June 24, 2018

Medication Side Effects Can Support a Favorable Decision

Medication side effects can often produce work activity limitations which can support a finding of disability.  Specifically, diuretic medications such as Lasix are often prescribed to heart patients to help the body remove retained fluids.  Excess fluid build-up, of course, can strain the heart muscle and can lead to blood clots and other problems for patients with impaired heart function.

Diuretic medications have their side effects, the most significant of which is frequent urination.  For example, I recently tried a case where my client took Lasix and needed to urinate every 30 to 40 minutes.  In a work setting this translates into an unscheduled break every 30 to 40 minutes and just about every vocational witness will testify that a 5 to 7 minute unscheduled break seven or eight times a day would not allow for competitive work, especially at entry-level, unskilled occupations.

Similarly, nitroglycerin pills or patches often produce intense headaches that can last 10 to 15 minutes.  Here, too, if you need a 15 minute unscheduled break twice a day, three or four times per week, your reliability and capacity to remain on task would be impaired.

Remember that at a hearing your goal is to identify specific work activity limitations that would interfere with your capacity to perform even a simple, entry level jobs.  When preparing for your hearing do not neglect to think about the work capacity limitations that arise from your heart disease medications.


Jonathan Ginsberg writes extensively about Social Security disability. He is the publisher of the ssdAnswers blog and the ssdRadio podcast.


  1. Mark Laux says:

    As one example of ridiculous, my cardiologist stated that I wasn’t disabled because I just needed to take more naps throughout the day. My thought was that most employers don’t pay for naps.

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