Tag Archives: side effects

When the side effects are awesome!

Did you know?

This post is a follow up to my post about what appears to be my final episode of biting my fingernails. Only took a little over 65 years. See my first post here: Another 48 margaritas and I should  be good to go

I got a pain relief shot in the butt at Urgent Care on April 19. Oh the irony of getting a painful injection in the butt in order to relieve pain elsewhere. Is this where the expression pain in the butt came from?

Nonetheless….

I also got a prescription for a pain-relief drug, Cephalexin, which is generic for Keflex. The prescription was for 28 pills, one ever six hours until used up… so seven days. I took the first pill on April 20 at noon.

Amazing things happened, none of which were expected to happen.

  1. I have been a polyphasic sleeper all my life — 65 years — never sleeping for more than four hours, and that was only in college when I was passed out drunk. I’m still a polyphasic sleeper, but since April 20 I have had several periods of sleep lasting from five to eight hours.
  2. I had never had a dream because I never reached R.E.M. sleep. That changed on April 20. I probably have had 65 dreams since then. Most of them would be considered nightmares by normal people, but can Stephen King fans be called normal? As Tears for Fears sang in Mad World, “The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.”
  3. For the past twenty or so years, I have had a hacking cough… 24/7. It was the worst immediately upon lying down and immediately after getting up. A hacking cough in today’s COVID-19 world can be problematic out in public. Fortunately, I was able to control it by taking Guafenesin (generic for Mucinex), but it took about an hour for the full effects to kick in. That changed on April 20. After the very first Cephalexin pill, no 24/7 hacking cough. Still to this day, over a month later.
  4. For the past five or so years, I have not been able to breathe through my nose. I went to my regular doctor as well as an allergist and and ENT. The only thing anyone said was the ENT. She stuck a camera through my nose and down into my throat. The only thing she found was a deviated septum (crooked nose). She asked me when I broke my nose but to the best of my knowledge, I never did. She wants to do a CT scan of my upper respiratory system and then schedule surgery to correct my crooked nose. That all changed on April 20. After the very first Cephalexin pill, I was back to breathing through my nose. Still to this day, over a month later.

I have been in dozens of medical research studies throughout my life, so I know that not every side effect reported during studies gets listed as side effects. The number of people reporting a side effect has to be statistically significant for the number of people in the study. So if there are 100 people in the study, and only one person reports a specific side effect, the researchers won’t list it, instead chalking it up to something the research subject forgot to tell us.

In some cases, when the side effect is very pronounced and widely distributed, new research studies are done to see if the side effect can be made useful. Rogaine comes immediately to mind. Rogaine is a brand name for minoxidil, which originally was being studied for hypertension. Unexpected male hair growth was a statistically significant side effect, leading to further research studies and — bam! — Rogaine!

I talked to both my doctor and the ENT. Neither of them believed that there was a cause and effect from the Cephalexin. Continued research on my part found that Cephalexin also is used for upper respiratory illnesses. It’s only good for bacteria, though, not viruses like the flu and COVID-19.

With that knowledge, I wondered if I have had an upper respiratory bacterial infection for the last twenty years.

I called the Urgent Care doctor to ask him about the side effects since he was the one who prescribed Cephalexin. He was amazed but also thought that there wasn’t a cause and effect.

Oh, well.

If my cough and breathing difficulties ever come back, I shall bite my fingernails until they bleed, down to the quick, and then stick them in a bucket of dirty water until they get infected. Then I shall go get another prescription for Cephalexin….