"Smart Drugs" & Cottonhead Thoughts
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Q:  "Smart Drugs" & Cottonhead Thoughts

I take divalproex sodium as a mood stabiler, diazepam and clonazepam for anxiety,seroquel for sleep and risperdal as an antipsychotic.  Do u think the new samrt drugs Adrafinil, Piracetam, Propranolol Hydrochloride(Inderal), or Vinpocetine will combat the disorientation and cotton-head thoughts of produced by my prescribed meds along with the symptoms of the disease?

Dear Jeff --
You're right, all five of the medications you're taking can contribute to "cotton head", as you put it. Especially all five together. I'd have to assume you had some pretty terrible symptoms that led to this collection, and which keeps you and your doctor from trying to solve the cottonhead problem by lowering or eliminating one of those 5.

So the next thing I do is look at the list to see if any of your current medications could be causing some of the anxiety that presumably requires all these medications. None is an obvious problem in that way. Sometimes Risperdal can make agitation worse, and very rarely even Seroquel I recently learned (here's the case report). So you could talk with your doctor about how you could make sure that Risperdal is not somehow making you need the diazepam and clonazepam and perhaps even the Seroquel -- though that would be tricky, and would run some risk of return of psychotic symptoms, and might very well never turn up any benefit.

However, I would think about all those things before I would consider adding yet another medication to solve what might be side effects from the first 5.

As for "smart drugs", thanks for handing over your list. Searching adrafinil, piracetam, and vinpocetine, I am stunned at the marketing. I'm glad to know what's being dealt out there, not being aware until now what a disaster is brewing with untested treatments obtainable over the Internet. Until I get an essay on this topic on my site, let me just hand along this warning: stick with treatments that have some evidence behind them, both regarding their effectiveness and their safety. While I'll agree that U.S. doctors and drug manufacturers have held their secrets too closely, going to the other extreme as with these drugs you name is just plain dangerous. Careful now.

Dr. Phelps

Published November, 2003 


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