nutritional drinks

Does anyone know if a GP can prescribe health supplement drinks which are packed full of vitamins and minerals etc.?

As some of you will know I have had asthma for around 10 - 12 years, recently been diagnosed with copd and am waiting to see if I have bronchiectasis. One of my main problems that during this past year I have had virtually no appetite and have been getting by on toast and cheese. The strange thing is that I have not lost weight and the dietician said this was due to empty calories from all the juices (no sugar added) I was drinking. She was no help to me at all and said I was overweight. I did know this funnily enough and her answer to my appetite problem was drinking tap water and taking a multivitamin pill. I asked her about drinks which were packed with vitamins etc so I could at least get some nutrition until my appetite comes back. She was quite rude and said they were only for underweight people. I was extremely discouraged by her attitude.

Today I was seeing my physio for neck problems brought about by the violent coughing and he was asking how I got on at the dieticians. He was shocked when I told him what had happened and suggested that as long as I am taking plenty of fluids it would make sense to take prescribed ones rather than diluted fruit juice. At least then I would be getting nutrition from my fluids until my appetite comes back. I had made up my mind not to return to the dietician but Rob (physio - who is also my neighbour) advised me to go back and be more assertive with her and ask her what she knows about copd! He wasn't sure if doctors could prescribe these drinks so I was wondering if anyone here had experience or advice to offer. Its not that I don't want to eat. I just have very very little appetite. once I am feeling better and able to eat I will then make it my goal to lose weight as I know this will help my breathing problems.

Thanks everyone for reading this and for your help which I know will be forthcoming. You never let anyone down and it makes me feel so grateful that I have you all to turn to. Oh dear, I am getting all soppy now. Take care everyone. Love hugs xxx

36 Replies

  • Not 100% sure but I think that you can get protein drinks to enhance your food intake from a good chemist, worth asking the pharmacist... Also I believe that Aloe Vera do a drink based on the same principal and this would also be a product to look at without nasty chemicals etc . Lotos luck to get the food intake back which is very important to refresh the cells and fight infections along with a good sleep pattern.

  • I know when my dad and mom in law were ill and had no appetite, they were prescribed a drink that was a substitute for meals, however, I'm sorry but I can't remember the name of it. Your gp will know so why not ask him. There is always complan, which is full of goodness, I'm not sure if you can get that on script. Your best bet is to discuss this with your gp. Good luck xxx

  • Dear Huggs,

    My husband has COPD and he is always underweight. Two weeks ago he had a flare up and was admitted to hospital where a dietitian saw him and prescribed those drinks, but it was risen by a hospital doctor. Then, our GP put those drinks on repeat prescription as for lung problem you need to build up good muscles and nutrients help to keep you away from lung infection.

    It's Fortisip Compact; has six flavours.

    In the drink's booklet they say that "your healthcare professional needs to communicate with your doctor indicating that you need a prescription."

  • Yes your gp can prescribe these drinks

  • When I got out of hospital a few weeks back I needed to get back to normal and my doctor prescribed Complan for me.

    Have a chat to your doc about it.

  • Huggs this is a difficult one. I think we all have our own ways to cope with this. I eat 4 small meals a day and read while I'm eating and I make myself eat it all. Too big a meal puts me off. I have porridge in the morning and add mixed nuts and seeds I have milled. Hey you are not soppy just the lovable you. Take care xx

  • Fortisip drinks can be prescribed. They come in various flavours & are very good. Ask your GP.

  • Hi, we all deal differently with the lack of appetite, I'm slightly over weight now and have managed to gain the weight back with juicing and smoothies. I figure if I don't want to eat then I'll drink the good stuff I can't be bothered eating. The stuff the doctor prescribes is far too sweet and sickly for me, but it's always worth asking him, and go back and see that dietitian. She needs to be aware how COPD affects energy and how essential listening to the patient and working with them is what she gets paid for.

  • With hazel I'm thinking, go back to your GP, state your case of no appetite and ask your GP to back you up with the dietician. I think if you have the GP's back up, the dietician will not be able to be rude, because, the GP will have prescribed the stuff. See how it goes.

    when I am in that state of non appetite, I buy myself creams, rice pudding and little puddings like trifles. I also drink hot chocolate with whole milk.

    I know also that a vitamin supplement like sunshine Vit D by Healthaid contains Vit A C and E and B, on top of Vit D and some fish oil> For me, I find this is enough. I find if I take bigger doses, ti disturbs my stomach and doesn't do any good!.

    Eat here and there a little, just a little. that will build you up.One day, you might feel like steak and chips, then go for it!

    All the best, Mike.

