Medications get started for good reasons: to treat a bothersome symptom or control a serious health risk.
All too often, though, once a medicine is prescribed, we get stuck in a habit of refilling and continuing it, sometimes long after it is no longer needed, or long after the side effects, risks and complications far outweigh any ongoing benefit.
In these situations, the harm of staying on the medication may actually outweigh the good it used to do.
For example, using a medication long-term may cause side effects or risks over time, including:
- digestive upset
- dry mouth
- memory loss
- difficulty sleeping
- weight gain
- weakening of the bones
- sexual dysfunction
- poor balance or loss of muscle tone
- depressed mood
- loss of motivation
- brain fog or difficulty concentrating
- increased sensitivity to pain
- weakened immune system
- and increased risk for other health problems . . .
( . . . not to mention the impact on the wallet if it is an expensive medication! )
So, why not just stop?
Unfortunately, many medications aren't that easy to just stop cold-turkey, even when a doctor says it is safe to do so.
The body gets used to what a person is taking, and stopping abruptly may cause unpleasant, even intense, withdrawal symptoms. The person feels awful, so they assume they must really need that medicine.
This is called DEPENDENCE. It is a physical state, and it is not the same thing as addiction, which is a behavioral and social illness.
Without specific and specialized help, most people just end up continuing on a medication, long after the harms outweigh the benefits, just in order to avoid an unpleasant withdrawal effect when each dose wears off.
But there is a better way!
Collaborative De-Prescribing is a team approach to identifying which medication(s) may be doing more harm than good, and working together to gradually, safely and more comfortably get rid of unnecessary medications.
It often involves changing other lifestyle habits and learning new approaches to address an underlying problem - especially when a medication was just covering up the real problem.
Instead, with Collaborative De-Prescribing, the TAKE TWO HEALTH team works with our Patient Members, at a pace based on individual needs and responses, to both
- gradually wean unhealthful medications, and
- develop safer, healthier, new strategies
so that our Patient Members can regain well-being and shed excess medication that no longer serves their health.