# 70 December 2005

"Youth ends when egotism does; maturity begins when one lives for others."

Herman Hesse
from the novel "Gertrude"

(continues below)

mental health professional trainings
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Shawn Christopher Shea
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# 70 December 2005

"Providing a Medication Menu"

TISA Description of the Problem: We are always seeking ways of helping clients to understand the pro and cons of their medications and to select medications wisely in a collaborative fashion. One way of approaching this task is described in the following practical tip provided by Joseph Holtel from Ohio.

Tip: In patients, who have a keen interest in understanding their medication options, I find that they appreciate hearing about various options. For instance with antidepressants, I won't just suggest a specific medication, I will describe a list of the common antidepressants that I think may be of use. In this regard, I will talk a bit about the pros and cons of each medication including specific pros of certain meds (rapidly helps with sleep, particularly good with anxiety) and cons (may cause sleep disturbance, may impair sexual function). I then ask the patient which one they think they would like to try.

I find the above approach useful for three reasons:

1) It optimizes the patient's ability to wisely select his or her own medication. I find that patients tolerate side-effects better if they helped to choose the medication themselves.

2) It metacommunicates that we have many alternative medications available if the selected medication is less than optimal in relieving symptoms.

3) It provides a platform for the patient to describe in his or her own words to family members and friends why a specific medication is being used when their family and friends may have had preconceived ideas of which medication should be used.

TISA Follow-up: I find the above tip to be quite insightful. It works at many different levels and provides a nice approach to collaborative treatment planning.

Tip provided by:

Joseph A. Holtel, D.O.
Nelsonville, Ohio