  • Thanks for your advice Mike. I phoned the health centre this morning and my GP is on holiday. I do take a multivitamin, vitamin d and folic acid. Its over a year that I have had little or no appetite, and have to force down my toast and cheese. I will look into the sunshine vitamin d that you are talking about, and check with the pharmacist before I buy it. I can't wait for the day when I feel like having fish and chips! Hope you are doing ok and take care. hugs xx

  • Hiya Huggs sorry you are having these problems. I don't think a dietician or a doctor would prescribe anything if you are overweight but if you were lacking in vitamins they probably would. The most important thing right now is making sure you are as healthy as possible so you should take a multi vitamin pill. Do you see a COPD nurse at your surgery on a regular basis? if so she might be able to help. xx

  • I have Globus hystericus for a few years as well as asthma / copd, I cough mucus up and cough day and night. Went down to 6 stone 2 pounds last year and begged doctors to let me have Fortisip but they would not. They sent me to see a dietician who was useless and just told me to drink lots of milk. I have to buy myself complan and have 3 a day but I am on benefits and it is a real struggle to pay for them. I was told you can only be given fortisip if you have a bowel or digestive problem.

  • My sister was underweight through anxiety so she was prescribed Complan which she didn't like so she buys her own now (not sure what). She was told by her doctors though that if she went to see the nurse and was confirmed as underweight enough and lacking nutriments then she might get the drinks she likes. She too buys them at the moment and it's a struggle for her as she is a pensioner.

    As for drinking lots of milk the dietician needs shooting! Milk and dairly products are well known as mucus producing foods and should be eaten in moderation with copd and a bad cough. Go and tell your doctor that! Keep trying and hopefully you will get what you need. xx

  • Thanks very much everyone for all your help. I will either discuss it with my GP (which is difficult because I have had a succession doctors for the past year. This is no fault of my own but is the way the system works where I live. There are 3 women doctors who have all been on maternity leave one after the other. The other doctors are either on holidays or days off. I will try and see the last one I saw or investigate high protein drinks or Fortisips which can be bought on line. Thanks again everyone and I hope you all have a good day. hugs xx

  • Yes, the are definitely prescribed on the NHS

    I was painfully thin & getting thinner for years until my doctor sent me to the dietician, who prescribed a supplement drink called Ensure. Brilliant stuff & actually quite pleasant.

    The repeat prescription was stopped after I reached my target weight, but I now buy Complan just to maintain my weight.

  • My mother was prescribs Ensure when she was very underweight. She liked it too x

  • If they'll give it to you it's on repeat prescription - remember under-nourished and mal-nourished are two different things, there's just not enough in cheese on toast. I take a whole pile of supplements even though I eat a balanced diet because most veg is deficient due to soil quality - that's another story! If you're overweight I can't see them prescribing the drinks to be honest - take some fish-oil and multivits which should help.

  • Yes there's both fortisip and fortijuice!! The latter one comes in a ready made carton!! Was able to decant that one into a baby's bottle although this was a number of years ago

  • Thanks for your advice winne. Fortisip seems to get a lot of mentions on here so I might try that. Do you know what the difference is between the two? Take care. hugs xx

  • Thanks outforlunch and Dragonmum, I realise because I am overweight that this seems to be causing them problems in them not wanting to give me high protein drinks etc. At the moment it is impossible to lose weight, and I am sure a lot of my weakness and sleeping all the time has to do with my diet. I'll get some fish oil, and I already take a multivitamin but there is so many to choose from that I am confused by what make to get etc. The pharmacist was not that much help either and just gave me their own brand. (Lloyds). It is probably ok but I feel like I need more. I will have to make someone gets the strong message that this cannot go on. I think they think because I am overweight that things can't be that bad. At the moment I have nowhere to turn to regarding this problem. Thanks for replying and giving me advice. Take care hugs xx

  • have you tried health food shops there are plenty of vit and mineral drinks out there after all body builders use them all the time.

  • Hi Frank, I live on a small island and we don't have such a thing as a health food shop! I think I am going to have to get something online. There are so many different makes and claims its confusing me. Not that hard to do. I take a multivitamin, vitamin d and folic acid so I would have to make sure I wasn't over dosing on any of them! I thought I might start with Holland & Barrett. Thanks a lot for replying and take care. hugs xx

  • Can I recommend some Chinese stretching exercises called the eight pieces of brocade. There are 8 exercises to give you back your energy. What you have to do is to do these only within your strict limit, without forcing. The main idea is to coordinate the breathing with each exercises.

    Here is the Wikipedia, have a look at the standing exercises.

    Here they are on youtube. The last section explains one exercise which has an influence on the stomach meridian and the spleen meridian - affecting how we eat.

    And another version interpreted by a pretty girl.

    All these need to be done in coordination with the breath. I can guarantee an improvement in, at least some of your energy, after 5 days! (I say this, because I have started this again and felt transformed after 5 days only!) But only do this to your own limit. You don't need to force and injures yourself

    Happy healing movements.

  • Thanks for that Mike. It isn't Chinese torture you are advising by any chance is it? Ha ha. Actually that sounds interesting and worth looking into. I bet you anything I know what version you prefer! I really do appreciate you taking the time and trouble to help me. hugs xxx How are you doing and how did you get on with the Consultant?

