The drama of medicines: Narratives of living with postural tachycardia syndrome

Karen C. Lloyd, Paul Bissell, Kath Ryan, Peri J. Ballantyne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter argues that treating these stories as dramas enables people to understand the place and significance of medicines in people’s lives. It describes how stories about medicine taking can be conceived as dramas of medicines in the body, signification and the self, and experimentation in accounts of living with postural tachycardia syndrome, a rare dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Managing illness, including its self-management through day-to-day care practices, requires the cooperation of diverse groups of individual and collective actors, shared spaces, material things and processes in the accomplishment of what can be quite heterogeneous goals. Anthropological work on pharmaceuticals has illuminated the range of actors engaged in their ‘life cycle’ from development, manufacture and commercial marketing, to prescribing, dispensing and consumption. The management of Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) tends to involve both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving Pharmaceutical Lives
EditorsPeri J Ballantyne, Kath Ryan
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781000383973, 9780429342868
ISBN (Print)9780367359553, 9780367772482
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in the Sociology of Health and Illness


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