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incorrect prescribing of a psychotropic medication to an alcoholic?

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Old 10-30-2007, 12:12 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
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joan17 HB User
incorrect prescribing of a psychotropic medication to an alcoholic?

Hello - I have just joined this forum and am not certain if this is the right place to ask my question, so please forgive me if it is not.

My question involves possible incorrect prescribing of a psychotropic medication to an alcoholic.

My son, aged 26 years old and an active alcoholic at the time of his appointment with a psychiatrist, was given a prescription for Klonopin after having a consultation with the pyschiatrist. He was very open during the consult about his being an alcoholic, and also being vulnerable to overdosing on pills. Nonetheless, he was given the Klonopin prescription after the consult.

After the consult, he proceeded to binge-drink, and then take about three times the amount of Klonopin prescribed to him after drinking. My husband found him in his apartment, very lethargic, with slurred speech.

My dilemma is, this psychiatrist is someone who has been treating me for panic disorder, for years. I am stable on the meds he has prescribed for me, and am doing well (panic-free) on the regimen he has set up for me. However, I am wondering if he mis-prescribed the Klonopin for my son. I know that Klonopin is given in drug rehab facilities, to detox from alcohol and drugs, but rehab is a medically-monitored setting, and my son was given the Klonopin to take on his own, even though the psychiatrist knew he was an active alcoholic.

I have other issues with this psychiatrist besides this major one which I have just described, so I am considering changing doctors; however, I am very wary of changing psychiatrists when I have been panc-free under his care for years (and my panic attacks were very severe.)

My main question is: was there malpractice involved in prescribing Klonopin for my alcoholic son, or is this a common practice and a common medication to give to an alcoholic who lives alone?

Thank you for any informed opinions.


Last edited by Administrator; 10-30-2007 at 01:49 PM.

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Old 10-30-2007, 02:32 PM   #2
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Re: incorrect prescribing of a psychotropic medication to an alcoholic?

well klonopin is a benzo not a pyschotrophic med.. it is a nervous system depressant same as alcohol. if he mixes the 2 together in a big way..he could die. im not trying to scare you..i just want you to help your son..mine is 21 and i have been where you are.

Old 11-01-2007, 03:13 PM   #3
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Re: incorrect prescribing of a psychotropic medication to an alcoholic?

i have a few concerns as you do about this but one thing i wanted to actually know for certain.just how do you know with any real certainty that your son WAS indeed totally honest and forthcoming with this doc?i am not doubting anything you are saying here or trying to imply that your son did not tell the truth,just wondering how you are that certain of what did come up during this particular consult(or did you sit in on the actual consult?)?another biggie here is just how your son actually explained things and most importantly just how that doc actually "percieved" them and read them,you know what i mean?it would not be unusual to have someone who was or is an active alcoholic or just someone who consumes alcohol(the context of how your son actually explained his alcohol usage here would be very important) to also be Rxed a sedative like valium or klonipin,it all depends on exactly what the doc was told about alcohol usage,and just what this doc was attempting to treat him for.there are a few different ways you could read this depending on a few different things.

what i am wondering is just what was this "consult' all about in the first place"why was he having this done?what was he trying to actually determine or be treated for.this info would matter as far as what was Rxed for him.the thing is,this comes down to some level of personal responsibility as well as what the doc felt 'comfortable" in actually Rxing for him based on what he heard and thought about your sons son has a bi polar disorder as well as a cognative brain injury,some things he handles just fine and other things i do have to let his docs know the decision making issues he can sometimes know what i mean?but my son taking his meds and everything else is basically up to him since he is 20 years old.but i DO have to make certain that some things are just done since he does also have a liver transplant and HAS to take his other meds at certain times or there will be big consequences.

the only way you are really going to know for sure just how this doc actually 'saw' your son during that consult is to have your son obtain his medical records from this doc and read thru them for yourself.but this is actually up to your son since he is an adult.but if he has done nothing wrong and was totally truthful with that doc about everything,he should have no problem with you actually just looking at them and seeing what this docs impression was of him and why he rxed the meds in the first place. unfortunetly,for whatever reason,your son made a very bad choice for himself.this was a choice he i said,personal responsibility does play a part in everything we do for ourselves.if he already had done this type of thing before the chances of him actually doing it again with no changes made during the last time and this time,well it is something of a cycle he appears to be in and really does need to take a good hard look at where his life is currently at and what he needs to do regarding his alcohol use and why he is continuing with what appears to be self destructive behavior.has he ever been in alcohol or drug treatment before?on the label of his Rx bottle,it should state that this is not to be mixed with alcohol,and i would imagine that when that doc wrote that Rx,if he was indeed aware that alcohol was an issue,he would have also reitterated this point to him as sounds like he may have chosen to ignore that and take them anyway?(just guessing here since i am only assuming the doc did what most docs do when Rxing something that has the potential to be used when someone may be drinking)

believe me,i don't mean to come across as harsh,but there are some things here in this situation that were simply not,from what you have stated,the docs fault(as far as we know at this point anyways).that ultimate choice to take those pills was made by your son,you know?he did this once before without this docs help and would probably have gotten ahold of something else from somewhere had these not been Rxed for him.its the behavior pattern he is currently in.being an alcoholic just compounds an already present problem.alcohol,from what you have stated is not the real problem here,it would appear to be much deeper than that,you know what i mean?is he suffering from depression or being treated for it?

i really am sorry you are all suffering thru this.believe me, i do know what that is like.but at age 26,he has to have somewhat of a handle(despite the alcoholism) of what is right and what is wrong or just not good for him.he really does need to get help not just for the alcohol but whatever the underlying issues are that he is appearing to be self medicating.or trying to unsuccessfully.he most definitely needs much more oversight til things start to get better for him on certain levels.some of this could possibly worked out thru a good inpatient or even if you have to,outpatient treatment program.just a thought.if you could explain his actual situation a bit more clearly,it may help me to get a better understanding of just what is going on with him.i DO hope things get better for him,and you too.take care,marcia

Old 11-03-2007, 06:07 AM   #4
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Re: incorrect prescribing of a psychotropic medication to an alcoholic?

Hi joan,just wondering how things are going for your son and your family at this point??please update if you can.hope things are getting better for him.marcia

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