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Cold Treatment


mint
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Had the nicest surprise at the doctor's today and thought I'd post about it.

Caught the dreaded bug back in the UK last week.  Couldn't believe how warm all the houses and shops were (no central heating here for us) and I could literally feel myself incubating whatever it was.

Anyway, back here in France, I struggled on (as one does), catching up on things which were neglected in our absence.

By last night, I was on my last legs, coughing, spluttering, aching all over (OH had the man version, but we won't talk about that here).

Rang the doctor this morning, she gave me an appointment before lunch.  At the surgery, I had the most thorough check-up.  I explained to her that the grippe (I assumed that was what it was) had exacerbated my asthma and that I felt pretty ropey.

She wrote out my prescription which was as all doctors' prescriptions that I know of, that is quite  illegible.  To my surprise, when I went to the pharmacy, I found that, in addition to all my usual inhalers and asthma stuff, I was given antibiotics, a cough mixture, a nasal spray (worried me a bit when I read it was for "pulverisation nasale"!!) and ear drops for pains in my ears. And no, she didn't give me suppositories before you start smirking!

I was flabbergasted.  I felt she pulled out all the stops, giving me medication to tackle all my symptoms and see off the bug.  Also, it was lovely not to be made to feel that I was wasting the doctor's time (as had happen only too often back in Wales) and, before anyone thinks this is yet another bit of NHS or UK bashing, I will quickly add that that is emphatically NOT my reason for posting.

I am just so delighted at my treatment and I can't help wondering whether it's just my lovely doctor or is this Cold Treatment, French-style?

Having lived in different parts of England and Wales, I had never come across a doctor who had time for you.  I don't blame the doctors themselves (not much, anyway) because there always seem to be full waiting-rooms in surgery and everyone seems in a rush to get the consultation over and done with and send the patients on their way toute de suite.

Talk about being given first-class treatment, I don't think I'd ever felt so cared for by someone in the medical profession in a very long time. 

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Hi sweet17,

This if perfectly normal... for france!

I dont want to sound negative but I find the french health care totally OTT.

Do your own research, but too much medicine is bad for you, the environment, and the economy (people pay indirectly for the ttreatment through social taxes). It is also open to fraud and abuse.

Just a few headlines from a quick search ;

http://www.psychomedia.qc.ca/pn/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5517

90% of doctor visits end up with prescriptions in france against 43% in the netherlands

then this

http://www.isodisnatura.fr/actualite.htm?ID=71

"effets indésirables des médicaments, est responsable de 130 000 hospitalisations par an..."

and this

http://reformer.maintenant.over-blog.com/article-7044626.html

"social security deficit of 11.7 billion in 2007"

If I went to Boots, I know they would sell me what I needed, if I go to a pharmacy in france I find they will "push" at least another 2 or three products as well.

Rob

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As I have mentioned before, just because it is written on a prescription does not mean you have to accept it at the pharmacy.

If you feel or think the prescription is excessive, ask the pharmacist what this and that is for and if you don't want it, don't take it.

Simple.

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I'm with Crevette.  I chose our doctor here because the locals told me he was 'rubbish' on the basis that he prescribes as little as possible.  I would never expect to be prescribed any medication for a cold - though I might buy myself a packet of Dolirhume if I was feeling particularly bad.  Doctor isn't rubbish, in fact he is excellent and great believer in preventative medicine and lots of healthy food and exercise.  I think the French system is faster than the English one, but fast doesn't always mean better.  I've had excellent treatment in both countries - andmaybe I was just lucky but was always able to get same day appointment in UK, as I am here.

 

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Thanks for the comments, guys.  And yes, I am very well aware of iatrogenic or doctor-induced illnesses.

However, I think most people do know best what works for them.  Having had years of undiagnosed asthma, I had tremendous problems getting antibiotics, for example, before the symptoms got really bad and would be denied them, only for the doctors to back-track later when I was on the verge of respiratory failure.  I had wads of medical notes back in the UK which were seldom read and I felt "unbelieved" when I would plead for something for my respiratory infections.  This predispostion for my body to over-react has landed me in months, sometimes as many as five months, of ill-health over the winter when I would cough continuously and have to stay indoors for days at a time.  This was no fun at all for me as I am an outdoorsy type and go in for long walks and cycle rides.

For me, it was a lovely surprise to be taken seriously straight off.  And I do think that this time, I have been given the medication my condition dictates.

By the way, I just used Cold Treatment as a catchy headlike; it was rather more than a cold.

And I do agree about the NHS; at it's best, it's hard to beat.  Good Health everybody and don't overindulge on the Easter Eggs!

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In the UK there is better recognition amongst doctors as to the health risks in over prescribing antibiotics, as this is leading to increasing numbers of drug resistant bacterial infections. Apparently, the latest strain of TB to imerge is resistant to all known antibiotics.

