Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Over-indexing on medications

I have a patient with CKD stage four, diabetes and hypertension. In fact, I have a hundred patients with CKD stage four, diabetes and hypertension. However, this patient had uncontrolled blood pressures. Here is the nomogram from her home blood pressures:
She was taking once daily furosemide and we changed it to torsemide, for better pharmacokinetics. She returned a month later and her blood pressure was fixed, systolics equally distributed between the 120s and 130s. So a win for Torsemide, or maybe not...

She was excited because she had been reworking her diet and was no longer drinking pop. She was eating more home-cooked meals and really focusing on eating more vegetables and fruits. She was also being more conscious of her sodium intake.

When I walked into the room I was focused on the medication change, because that was my intervention. But the more I spoke with her, the more I began to lean to the lifestyle interventions. She was adopting spontaneous DASH diet:
  • More fruits and vegetables
  • Decreased processed and restaurant food
  • Decreased fructose intake
  • Improved compliance
She denied non-compliance on her previous visit, but her new focus on her health should certainly increase her medication compliance. All of this was in play. 

In the end, medicine is a giant, uncontrolled experiment and correlation does not equal causation. Just because you changed medicine doesn't mean that is was what fixed the blood pressure.
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