Wednesday, January 19, 2011
My Preschooler is Taking Illegal Drugs??
When our pediatrician in Brazil recommends a medicine, it never crosses my mind to see what the United States thinks about it. I mean, a medical professional told me it is the best thing to give to my kid, can't be that different, right?
Wrong. I have given my children two different medications that are illegal in the states. Say what?! The first time this was pointed out to me was during a visit to the states, shocker.
My youngest had Infant Reflux and was on Motillium (Domperidone). He had pneumonia, awesome during vacation, and I had to inform the US doctor of all medication he took on a regular basis. Her response was that Motillium is not allowed in the US, she hoped I brought enough for the trip (I did, duh), and that it works wonderfully for gastrointestinal issues.
Not too bad. Of course, I got online to search why. And you know, it was nothing too shocking. Just the American system taking care of it's people and anything that may be questionable. Heaven forbid let the people it could really help use it. Of course not, we are not responsible, nor are our doctors, and nor are our pharmacies. No, I'm not being sarcastic. The nation of pill poppers needs to be watched by big brother.
The second medication is a smidgen more alarming. My oldest suffers from fever seizures, still at 4 yrs old. And it is a freakin' scary ass thing to see. Not to mention, how quickly his fever can go from 99 (37) to 103 (39.4). It just shoots right up like Hugh Hefner after a Viagra.
Our Pediatrician recommended we ditch the Ibuprofen and give him Nolvagina (Nolvagine). Ok, I really didn't want to experience the fright again so I was on it. When my 4 yr old had one while we were walking home from school, we were sent to a pediatric neurologist.
I was ready to hear anything she had to say. And you know, it was good. Tests came out clean. We just couldn't let him run a fever. Give Nolvagina at 99 (37) and repeat it every 4 hrs if need be, every 6 if the fever stayed under control.
So we're in the states for an extended vacation and low and behold, both kids get sick. No biggie but we have a fever situation for the oldest. Since it's not his first fever this trip, we are running low on our Golden Fever medicine. I figure, we must have it in the states, maybe it's just prescription or something.
Oh no it's not prescription. Nolvagina/Nolvagine (Metamizole) has been banned in the US since 1977. 30 other countries followed suit. And while Brazil isn't the only country that still allows it, it is one of the top users.
I bet you are wondering, well what's the problem. The story is that Metamizole causes Agranulocytosis. Agranulocytosis is an acute condition involving a severe and dangerous leukopenia (lowered white blood cell count), most commonly of neutrophils, causing a neutropenia in the circulating blood. It represents a severe lack of one major class of infection-fighting white blood cells. People with this condition are at very high risk of serious infections due to their suppressed immune system.
Well there you go. That's peachy with a side of pear. With a little more Wikipedia research, I found that the incidence rate of metamizole-induced agranulocytosis is between 0.2 and 2 cases per million person days of use, with approximately 7% of all cases fatal
Ok, nothing too shocking. Not 1 in 4 or anything crazy like that.
What now? I think I'm going to go with my doctors back in Brazil. At the very least, both these medications were given as a last resort after other things didn't work. And you know what, they do work well. Nolvagina kicks my kid's fever's ass every time, and that is not an easy feat.
Eventually, as my youngest, my oldest won't have the seizure issue, fingers crossed. Then it won't even be the issue. For the time being, it seems the lesser of two evils.
How would you feel about this? Would it freak you out if you were prescribed a medication that is banned in your home country?