On the basis that colds and flu infections are viral and therefore antibiotic drugs are useless in their treatment, doctors should only prescribe antibiotics when a patient presents with identifiable bacterial infections.

A doctor who too readily prescribes antibiotics is not doing their patients any favours, as a patient if they do fall ill with a serious bacterial infection is not going to thank their doctor, if they discover that their antibiotic medications are not working, because of historic over presription.

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I suspect the doctors here get financial kickbacks from the pharmaceutical companies; why else would they over-prescribe the way they do? on three occasions in the past four years here my young son has had three middle ear infections...each time we have walked out of the chemist with FOUR bottles of Orelox ( for the ear), THREE bottles of Dacudose(for the eye...why ? ), TWO of pneumorel (completely useless as he does not have a chest infection at all)  and he persists in prescribing my son vitamin D drops ( I had never seen vitamin D drops until I came to France) - which I never give him as he spends so much time outdoors. Considering just one bottle of Orelox lasts one month - well after the infection is gone - why would I want to keep dosing my son on this medicine for months afterwards? the answer is, I don't. I have thrown out so much unused medicine it is ridiculous. I have taken to telling the chemist 'one of this' and 'one of that' to save myself walking out with a full shopping bag of useless medicines.

I used to work for doctors back in Australia and I know full well how many of them get 'sweeteners' from the pharmaceutical companies for prescribing THEIR particular medications, it is obviously no different here in France.

Sweet17, I don't think you are so much 'cared for' rather than your doctor is obviously making a good living 'on the side' from over-prescribing. I actually see it as dangerous in a way and should be stopped.

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[quote user="Jura"]...Sweet17, I don't think you are so much 'cared for' rather than your doctor is obviously making a good living 'on the side' from over-prescribing. I actually see it as dangerous in a way and should be stopped.[/quote]

I suspect the pharmacists are on the gravy train too. I had a very hard job to walk out of one with just what I went in for. 

I felt I was being regarded as a potential suicide. I know that sounds over the top, but that's what I felt like, the pressure to take more 'medicine' was that strong.

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Sorry, Jura, I have to disagree with you.  I changed my doctor precisely because I thought the previous one was more interested in what she could make out of me than in my health problems.

As explained, I do have a most idiosyncratic way of responding to your bog standard cold, flu, whatever.  Unless treated vigorously with antibiotics, etc. the dreaded lurgy seems to to straight for my poor old lungs.  Result has often been months of debiliting coughing that leaves me unable to sleep or eat or do any "normal" day to day activities.  This makes me mad as hell as I love being outdoors and I love vigorous exercise.

I spent years avoiding asthma drugs as I didn't want to be classified as "asthmatic" as that has implications for any sort of personal and health insurance premiums.  When I was finally persuaded to try a "pump", I hated it and found all sorts of reasons not to take it.  Eventually after trials of several different "pumps", I settled on one that I was willing to try and was amazed to find a definite improvement, less breathless, and so on.

I do not take anything that I don't feel I need.  Indeed, I have been known to leave off my asthma drugs for months to the distress of my old GP in the UK and the nurse at the asthma clinic.

Now, I have been taking all this stuff the French GP has prescribed and it's less than 2 weeks since I saw her and, thank heavens, I already feel well enough not to be able to dodge the housework any longer (mixed blessing, that).  Indeed, I went out for the first time in 2 weeks yesterday and we had dinner at a friends' house.  Believe it was good to eat at a table with other people and not have to leave it every few minutes in order to have a cough elsewhere!

Thanks for posting, Jura.  It's good to hear other's experience.  In my case, however, I do think the doctor gave me absolutely the right medication. 

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Poor prescribing is widespread throughout Europe - over prescribing, under prescribing, inappropriate prescribing.

Changes to the undergraduate medical education  has reduced the input of clinical pharmacology and in a survey of undergraduates  a majority expressed their concerns of achieving the required competence once qualified.

In France I believe students receive on average 68 hours of clinical pharmacology  as opposed to a recommended 120 hours.

Whilst agreeing that France has a history of overprescribing I think it may be incorrect to state that Sweet 17's GP :

"Is obviously making a good living on the side from overprescribing"

unless of course  a) you know this GP and his/her prescribing methods b) you know Sweet 17 and her medical history c) you were present at the consultation/examination??

 

 

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I definitely feel that the doctors here over-prescribe. Fine if your doctor prescribes exactly what you need, but prescribing so much that it will end up going out of date is just ridiculous. And if you just continue taking ALL the excess medication prescribed to you until it is all used up, simply because you have paid for it, then you are just plain stupid.

