol
250 mcg fluticasone propionate
10 mg montelukast sodium
50 mg zinc gluconate
25 mcg cyanocobalamin (B12)
25 mg Pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6)
350 mg Echinacea purpurea
400 mg Ibuprofen
650 mg acetaminophen
90 mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride
4 mg chlorpheniramine maleate
12.5 mg dextromethorphan hydrobromide

Non-medicinal ingredients

hydroxypropyl cellulose
magnesium stearate
sodium starch glycolate
silicon dioxide
calcium phosphate
microcrystalline cellulose
vegetable magnesium stearate
croscarmellose sodium
D&C yellow No. 10
FD&C Yellow No. 6
polyethylene glycol
titanium dioxide
zinc stearate
ammonium carbonate
Canada balsam
pine needle oil
sodium butylparaben
sodium cyclamate
sodium proplyparaben
tincture of capsicum

Oddly, the scariest part of the list is the non-medecinal part. Polyethylene? That was the coating of Sinutab pills. The same plastic used in Coke bottles and shopping bags? Wax? Camphor? Ammonium carbonate? This is just the stuff to keep the pills together but still - you have to wonder, is it doing more harm than good?

One thing probably did more harm than good. I see I inadvertently took a triple dose of the decongestant pseudoephedrine hydrochloride by taking a dose of Buckley's in the morning and two Sinutab capsules at night. It works by reducing the swelling of mucous membranes (ewww) in your nasal passages - but this drying out of your mucous leaves you dry, very dry. So dry, that you now lack your body's built-in protection from dust spores and other allergens. In other words, you are now more susceptible to things that may trigger an asthmatic episode. Bingo!

Oh well, (barely) live and learn.




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