What Medications Is She Taking?

When I end up talking to people about the whole sex and marriage deal, I usually ask about any medical issues or medications – especially the birth control ones.
The husbands never seem to know what their wives are taking for medication.
Well maybe that’s an overstatement. I think I’m running at about 80% for knowing she takes medication. About 30-40% knowing what type of medication and maybe 5% actually knowing the name of the drug. 10 points to Gryffindor if you can get the dosage right.
The problem tonight was that the wife was what amounts to a total bitch. Via chat…
Athol: “What meds is she on?”
Husband: “Don’t know, it’s an anti-depressant.”
Athol: “What’s the name of it.”
Husband: “Don’t know. Let me go look.”
/cue elevator music
Husband: “It’s Demerol”
Athol: “Ah… that’s a pain medication. One of the stronger ones. What’s she taking it for?”
Husband: “I think it’s for her neck.”
ORLY?? She’s taking a Schedule II control med for pain and you think it’s for her neck? You think?? Maybe she’s a total bitch because her neck hurts and you don’t have a clue about anything!
Sorry about that, my nipples are a little sensitive today…
/activate Zen-like calm
Athol: “Yeah it’s a serious med. We would have to count every pill at change of shift for that one. Either she is in serious pain, or she’s faking it to get a serious pain med. Either way it’s pretty bad.”
Husband: “Okay, I’ll look into it.”
Seriously, just look in the bathroom cabinet and read the names on bottles if you don’t know. Then Google the names of the medications. You’d be surprised how much your will learn. Wikipedia is usually the best starting point for accessible information though there are other places online too.
Or you could just ask her. Or pay attention or something.
Anyway, not a bad guy by any means, just finding things getting out of control on the homefront. My suggestions for self improvement sifted down to the golden oldies. (1) Get in shape. (2 ) Rewarding positive behavior and reducing attention to negative behavior  (3) Make more money. I’ll hit on those three points over the next few days.


  1. Looking Glass says:

    Pain meds can screw a person up real, real bad. They alone can cause problems, but I guess when you spend a lot of time dealing with medicine, you tend to realize this more.

    Googling any medications a family member is taking is a good idea. Drugs.com & rxlist.com are also good resources too.

  2. My wife started taking escitalopram a few years ago. Its an SSRI with some insane "side" effects.

    Then, when the economy tanked and my employer folded (taking me along with it), her stress level skyrocketed, she developed an eye twitch, and her doctor increased her dosage by 50%.

    That one event ruined our lives. In addition to inducing a shallow affect and total lack of empathy, one of its main effects of this drug, particularly at that increased dosage, is anorgasmia. Anorgasmia!

    In other words, this drug helped turn my wife into a robotic, superficial teenager with an aversion to sex.

    For my part, I let myself go physically. I got up to around 230 pounds, no exercise and a snoring problem that would wake the dead.

    I came to the conclusion that all of the psychological analysis in the world, no matter how brilliant or insightful, takes a back seat to the power of biochemistry.

    For men, it is all about testosterone. (See http://www.peaktestosterone.com for tons of info.) For my wife, this SSRI is at the very center of her behavioral and emotional changes.

    Thankfully, I figured out what I needed to do. I dropped to 165 and am in the best shape of my life. Plus, my wife started weening herself off of that damnable drug, and is already at less than half her peak dosage. When those two things happened, our sex life was immediately resuscitated (albeit still far from fixed), and we started having actual conversations again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good med/common sense advice, Athol.


  4. I think many paleo followers also come to realize the hormonal effects that eating bad food (especially sugar) has on women (and probably men, too). Cut sugar and processed flour (if not all grain altogether) from your diet for a month. See where it gets you. For me, it's alleviated depression, extreme menstrual cramps and hypoglycemia. It may make it possible to wean off all those drugs, too.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I take two different ones, but I never refer to them as medication or medicines–cause I don't think of pharmacuetical drugs as medicine. I just call 'em what they are: Drugs.

    I also second Athol's advice to be savvy on whatever she (or he) is taking. Know the brand/generic, side effects, dosage, and reason for it.

    If you absolutely do not need to take a drug wean off, they have side effects for a reason. Your body doesn't want them there.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Arual, PMS stuff can also be caused by pernicious anemia (severe B12 deficiency). I used to go into a faux state of labor every month and the doctor could actually feel my uterus contracting. I would throw up from the pain and pass out, it was abnormal to say the least.

    I went the DRUG route, y'know BIC and pain pills, didn't really fix it just masked the symptoms somewhat.

    Finally a brilliant dietician tested me for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and there it was. After a few months on food grade B12 and shots, no more cramps. None.

  7. Birth control pills can seriously kill a woman's libido. I know that was what happened to me. Going off of them really ramped up the desire, however, then I had killer pms. Talking to your doctor about the sexual side effects really are important. I ended up on something for the pms that did make it harder to orgasm, but I still had desire. We just implemented the vibrator into our play and all is well. I think the climax is better in fact. These things can often be worked out.

  8. Anon–Yes, dietary issues go way beyond processed flour and sugar. Presumably paleo should help with a B12 deficiency as well, because it's heavy on meat (preferably grassfed/pastured raised, etc.).

