Double Check the Pharmacist

Yesterday while on the phone with Briova/Optum Rx, ordering my next month's supply of Sprycel, the gal on the phone asked the same questions she always asks; one of them being, "Did you skip any doses of your medications, due to side effects?"

I told her that yes, I had; due to pleural effusion. She told me that I needed to speak with the pharmacist before they could ship my medication. I figured I was more aware of the side effects of Sprycel than she was, but figured that maybe at least my side effects might get reported, so I thought that I might as well get the most bang, for my buck and give her the full gamut of side effects.

I told her about the pleural effusion, and her response was, "Really?" response was, "YES! REALLY! It is a common side effect in CML patients." I told her of the muscle aches, nerve and joint pain, headaches and chronic fatigue, too. Once again her response, "Ohhhh, really?" "Yeah, DUH!"

At that point I decided to tell her about my findings that different Lot numbers seemed to deliver different side effects, and she got all excited! She said "Yes!! I remember hearing something about that; can't be sure it was regarding Sprycel, but I DO remember hearing something about that!"
Now, I am thinking, "REALLY?? Aren't YOU the one that spent many years in school learning about drugs, and their affect on the human body?" UGH!

I then asked her if she was going to be reporting these side effects to the drug manufacturer, in hopes of enough complaints resulting in a lesser, acceptable, "margin of allowances" during manufacturing. There apparently is a specified percentage, during manufacturing, that the ingredients, in a medication, must fall between; so a little more of this, or that, or a little less of this or that, and the drug is still within these parameters and therefore acceptable. I believe that this is the difference between a good side effect month, and a bad one.

Any way, I though that while I had her on the line that I would ask her about the drug interaction between Zolpidem (Ambien) and Dasatinib (Sprycel). I recently asked my doctor for a sleeping pill, so that I could sleep on our red eye flight from Los Angeles to Paris. Being that I have never taken a sleeping pill before, and the fact that I am a total Pill freak; meaning I am afraid to take ANYTHING, I asked her for six pills, so that I could try it out at home to see how it affected me, prior to getting on the plane. I have now had these pills for six weeks, and have yet to take one! lol

My plan was to ask my oncologist if it was safe to take with Sprycel, as I take Sprycel right before I go to bed. But since I had the "expert" on the line, I asked her. She said, "Let me look, nope, no interaction. Let me check one more source; Nope, go ahead and take it, there is no interaction between the two."

Of course, I did not take the pill last night, and some random ad popped up today on my FB about some random drug, and I clicked on it. It had a place to put in Drug Interactions, so I did. And what do you think I found?

A "Moderate" interaction between Sprycel and Ambien!! I was so disgusted that I decided to write about it!

Interactions between your selected drugs
zolpidem  dasatinib
Applies to: zolpidem, Sprycel (dasatinib)
Dasatinib may increase the blood levels and effects of zolpidem. You may need a dose adjustment or more frequent monitoring by your doctor to safely use both medications. Contact your doctor if your condition changes or you experience increased side effects. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

I mean really! I find information about drug interactions through Google, and get different information from an actual Pharmacist! WTH??

Once again, watch out for yourself! Be careful and do your due diligence. I am sure that the interaction is probably not serious, but what if it was?

I will be contacting my oncologist prior to taking the Zolpidem/Ambien, always do my own research and continue to ask LOTS of questions!

Here is a great place to check drug interactions:

Any one have experience with sleeping pills?


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