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A prescription for a smile

Paula H Johnson
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (11): 594.
Published online: 7 December 2009

Patients often have difficulty remembering drug names accurately. Two instances, from my time as a junior doctor in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, have stayed in my memory. The first occurred during a long and busy night on call. I was admitting an elderly woman and I was tired and fed up. I asked her about her medication and she gave me a handwritten list. Halfway down, in quavery capitals, was FROLIC ACID. It made my night. It also triggered a memory, from several years earlier, of another patient, encountered on a consultant’s ward round. She had been prescribed omeprazole, which was still under patent at the time and marketed under the trade name “Losec”. The consultant asked her if her indigestion had improved. “Oh yes, doctor”, she replied, “it’s been ever so much better since you gave me that Slosex tablet”. We had to stop the ward round for several minutes to compose ourselves. Even though more than 10 years have elapsed, the memory still makes me smile.

  • Paula H Johnson

  • School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia and Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle, WA.


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