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Pharmacist Warns Patient about Januvia

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La Crosse, WIRobert believes that he wouldn’t be alive today if not for his pharmacist and wife intervening when he was prescribed Januvia during a hospital stay.

Robert, 78 years old, was admitted to the hospital two years ago with pneumonia and at that time, doctors determined he was diabetic. “One doctor prescribed Januvia; I remember taking it on the Monday (I was at home by that time) and on Saturday, I had a sharp pain in my back that caused me to pass out,” says Robert. “I was home alone but luckily my son found me. There was blood all over the floor coming from my nose, I smashed my glasses and I was a mess.”

His son rushed Robert to the Mayo Clinic urgent care nearby. He went through a gamut of tests, from blood tests to brain scan. At the same time, Robert’s wife received a letter from their pharmacist about Januvia side effects and who should not take the medication. “My wife immediately phoned the hospital and told them that I shouldn’t be taking this drug,” says Robert. “The letter stated that you should not take Januvia if you have gallstones, kidney stones or any kidney problems. Well, I had both kinds of stones. In fact, I had a kidney stone at that time and I have one now.”

Both Robert and his wife can’t understand why the doctor didn’t check Robert’s medical history first. Robert says he wasn’t asked about any kidney issues. He has thought about filing a medical malpractice claim because the Januvia label (and online) states that it should not be given to patients with any kidney issues. Luckily the pharmacist had done his homework.

“I must have spent three days at the Mayo Clinic. The day I went home there must’ve been four doctors standing around my bed,” says Robert. “I asked why I was here and not one of them gave me an answer. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.”

Of course Robert stopped taking Januvia soon as his wife called. But it wasn’t mentioned by anyone at the clinic. Robert filled out a form to request his medical report (he describes himself as “brazen,” which can also mean pro-active). On it there was written a concern about Januvia and his diagnosis was acute renal failure. Robert believes it was caused by the diabetes drug.

“If not for the K-Mart pharmacist and my wife, I might have gotten Januvia cancer or maybe I wouldn’t even be here,” Robert adds. “I believe they saved my life. I am very fortunate they were on the ball. And my pharmacist, who just retired, was excellent. He took the time to talk to you and that is rare today.” And he took the time to read drug labels and FDA warnings.

“I’m in pretty good health now, even though I have diabetes. I walk a lot and exercise. I used to love sweets but now if we eat a cookie, my wife and I share it. And since this Januvia incident, we will find out more about a drug like Januvia before taking it.”


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