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Posts tagged ‘overnight shift’

Prescription Drugs worth possible Side Effects?

Certainly there are many conditions where the positive attributes of a drug outweigh the possible negative side effects. My thoughts today point towards times when the prescribed drug is for something more minor that certainly makes you question whether risking side effects is worth the benefits of the drug.

We see more and more commercials advertising their drugs for certain medical conditions. All are required by law to list possible side effects. Have you noticed those that seem to take more of the commercial to talk about the side effects then the actual drug and it’s benefits? Comedian Tim Hawkins does a hilarious skit of this very topic. 

Here is another great example: I just heard a commercial on the radio yesterday for Nuvigil. This is being advertised to help those with Excessive Sleepiness(ES) due to Shift Work Disorder (SWD). Yes this is an actual diagnosed disorder. In all fairness I have worked an overnight shift for almost 15 years so I can certainly understand all the symptoms of SWD since shift work often leads to sleep disorders. Our bodies natural instinct is to be sleeping not working during the night and be active and not asleep during the day. Lack of proper sleep can cause someone to lose their focus and even reduce their ability to function. There is an increased risk of accidents due to sleepiness. Many become more irritable or have reduced ability to participate socially. Sleepiness can also effect their overall job performance. Certainly there is an increased risk for worsening a previously diagnosed medical condition. There may be a benefit from this drug in extreme cases but what are the possible side effects? (this list taken directly from

  • What are possible side effects of NUVIGIL?

    • Stop taking NUVIGIL and call your doctor or get emergency help if you get any of the following serious side effects:Common side effects of NUVIGIL are headache, nausea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping. These are not all the side effects of NUVIGIL.
      • Mental (psychiatric) symptoms, including: depression, feeling anxious, sensing things that are not really there, extreme increase in activity (mania), thoughts of suicide, aggression, or other mental problems
      • Symptoms of a heart problem, including: chest pain, abnormal heart beat, and trouble breathing
    • Tell your doctor if you get any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. Talk to your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

    What should I avoid while taking NUVIGIL?

    • Do not drive a car or do other dangerous activities until you and your doctor know how NUVIGIL affects you.
    • Avoid drinking alcohol.

    What should I tell my doctor before starting NUVIGIL?

    • Tell your doctor about all of your health conditions including if you have: history of mental health problems (including psychosis), heart problems or had a heart attack, high blood pressure, liver or kidney problems, a history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction, or are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
    • Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take. Women who use hormonal birth control may have a higher chance of getting pregnant, while taking and for one month after stopping NUVIGIL. Talk to your doctor about other birth control methods while taking NUVIGIL.
So let’s recap. First thing that stands out to me is the “trouble sleeping”. Does that seem weird to anyone else since the problem to begin with is a sleep disorder leading to excessive sleepiness? Certainly other possible side effects are common with most drugs like headache, nausea, dizziness, etc. The other thing that stood out to me though that is a huge red flag is mental (psychiatric) symptoms including seeing things that are not really there, aggression and thoughts of suicide. What about possible heart problems? Being unable to drive a car driving a car until you know the effects of the drug can be a problem for many as they still have work and family responsibilities. Do any of those seem like something you want to gamble with?
I truly am thankful for all the medical resources available and the continual advancements in research that improve our lives. I will say again that there are many conditions that require proper medication and in those cases the benefits surley outweigh the side effects. For those people just looking for a magic pill for all your ailments maybe a closer look at the side effects is needed. I mean seriously if you have to take another pill to help with the side effects created by the first pill is it worth it? We really do not want our children learning bad habits by taking medication for every little thing either. Do your research and look into all areas of assistance before jumping into a prescription. ALWAYS ask your doctor about the side effects and if there is something else that might be just as effective without all the possible side effects. Remember many doctors have incentives to promote certain drugs for the manufactures so make sure they are doing what is best for you, not the drug manufacturer!
What are your thoughts about the long lists of possible side effects for prescription drugs?

Sacrificing Good Sleep Habits

I have worked nights for almost 15 years now in one job or another. This was a choice we made when we started having kids to make sure I was home during the day. My husband would take care of getting our kids dinner and into bed at night while I was at work into the early morning hours. Although day care works for others we decided this worked best for us. Thankfully I have an amazing husband that took on this role and magnified his job as a dad. I will have to do a post about that some other time.

As the years went on I have continued working during normal “sleeping hours” even after my kids started school because I have a great job and I am able to make better money on the over night shift compared to the day shift. The biggest drawback I have found is a lack of “good” sleep. I currently do take weekends off and get a full night sleep but during the week my sleep is spread out into sections. My schedule is in the early morning hours so I will sleep for a few hours when my kids go to bed until I get up to work and then work until it is time to get them ready for school. I then take a nap during the day for a few hours while they are at school in between house work and other necessities. I have done this long enough that I guess I think my body is used to it but I do find those days that I am just dragging and worn out. I also find that I often get sick easier when I am really worn down. My family will all confirm that I usually cannot sit down to watch a movie with them without falling asleep.  I think my body is saying “here is your opportunity, shut it down now” and it does!

I have found ways over the years to help me sleep better at night and during the day. First I do make sure I go to bed at night when my kids do and get a few hours before working. During the day I make the room dark with blacked out curtains and close the bedroom door to block out sunlight. I also turn off the phones (except my cell phone in case my family has an emergency). I also try to take a nap around the same time every day. Although this has been a struggle for me personally over the years I have found ways to make it work better for me and I do think the benefits I have seen by being home for my kids outweigh the times I do struggle.

I know there are many who sacrifices for what they believe is best for themselves and their families. What sacrifices are you making? What do you find is the biggest challenge with doing that and what ways are you facing those challenges?”