Last time on ‘Can you get your drug or not?’, I was referred to a psychiatrist, who said yes, it’s no problem to get buproprion in the UK. He wrote a brief letter recommending I stay on my two medications, with instructions on how to wean myself off come springtime if I still so chose.
That was last November or so. I wasn’t yet running low on supply, so I waited, thinking it would be no trouble to refill come February. WRONG.
My GP was not convinced. She spent some time hinting I should just come off of buproprion entirely, and that she was not sure she was legally allowed to prescribe it. While she worried at her computer, I was mentally planning how to get an emergency appointment with the less concerned psychiatrist.
“Could you come back on Friday? I want to check with my colleagues.”
“Okay.” I meekly left.
On Friday, I was gritting my teeth, expecting to demand that she call the psychiatrist and get me in that very day to see him. She once again lectured me on the dangers of buproprion.
“We only prescribe it for people coming off smoking. There have been problems with it so it’s not permitted at your dose in the UK. It’s not good to be transposing your treatment because of these laws…”
“Mhmm.” You are very nice. You have responsibilities to follow with this prescription. That’s fine. I need to be stable. I don’t want to go back. I will get this prescription, so help me God.
“So if you’re certain…”
“Can I take your blood pressure? And I’d like you to stay to have an ECG.”
OKAY NO PROBLEM LET’S JUST DO IT.
The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the equivalent of the FDA in the United States) does have an unhappy picture of buproprion on its website. Yes, there is a risk of seizures, and high blood pressure. But it is not illegal, nor even advised against, as my GP would have me think.
I wish she would weigh the consequences a little more fairly. I have been on this drug for two years. I have just moved to a new country. I do not fancy returning to the sleepiness, apathy, suicidal thoughts, and sexual dysfunction that plagued me on citalopram alone. Those really, really matter to me. I would risk having a seizure for that. I do not feel it is up to her to try to modify my course given my circumstances.
Anyway, this is more a vent of frustrations, rather than a criticism of her. She has her job to do, and I understand she is not pleased with dealing in drugs she does not know.
Ultimately, I have a prescription. I had an ECG too, which was fun. (Well, it was fun because my results were normal and I’d never had one before).
A quick description of an ECG: The nurse got me to remove my bra, but let me keep my shirt on so I wouldn’t be cold. I lay down, and she attached sticky pads to each ankle, to each wrist, and all around my left breast. Then she connected wires to them, each one giving off a somewhat alarming BEEP when they connected with the pad. Then, while I was worrying about how hairy my legs were, she printed out a cute little graph of my electrical heart activity. Dawww, lookit the little lines. And boom, it was done. It took more time to hook me up than to print the graph. Ta da!