Lyn: Problems with multiple medicines (II) – Accidents and making mistakes with medicines

Listen to patients and health professionals speak about their experience with taking multiple medicines.

Age at interview: 67
Number of medicines: 1
Cultural background: British-Australian

Lyn did not know that the morphine patches she uses were making her sleep apnoea worse.

I had a bit of a jolt yesterday. I've been using CPAP for a number of years and the last machine that I bought was one of the newer ones that actually you can download the data to see how many apnoeas you're having or whether the machine is suppressing them and I had my data downloaded, which I hadn't had done for four years and the person who downloaded at the shop where I bought it said, ‘Look, I'm really concerned, because this machine is not controlling your apnoeas. You're having apnoeas ... you had 25 last night. One of them was nearly a minute long when you stopped breathing, and what's changed in your life? Why do you think this is happening?’ 

We went through a number of factors and then I said to her, ‘Oh, I'm using morphine patches. Has that got anything to do with it?’ She said, ‘Oh, my God! Yes’, she said, ‘because it suppresses your breathing and, if you've got sleep apnoea, you've got breathing problems anyway and putting morphine on top of that, doctors don't know. They prescribe these things and they do not take into account some of the other things that are going on in your life.’ 

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The Living with multiple medicines project was developed in collaboration with Healthtalk Australia.