Can I Stop Taking My (Prescription Medication)?

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My absolute favorite moments in my practice are when patients tell me they’re off their prescription medications.  

Pain relievers?  Nah…don’t need them anymore; I feel great!  Thyroid medication?  Nope…all my blood work has been great!  Diuretics for hypertension?  I threw them out because they were making my blood pressure too low!

But, please – there is a procedure for this.  

Don’t just stop taking prescription medication; you have to go through these steps first.

WORK WITH A NATURAL PRACTITIONER TO GET HEALTHY

It doesn’t matter who you chose to work with – a chiropractor, naturopath, nutritionist, or acupuncturist – you should work with someone who can help you get the results you are looking for.  You need someone who can help you get to the root of the health problem you’ve been having.  You can try doing this on your own, but you will get there much faster with some objective, expert help.  

Allopathic MDs can prevent you from dying, but they (in general) don’t do much to actually get your body healthy.  It’s just not what they have in their tool box of treatments.  Natural practitioners (like acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionist, etc.) specialize in health and wellness and can help you get to a point where you are healthy enough that you don’t need the prescription.

Once you start feeling better (and you’re still on your prescription, of course, because you’re following the rules), then you can 

TELL YOUR DOCTOR YOUR PLANS

Tell the doctor who prescribed the medication in the first place that your plans are to get off the medication(s).  Tell them exactly what you have done so far to make healthy changes and that you’re feeling better or noticing positive improvements.  Then ask them “Exactly how do I get off (this or that prescription)?”

This way they can tell you if there are any possible complications for doing so (as there can be with anti-depressants) and maybe give you other recommendations, such as what to track on your own, red light warning signs of when to call them, and how is the best way to wean off if it’s a medication that you should not quit “cold turkey.”

BE OPEN TO CHANGING PLAN A

If you’re working with a natural doctor and the results are just not happening it may be time to try something (or someone) new.  If you’ve been changing only your exercise routine to lose weight, and that’s not giving you the results you want, try a new nutrition program.  If you’ve been trying nutrition alone, and still the results are not there, maybe add in some acupuncture.  There are hundreds of different options and you may need to try a few of them to see what works for you and for your unique situation.  

Plus, everyone has a slightly different take on things:  different training, different perspectives and different areas of expertise.  Don’t be discouraged and head straight back to the prescriptions; just try plan B.

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

Let’s say you’re working with me on your thyroid.  I still would encourage you to go to your regular MD for blood work so we can track our progress.  If the blood work shows improvement, hey, let’s celebrate!  Even if you’re not 100% “cured,” even slow progress is a step in the right direction, so we know to keep at it.  If there’s no changes, or if things are worse, we have to change our treatment protocols.

If you’re tracking your blood pressure, invest in a good quality blood pressure cuff to keep at home and check daily at first, and then weekly as you’re improving over time.  If you’re diabetic and weaning off insulin, you need to check your blood sugar levels every morning and your A1C through blood work every few months, according to your MD’s recommendations.  

Oh, and just so you know, if you ever ask me, “Nicole, should I stop taking my (prescription name)?”  My go-to response will be:  “By law I can’t recommend anything regarding a prescription drug.  I can’t tell you to take it and I can’t tell you not to take it.”  But I can help you devise a plan for getting off of it.  And I will always offer my personal opinion about it!  

 

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1 Comment

  1. I can’t ever say it enough that I am so grateful to you for helping me get off Lexapro!
    Thank you!

    Reply

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