Big Pharma and Crony Capitalismby Wendy McElroy
Jul. 10, 2012
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A friend just experienced a terrible drug problem. Not with illegal drugs, but with a prescription from her doctor. Her eighty-year-old memory sometimes stumbles, and so, without diagnostic tests, the doctor prescribed a potent Alzheimer medication.
Within a week, I received phone calls from her about two men and a woman who were breaking into her house repeatedly despite carefully locked doors. In the morning, when she arose, they would be sitting at the dining room table, where they would remain for hours, mute and motionless. Panicked, my friend began to squirrel away her valuables, only to forget the hiding places and have to spend hours searching and searching.
The hallucinations and paranoia became so pronounced that relatives talked of institutionalization. From one week to the next, a fully functional human being (on whom another person relied for home care) was close to being yanked away from her own life.
I made a brief online search and discovered that hallucinations were a known side effect of the Alzheimer drug. A few days after discontinuing use, my forgetful friend was back to normal; the “intruders” had vanished.
A casually prescribed pill came close to destroying her.