HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Green blood!

Posted by HelenEdith on June 8, 2007

The BBC carried this article on their website today: Patient bleeds dark green blood. It’s about a man who was taking 200mg of Sumatriptan on a daily basis! It had caused sulphur to be carried in his red blood cells, which is what gave his blood the green colour.

That’s a huge amount of Sumatriptan: he must have been taking multiple tablets per day, and taking the recommended maximum dosage every day.

Sumatriptan is sold under the brand names Imigran and Imitrex, and is used in the treatment of acute migraine attacks. It is usually doled out on prescription in packs of 6, although the UK allows the sale of a 2-pack over the counter. It’s an expensive drug, and usage at this level must have been costing this man a considerable sum of money, unless the Canadian health system makes it considerably cheaper.

Under the NHS in the UK, a normal prescription is 6 tablets, and that will cost you the prescription charge, although if you’re a heavy user of prescriptions, you can buy a “season ticket” which allows unlimited prescriptions.

In America, it is insurance which pays for most drugs, and insurance companies appear to be quite strict about how many Triptan type drugs they will fund in any given time period.

I’m still amazed that this Canadian man could possibly have had access to this much Sumatriptan on a regular basis!


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