Pregnant women suffering from hyperemesis have called it a “no brainer” for the Government to make a drug for the condition available to them for free.
Dubliner Linda Meehan-Ashton told The Hard Shoulder that suffering from hyperemesis was like being hungover for almost the entirety of her pregnancy:
“The only thing I can compare it to, for people who haven’t experienced this, is to having a hangover for eight and a half, nine months,” she said.
“The first time around it was kind of easier to deal with because I didn’t have a 15 month old running around. Whereas now, I do have a 15 month old running around and my husband has to do most of the work for her, while trying to keep me alive as well.
“So it’s really tough on the whole family unit, not just the pregnant person.”
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Another woman with the condition is Emma Hendrick from Sligo; she has suffered from the condition during both her pregnancies as well and is currently paying a small fortune for medication called Cariban which helps with her symptoms:
“It’s not just morning sickness as a lot of people kind of fob me off with. It’s a constant feeling of nausea and vomiting,” Emma said.
“There’s times where you can’t hold anything down, whether that’s a cup of tea or water or crackers.
“So it’s really debilitating and it can lead to really bad dehydration and you can end up hospitalised.
“It can also mean that because you’re feeling nauseous and you want to vomit the whole time, you can’t do anything.
“So you don’t want to get out of bed or you’re not able to get out of bed.”
“At the moment, I’m on 112 tablets a month, four tablets a day and that’s costing 170 euro [a month].
“Because the medicine is unlicensed, you can’t claim anything back.”
— Hyperemesis Ireland (@HyperemesisIE) February 2, 2022
In opposition Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly backed putting Cariban on the drug payment scheme, however, he has since reneged on that commitment.
For Linda, the decision should be a ‘no brainer’; she was hospitalised during her first pregnancy because of dehydration from hyperemesis and says making Cariban more accessible would be an easy way to ease pressure on the health service:
“It would only benefit the Government to put it on the drug payment scheme or the medical card because it’s costing the Government money to have people hospitalised while they need fluids,” she said.
“And for people who don’t know, there’s a day ward in some hospitals, where you can book in to have fluids and you’re there for half a day.
“So that is half a day that a patient is in, using resources that don’t have to be used.
“If we had the medication available much easier and much cheaper, it would reduce the cost overall to the HSE and the Government.
“It’s a no brainer because at the end of the day, people who can’t afford [the drug] end up going to hospital, they can’t work - which means they’re not getting money… and you’re just in a vicious circle.”
Main image: A pregnant woman.