I was admitted to the local hospital with pneumonia last year at Easter...never been so sick in my life. The doctor, on discharging me that evening, prescribed me prednisone. I remember this drug as my father was an emphysema sufferer before his death and took the same drug in small controlled doses. My partner had the script made out at the local chemist and brought it home to me, in a small shopping bag. Thank god my Mum was there to intervene...she is a registered nursing sister and noted that what the doctor prescribed, and what the chemist provided accordingly, was way, way, way over the normal dose for what I needed. In short, if I had taken what the doctor prescribed I would have been back in A&E within hours suffering from an overdose. Prednisone can be a very dangerous drug if taken wrongly and the idiot doctor had prescribed me way too much to be taken in one hit. Mum said it was enough to kill an elephant!

Mum took the stuff and threw it out while cursing the doctor and the equally incompetent pharmacist. I recovered without it anyway. Never place too much faith in doctors I say, even French doctors.

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I sympathise with you, Sweet, but would say from my own experience as another asthmatic (who also fought hard against having to be on daily inhalers) that I've always been told by my doctors that antibiotics only make sense when there is a definite secondary infection on top of the cold virus itself.  My GP (in Wales) has always advised me to double my daily dose of asthma inhalers at the first sign of a cold and only go back to the ordinary dose once the cold has gone. Coughing can just as easily be a symptom of asthma as of a cold or chest infection. Since I started to do this I've found that colds cause me far fewer problems on the whole and I haven't needed antibiotics for a chest infection for years. Obviously what works for one doesn't automatically work for another, but I have to admit to considerable unease when I read about the kind of massive over-prescribing described in some of the posts in this thread. My instinct is always to let the body use its own defences against routine minor infections and save the big guns for the real baddies.

 

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Sweet - I hope that you feel better soon.

I feel that my GP here in France has more time to listen.  She even shakes my hand when I enter and when I leave.

P.S. Am I the only one that takes a French-English dictionary with me?

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[quote user="Jura"]

I definitely feel that the doctors here over-prescribe...... Never place too much faith in doctors I say, even French doctors.

[/quote]

When we first moved to France my wife had suffered for 3

years with arthritis which was diagnosed by a specialist in the UK. Our new

doctor here refused to give her the very strong pain killers she was on until

he had a “proper” diagnosis. Within days she had seen a specialist in a local

private clinic, had an x-ray of the area (shoulder) and a scan. The results

were passed back to our doctor and two days later he told her she did not have

arthritis but a broken tendon. Two weeks later she had it repaired and after 5

days in hospital and two weeks recovery no more pain, and no need for any more

prescriptions! If it had been left much longer there would have been no chance

of a repair and her right arm would have been useless.

You cannot believe how pleased we were to have placed our

faith in the doctors here, my wife because she has no more pain and me because

she can now help with the renovations!

Get well soon Sweet, and listen to your doctor no matter

what the cynics on here say.

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KathyF, thanks for the tip about doubling up on the inhalers, will try that next time.  Have you heard of Buteyko?  I used the Buteyko breathing exercises and they are great but don't seem to work when I have a really bad episode as I am having at the moment.

Cathy & Jay, thanks for the good wishes.  Recovery is imminent, I know it although I'm not yet 100 per cent there yet.

Lovely day today and I shifted barrow-loads of logs and baked a lovely cake with which to reward myself this afternoon!

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[quote user="sweet 17"]

KathyF, thanks for the tip about doubling up on the inhalers, will try that next time.  Have you heard of Buteyko?  I used the Buteyko breathing exercises and they are great but don't seem to work when I have a really bad episode as I am having at the moment.

Cathy & Jay, thanks for the good wishes.  Recovery is imminent, I know it although I'm not yet 100 per cent there yet.

Lovely day today and I shifted barrow-loads of logs and baked a lovely cake with which to reward myself this afternoon!

[/quote]

 

After being poorly,the first sign of of improvement is hunger!

You must be on the mend!

 

"If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake !

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Jura

Did you know that you dont have to go away from the pharmacy with all of each item and can return later.

I'm not describing this very well but like you I ended up with loads of unused medication, in my case because the chef de clinique changed my ordonnance following a weekly check up but he had already prescribed one months worth. I was miffed but now use "overprescribing"  to my advantage.

Say I am prescribed with medication for one month (pendant une mois) I will ask the pharmacist how much it costs and how many boxes, if it is expensive and perhaps 4 boxes I will only buy one, he will make and sign a photocopy of the ordonnance and mark up the original with what has been taken. I can then send off the copy together with the feuille de soins for remboursement.

If the symptoms continue after the first week I go back and buy a second box etc etc, I prefer this to the restrictive UK practice of limiting the amounts that can be prescribed necessitating a return visit to the doctor which can involve a long wait and here would involve extra unecessary cost.

Editted

Of course if it something like antibiotics where you must take the full course to be effective I am not advocating stopping when you feel better but personally I still would buy them weekly in case the ordonnace were to be  changed perhaps because of contraindications.

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