I Said No to Tegretol

“I took one look at the prescription and shoved (it) back across the desk toward the doctor.”


When my son was only 8, he was 10 pounds over weight. When I asked his pediatrician to put him on a diet…..the pediatrician told my son not to eat between meals and to drink ALL the diet sodas he wanted. Within 2-3 weeks my son was hallucinating, hearing voices and seeing things in either fast or slow motion, he was confused and his memory was suddenly poor. When I told his pediatrician, his doctor suggested to go to UCLA to their pediatric psychiatric department.

After a battery of tests were run, I was told to come back in two weeks with the results. Before I left I asked the doctor what he thought he would do with my son. He said that he thought he would end up medicating him. I asked what drug he would choose. He said Tegretol would be his drug of choice. I asked him how long he thought my son would have to take Tegretol. He said for the rest of his life.

Well, since I was tired of seeing empty diet soda cans all over the place, I told my son I didn’t care what his doctor said about drinking all he wanted to lose weight…. I was going to limit him to two cans of diet soda per day. ALL my son’s symptoms improved! After two weeks I returned to UCLA and sure enough the doctor shoved a prescription across his desk at me for Tegretol. I had asked a pharmacist friend of mine what the side effects were and he said this was nasty stuff. It could cause the genitals to be underdeveloped and small and cause liver damage as well. Frequent blood testing would be necessary.

That was enough for me. I took one look at the prescription for Tegretol and shoved the prescription back across the desk toward the doctor. You should have seen the look of shock on his face when I said my son wouldn’t be taking this drug. I told him by limiting the intake of diet sodas my son’s symptoms had improved in frequency. I went on to tell him I was going to take him off of ALL diet sodas and see how much improvement I could get from this move.

Well, needless to say…..ALL my son’s symptoms went away by monitoring his diet and restricting ALL diet sodas from his diet. UCLA never once asked me a question about my son’s diet. Not one question. Well, parents use your common sense and don’t trust doctors blindly!

Julie Scharfe in Pasadena , CA

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 86.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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