Me and 2.8 MILLION PEOPLE this month have been infiltrated by the nasty cold and flu invaders. This cold has wrecked havoc on my immunity for the last few days. The symptoms have been heavy head, congestion, sneezing, mild lingering headache, watery eyes, and fatigue. I am tired and irritable!
In hopes of gaining some symptom relief, I begin popping 12- Hour Sudafed sinus congestion and pressure pills. Within a few hours of taking the pills, my eyes stop watering, and the vice around my head seems to lessen, HOWEVER, the relief is brief and minimal! Regardless of relief, I still feel terribly sick, forcing me to dismiss the moments of interim relief. Yet, every 12 hours I find myself popping these pills!
MOST of us have sampled majority of the cold medicines starring back at us on those cluttered store shelves. Temporary and minimal relief are your best hope. The medications won’t cure, they are meant to push us through the worst. We get desperate for any relief. Our medicine cabinets reflect that desperation! We pop a pill because desperate times calls for desperate measures!
THANK GOD, eventually in time, my immune system will dry up this cold, and it will be ridded from my body.
Wouldn’t it be comforting to know that a positive outcome awaits after illness ran it’s course?
Living with a vestibular(balance disorder) condition that is chronic, I have taken my fair share of vestibular suppressant medications. Lying there doped up on meclizine or valium in hopes of temporary relief that never came. The medications I have tried so far have been unsuccessful and have been counterproductive due to unpleasant side effects.
Which brings me to December’s 12-12-12 project member Pam. Pam is living with Generalized Dystonia. Dystonia being a disorder of movement.
According to Pam’s fantastic blog, Dystonia Muse: Chronicles Of A Dystonia Muse…
Our muscles themselves are fine. They’re just receiving confusing instructions (“mis-transmissions”), like a mis-coached football team running around in senseless patterns, no offense or defense, as they fail to accomplish coordinated plays let alone score a touchdown!
In a blog post titled, “Introducing My Meds” , Pam describes medications that treat Dystonia…
Medications “treating” Dystonia are like mediocre relationships – we make do notwithstanding their pitfalls because there’s nothing better waiting on the horizon. Admittedly, we tend to engage in a bit of a juggling act, no one pill supplying everything we need.
Pam finds herself consuming a triad of medications. Her choice of cocktail:
1.) Trihexyphenidyl (Artane)- A member of the Anticholinergic family. One of the more common prescribed medications for Dystonia patients. This drug is responsible for blocking a neurotransmitter (chemicals in the body that transmits signals between nerves) called acetylcholine(signal transmitter from the nerve endings to the muscles)!
Pam says: “Artane appears to be the muscle in my regimen. Artane is an anticholinergic that blocks the action of acetylcholine.”
2.) Sinemet( Carbidopa/Levodopa)- This drug is referred to as a Dopaminergic agent. It’s known to increase brain dopamine (Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that initiates and controls movement as well as balance).
Pam says: “Sinemet (Carbidopa/Levodopa) is used to synthesize dopamine. Both Artane and Sinemet are indicated for Parkinson’s. They are also used with Dystonia (off-label) to varying effect. Dopamine deficiency is the primary culprit in Parkinson’s, causing an imbalance between acetylcholine and dopamine in the movement centers of the brain.”
3.) Zonegran- Is known as an anti seizure medication. Anti-seizure medications can also help inhibit neurotransmitters.
Pam says: “I’ve never met anyone who takes Zonegran for Dystonia and occasionally come across someone on Tegretol. My assumption with the anti-seizure meds is that the involuntary muscle contractions can perhaps be approached as mini-seizures, but that’s purely my own logic.”
SIDE NOTE: Thanks Pam for the crash course on Dystonia medications!
Remember, all Dystonia meds are prescribed off-label, meaning they aren’t indicated to treat Dystonia. Bottom line, the doctors can’t know why these drugs work until they understand Dystonia’s underlying mechanisms. And remember, response to medication is variable. What helps one patient may not help another.
My dream would be a cure for vestibular and movement disorders! However, if hope comes in 1000 mg tablets, that is a prescription I will happily fill!
I realize I am asking for hope in pill form, but It’s my hope that in Pam’s lifetime and in my lifetime, medications become available that kick these terrible illnesses into complete remission! We need MUCH MORE than temporary and minimal relief.
P.S. Be kind to EVERYONE this Holiday Season. Some of your family and friends are taking a cocktail of medications, pushing themselves to participate in holiday gatherings.
U.S. Has Typical Flu and Cold Season, Despite Warmer Winter
Dystonia Medical Research Foundation- Glossary
Mayo Clinic- Dystonia: Treatment and drugs
Holistic Online- Parkinson’s Disease
Dystonia-Spasmodic Torticollis: Oral medications and Dystonia
Dystonia-Spasmodic Torticollis: Dystonia and various medications
WiseGeek- What is Dystonia