Friday, March 29, 2013


I had a patient in residency, let's call her Jennifer, who I didn't peg as a crier. She was my age and in business school. People in B-school don't cry, right? She seemed very business-like about her back pain. But when the attending asked Jennifer about her use of medications, she burst into tears.

Jennifer: "I've been taking Voltaren for pain and I need it. But I don't want to need it."

The attending handed her the box of tissues and she calmed down pretty quickly. After he left the room she apologized to me.

"I'm so embarrassed," Jennifer said. "I can't believe I started crying."

"Really, don't worry about it," I told her.

"I don't even know why I started crying," she said.

I shrugged. "It's really common. Believe me, as a doctor, I see it all the time."


"Yeah, you're not even the first person today. It's really really common."

I handed Jennifer the prescription I wrote for Mobic. She looked troubled when I handed it to her, and I said to her: "Look, this isn't even a narcotic. Voltaren and Mobic are just like Motrin, only a little stronger."

"Really??" She had no idea. I guess Voltaren sounds like a really powerful medication. (Voltaren: Defender of the Universe) "That actually makes me feel a lot better."

It's almost sweet that she was worried about taking a couple of NSAIDs when we have people popping Vicodin like they're tic tacs.


  1. Voltaren! Let's party!

    That is sad that no one ever explained what that actually was. She was worried about it for how long?

  2. Omg you just took me back to the days of my youth with that Voltron reference. I always wanted to be the black lion.

  3. As part of my job, I investigate physicians who might be over-prescribing narcotics without a valid medical reason. My boss and I often joke that we never meet these guys who freely hand out these scripts. My boss and I also happen go to the same dentist. I went to this dentist one day with an abscessed tooth. The tooth couldn't be pulled until the infection cleared. The dentist commented that it would probably become more painful before it got better and she wanted to give me a script. What? Really, thought I? Wait until I tell my boss about this. Until the dentist handed me a script for 800 mg Motrin. TCG

  4. My husband was given a rx for 90 dilaudid after his very minor (he didn't even need crutches afterwards) knee surgery. Really? Does he really need 90 dilaudid?