Proof is in the Pharmaceuticals

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Although it received little notice, a recent article from the Denver Post has one of the most curious and damning bits of evidence involving brain injured troops. By requesting information on drug purchases, the Post discovered several key markers:

From 2003 to 2007, the Department of Defense indicated:

• Spending for Topamax, an epilepsy medicine now being used to treat soldiers with TBIs that could lead to seizures, nearly quadrupled in four years, from $5.6 million to $20 million.

• Spending for Ambien, a sleeping pill, doubled in four years, from $11 million to $22 million.

All three drugs are commonly used for the treatment of brain injury.

What conclusions can we reach about the data? More servicemembers are having seizures. More of them are having problems sleeping at night.

I have to applaud the Post reporter who wrote the article, but worry that much may have been lost in the editing. The Post didn't provide  more meaty information–are the purchases of drugs increasing or decreasing? What kinds of trends can we look out for that might illuminate the situation?–but it is asking the right kinds of questions. The kinds of questions we should all be asking.

Click here to read Soldiering On In Pain.

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