    Apparently vitamin D deficiencies can also contribute to health issues, so getting checked out by a doctor for nutrient issues of all varieties is definitely a good place to start.

  9. I'm an OBGYN- should have seen it, but missed it. After reading this blog, took out my wife's Mirena IUD- sex life back to normal. Hormones definitely have an effect on libido. Now, just have to get used to condoms again :(. Same applies for any hormonal birth control (pills, nuvaring, etc). Thinking about switching to copper IUD, but depends on how her cycles go.

    On a related note, have a friend who's wife is on tamoxifen for breast cancer- way worse from libido standpoint than any birth control. Not sure how to counsel him. She's not recognizing the usual alpha signals- just not in tune do to hormonal blocks. Tough on him.

  10. Looking Glass says:

    @ Neal:

    Well, tamoxifen specifically decreases Estrogen levels across the board and in massive amount. There's no way around it killing off sex drive. That's a natural side effect of it's job.

    While useful to survive the Breast Cancer, I might suggest your friend's wife look to supplement in a whole lot things, as crashing hormone levels really do cause a massive amount of carnage in pretty much every system of the body. The fact Oncologists aren't really up on that isn't a good sign, most of the time.

  11. Athol Kay says:

    Cal – exactly why I detest the SSRI meds.

    Neal – The copper IUD would be the first thing we would try if Jennifer started reacting badly to her birth control pills.

    Also I did an offensively happy nurse > doctor dance in my living room. Don't be too mad. :-)

    You don't have to use the condoms the whole month either. We did a mix of condoms and rythym method before the kids. Oh wait… that came out wrong.

  12. Victory Unlimited Show says:

    Also, something else to keep in mind in addition to the meds your woman may be on are the meds that she probably "should" be on.

    Many a man has experienced big changes in the way their wives treat them based solely on the ebb and flow of their mood swings——sometimes caused by an undiagnosed condition.

    However, having said all that, a man continuing to act like a man in the face of erratic behavior can do much to maintain his woman's respect and admiration regardless.

  13. I wonder if there're aphrodisiac type meds we could use to counter the side effects (yes I know using meds to counter meds is not ideal, but hey! Sometimes there is no alternative to the drug.)

    There's at least one case I remember of a woman with an androgen-secreting tumour presenting with increased libido.

    Taking actual testosterone might be too much, but perhaps natural ways to increase androgens could work (maybe DHEA supplements?). 'Course there's side effects like hirsutism, but that can be better managed than libido issues.

    This may be still a dangerous route to take with something like breast cancer, as oestrogen/testosterone share common production pathways.

  14. Athol Kay says:

    Bhetti – dopamine reuptake inhibitors can do that as an off label "side effect".

  15. Really? that could work. Buproprion (Wellbutrin/Zyban) would be a better choice as an antidepressant at least.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Just stay off the damn drugs. 'Nuff said.

  17. Athol Kay says:

    Wellbutrin is my favorite anti-depressant. Can have a rough first week or two adjusting to it though.

  18. Looking Glass says:

    @ Athol: because this is MMSL, the first thing that came to mind when you did a little "dance" was KC & The Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abV2z-OtU5Q Lol

    Actual, speaking of "off label" usage, MMSL's "help prevent divorces" could be considered medically relevant in preventing many childhood psychiatric issues, as divorce is a big driver of those.

    Now Athol just needs to get bought out by a Pharmaceutical for millions of dollars!

  19. Anonymous says:

    It's kind of funny that you mention this – you've managed to hit very close to the only thing I've felt you haven't touched on so far in what's wrong in my marriage.

    My husband and I are relatively new Catholics, and as a result are not using birth control (I'm following TCOYF). The key word here is "I'm" – my husband has absolutely no idea when I'm fertile or not fertile. This is not much of a change from when I was using birth control; I'd be surprised if he could have told you what method I was using unless it was something I had to stop to insert.

    The singular burden this places on me is symbolic of our entire marriage – I take care of nearly everything and he just expects it to get done. My husband can't/won't do even simple house repairs, doesn't know how to even pay his credit cards, and the time he spends keeping house is minimal. And yet again, he's managed to trash "our" bedroom. The bathroom that's attached to "our" bedroom is only his, I don't even have a toothbrush in it, and it's filthy. I'm relegated to sharing a bathroom with the kids. The bedroom smells like cat food and litter box because he's moved his kidney-failing cat in there (his kidney-failing cat who he won't even learn to do the fluid injections on, so I'm stuck doing it), clothes are piled everywhere, and I don't even think the bed has sheets on it – but I'm not sure, since I've been sleeping on the couch for the past two months.

    It's not the first time he's done this. I've explained in great detail exactly what I need from him, from talking to his Catholic male friends about how to get more involved in the family planning to "these are the things I need you to do around the house, since we're in non-traditional roles as far as what I'm expected to do I need you to pick up some of the other things", but at this point I don't know what to do. I'm not withholding sex as punishment, but this feels more like another child than a life partner and so I've completely lost interest.

  20. viagra online says:

    Curious point of view, I never have problems with this before :p

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