I staggered into the chemist absolutely worn out with coping with a relentless migraine which wouldn’t shift.
“Can I speak to the pharmacist please? I need to buy some Nurofen Plus”.
The pharmacist arrived.
“What do you want them for?”
“Migraine” I explained. “I’m attending a specialist about them and currently on Imigran for attacks. But sometimes it doesn’t clear the pain properly and I need Nurofen Plus. I’ve had this migraine for two days.”
“You might just need paracetamol.”
“No I don’t” I said. “It won’t do anything.”
“Well Nurofen Plus are addictive. You might have rebound headaches from taking it.”
“No I don’t” I said through gritted teeth. “I have migraine. I’m seeing a neurologist about it. He has advised me to take this.”
“Hmmmm. Well you can’t take it for more than three days.”
At this stage the room was spinning and I had to hold onto the counter for support. The pain in my head was screaming and I couldn’t stand the fluorescent light for much longer.
“Yes” I said “I know that.”
“Have you tried looking at your diet?” she said “Common triggers are things like chocolate or some spices. Do you think it could be something like that?”
I couldn’t believe it. “Yes” I said. “Of course I know all that. Listen I really need these tablets now. Do you think you could give them to me please.”
“Okay” she said reluctantly “Twelve or twenty four?”
“Twenty four” I said firmly. There was no way I’d just gone through that for twelve tablets.
So when I read yesterday that sales for codeine based products have fallen much more than expected since the new guidelines for selling them came in, there was not a particle of me that was surprised. Not an atom of my being.
Why are pharmacists giving such unnecessary grillings far over and above what they need to do to establish genuine need for the product? There was absolutely no need for her to go into that level of questioning – especially when I’d told her what and why and how I needed the tablets. I take them occasionally – for bad headache and period pain. I’m not fecking addicted – and I bet most of you who take them aren’t either. And it’s not nice to have to go into this begging and explaining with the rest of the pharmacy customers having a good listen in.
They shouldn’t be sold as over the counter medication any more if this is going to continue.
What have your experiences been?