“Seven fifty-seven has to fly” was the mantra chanted by lawmakers, citizens and members of the Epilepsy Foundation, as they rallied together Wednesday, for Senate bill 757.
The bill requests that pharmacists notify physicians, who are treating people diagnosed with epilepsy, if anti-convulsion medications are switched to another brand or its generic version.
Linda Wallace, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut said she saw the effects of this switch when her daughter’s anti-convulsion medication was changed to its generic version.
Erica Guerrini, Wallace’s daughter, had been free from seizures for four years when she unknowingly began taking the generic version of her old medication. Then, almost immediately she said her condition worsened and she began to have seizures.
“God forbid my medication had been switched when I was pregnant,” Guerrini said.
Like Wallace, Ginny Miller spoke about when her son’s anti-convulsion medication was switched to its generic version. Her son had been seizure free for months when he began taking the new medicine. Soon, Miller said her son began having multiple seizures, sometimes up to five a week.
“All we want is medication management,” Miller said. “As long as we know what’s going on.”
According to Dr. Anthony Alessi, chief of neurology at the Backus Hospital in Norwich, a switch in medication can cause unpredictable effects. Some patients become intoxicated while others experience levels of medication that are too low.
“With epilepsy medications, it can’t be close enough – it has to be right or it’s right to the emergency room,” Alessi said.
Wallace and the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut have been working to pass senate bill 757 for three years.
“We can’t wait any longer,” Wallace pleaded. “We’ve been compromised enough.”
Rep. Betsy Ritter, D-Quaker Hill, has also been an advocate for the bill for the past three years.
“It’s my sincere hope that this is the year to advance this bill,” she said.