  • Anything, Huggs, to build a healthier person! )I strive to do that too, but fail often. So I start again after a chest infection. it's quite humorous really. I feel great, then ill, then I try to build up again, and bang comes September and I feel ill again!!

    I had to phone the consultant's secretary; answer machine; I put my message and phoned later too. she told me she'd erased all her messages :-( . I'm glad I phoned back, you have to insist in this life ( and the next, probably too!). At last, she took my details and ask me what I wanted the doc to do! I don't know what the doc is going to decided. I told her that sweating at night as shown in the past that I had mycobacterium presence (TB); so I said I was scared to have it again. He should move accordingly! He prescribes, not me! Hope he does!

  • Hi Mick, thanks for getting back to me. Did your consultant not tell you what was going to happen with you. Honestly, some of them think we are stupid and can't even be bothered to communicate properly with us. Its very irritating when you have to go out of your way just to find out what you are entitled to know. I will stop there before this develops into a full blown rant!!

    So have you started writing down ideas, characters, plots etc for a short story yet?

    Take care of yourself and be good! hugs xx

  • I think it,s disgusting when I hear of any medical professional being rude to a patient.If I am not rude then I expect to be treated with respect.We do actually pay these peoples wages one way or another.You should demand a better dietician explaining to your gp why.I have seen the neutritional drinks being prescribed but it was from the hospital but I,m sure you can get them on prescription from gp.Good luck.D. By the way I am very butch(haa haa) but also get quite soppy it,s nothing to be worried about stay happy!

  • Hi Butch, (ha ha), so you are soppy as well. There is nothing wrong really with a bit of sop at times I don't think. Its better being soft than hard. I can't get another dietician as we don't have one on the island. She comes over from the mainland twice a month and that's it. At the moment I feel like I am struggling to get the help I need and that I am stuck in quicksand. Its so frustrating. I'll get there. I have arranged to speak to someone at the health centre tomorrow, and if I don't get anywhere I will just buy loads of stuff online and hope for the best. I have informed one of the doctors of the dieticians attitude, but you know how they just stick up for each other. Anyway, I hope you are keeping reasonably well or better than that. Take care. hugs xx

  • Hi Huggs, Fortisip is usually prescribed by GPs or hospitals for the seriously under weight, however when my friend was ill with pain and could not eat I got fortisip from Boots the chemist without prescription but it was expensive and the chemist advised us to ask for them from the GP. Hope this info is of use. Complan is another option more freely available and cheaper.

  • Hi huggs,Your Dr can, I have C O P D and I have them ,they are Nutricia Fortisip ,I had lost weight ,and gained in just 6 weeks,hope all goes well

  • Thanks for that Brian, and I will be doing something about it tomorrow. Keep well. hugs xx

  • Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to reply Katie. As you will have gathered I am stumbling around in the dark here. Its hard to believe that in a year I have had little more than toast and cheese. Plenty of fluids which is what the dietician is going on about. My physio made the good point that if not drinking water only is not helping my appetite, and I am able to take plenty fluids I may as well drink something nutritious. I hope to sort something out tomorrow. I am overweight, but because I am not eating I don't think the drinks will make a huge difference to my weight. If I can recover from this last year I fully intend to lose weight which will help with my breathing etc. Again thank you for your information and I have tried Complan months ago but the doctor told me to stop as it was filling me up!! I hope you are keeping well, and if you aren't then I hope things improve for you. hugs xx

  • My husband has all the supplements that are available, supplied by the GP, but only because he is terminally ill with cancer. I do think your GP was very unfeeling: she could have worded herself better. I would follow all the good advice that has been offered. Not sure the stuff my husband is taking is the best choice for you at the moment. xx

  • Hi, Yes there is no reason why your doctor cannot prescribe, frusben (probably spelt that wrong) I've been on the for 6 years, small milky drinks, like milkshake, very nice, full of vits and minerals we lack when we loose too much weight or find it hard to eat.

  • Thank you Chinka for your advice. I can see I am going to have a very busy day tomorrow trying to sort something out. I'm spoilt for choice by the sound of it. Take care. hugs xx

  • I am so very sorry to hear about your husband. It must be very difficult for you both and I will pray for you both to have the strength to get through this terrible time. It was actually the dietician who was unhelpful and a bit rude. How she expects me to lose weight on 2 slices of toast and cheese a day with a cheddar biscuit now and again I do not know. I can understand to a certain extent that if someone is overweight then they think, " well she is obviously eating ok", and that the drinks are generally for people who are underweight. There must be something somewhere suitable for someone in my position, especially since starting on Spiriva and mucodyne I have felt a lot better as the extreme cough is not nearly as bad as it was. I feel now, that it is lack of nutrition that is holding me back. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply and I wish you and your husband some quality time together. Sending you both hugs xxxx Take care.

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