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Medications

 

I am not going to go over all the medications that are available today, because there are just too many.  However this article is about medications and their side effects.  Many medications have side effects that far out way the benefit that they supply.  This is a major problem when treating many illnesses. 

When taking a medication, you have to find out first, what the side effects are.  If the side effects are too risky for your health, or too much for you to handle, you may want to consider an alternative medication. Remember you are in charge of what you put in your body, not the doctor.  If you are not comfortable with a medication or its side effects, speak up and don’t let your doctor prescribe it for you.  You do have a say.  And if you are treated as though you don’t have a say, then seek help elsewhere, as you should always have a say in what medications you have to take. 

Also there is the risk of being allergic to the medication.  Also it seems as though a lot of the time the doctors tend to just throw more medications at you to fix a problem that one medication it causing. This is not acceptable all the time but it may be necessary for some, but not all the time.  Keep yourself informed.  And just to keep things simple try to put a limit on the number of medications that you allow them to prescribe to you.  This will help you to determine easier what medication is causing the problem, when and if one arises.

Don’t expect the medication to take away all of your symptoms all of the time.  We all have relapses.  We go into remission with medication, but we all have relapses. You must understand this to move forward and heal. 

Not all medications will be for you.  Be very careful in choosing your medications.  Remember that you have a say and don’t let your doctor be the choosing party.  It’s not their body.  If something isn’t working for you, bring it up and try something else.  You will be happy you did if it works.   Most of all don’t give up. 

Get educated. You will only benefit from it. Read all the literature on all the medications you are given.  You will be able to choose the ones you feel safe taking this way.  

Here are some of the side effects that medications can bring on:


1)   Weight gain

2)   Weight loss

3)   Increased Appetite

4)   Hives if you are allergic

5)   Sexual incompetence

6)   Decreased sex drive

7)   Depression

8)   Anxiety

9)   Racing heart rate

10) Sensitivity to sunlight

11) Dizziness

12) Constipation

13) Fatigue

14) Drowsiness

Just to mention a few, there are many more, which you will have to research on your own in your quest for the right medications.  However, these are the most common. 

Some of the side effects can be devastating if you let them be.  You have to remember to read, read, read.  Read the material given to you when you get your prescription.  Your pharmacy will list the side effects as well as drug interactions printed out for you every time you get your medications. 

Another good way to find out about your prescription is to ask the pharmacist.  They know all about the drugs.  They will tell you the side effects and other drug interactions. I once had a medication that had sensitivity to the sun.  The day after I started taking it I laid out in the sun to get a tan.  I only burned, because of the medication.  I didn’t know about the side effect until it was too late because I didn’t read the literature.  So be very careful.

If you are experiencing increased weight gain due to increased appetite, don’t fret.  If you are uncomfortable in your new body, try another medication.  But, a lot of medications have weight gain as a side effect.  So try not to be discouraged.  It’s only temporary if you are on top of knowing what side effects to expect.   It may take some time, but you may need to just get used to a larger body.   As we grow older our metabolism slows anyway, and these added complications could be frustrating.  But, you may have to just get used to being a size or two larger. 

Having trouble with your medications causing sexual incompetence?  Well that is a side effect that a lot of them have as well.  It will help if you have an understanding mate, but even the most understanding of partners has needs too.  Try oral sex to help your partner.  This may help to alleviate the frustration. 

Some medications can cause depression.  If you experience increased depression, talk to your doctor and change the med first. 

Some medications may cause side effects that are an interaction with one of your other medications. If this is the case, again, keeping the limit on how many you take can help you to identify which med is causing the problem in the first place.  Then keep in mind, that if there is more benefit to taking the new medication you may want to take the new medication and drop the other.  Or you may be able to take the medication at a later date, if you go off the medication that caused the interaction.   

Central acting agents decrease the heart rate and are mostly used for high blood pressure, but if you are experiencing a lot of anxiety you may want to check into this type. They work by sending signals to your nervous system through narrow blood vessels. This lowers your blood pressure. 

You may find that your insurance doesn’t cover some of you medications.   If this is the case you may have to pay for your medication yourself.   This can become very expensive.  If your medications are unaffordable the manufacturers will offer free samples.  So contact the company and got some help. 

Many of you may have trouble paying for your medications.  Rest assured there is help for you.  Some pharmaceutical companies offer medication assistance.  These programs typically require a doctor’s consent and proof of non-medication coverage from your insurance company. Please contact the pharmaceutical company to find out what their requirements are.

If you become allergic to a medication be sure to make a log of the medication and the symptoms. This will help you to keep control over your medications.  And it will help you to remember which ones you are allergic to and which ones you are not. Keeping a log will help you to remember all of the medications you have tried as well.  So it’s a good idea to keep a log.  Especially if you have to change doctors, this will be helpful. Have you ever heard the question, are you allergic to any medications?   Well keeping a log and bringing it with you when you go to the doctor, any doctor, will help you to remember the ones you are allergic to. 

Medications can be very tricky.  It takes time to strike a balance.  So be patient with yourself and tell those around you to be patient as well.  The reason is this.  The doctor is using a hit a miss approach.  This is why it is so hard to diagnose many illnesses.  You will most likely be given medication to determine your imbalance, and you will be given different kinds as time goes on when you have a need for a change. 

Medications can be very helpful, but don’t expect them to take away your entire symptom’s, all of the time.  You may have periods of your symptoms rearing their ugly head from time to time.  Don’t be discouraged by this.  And you may have ups and downs even with medication. Everyone has ups and downs in everyday life in general. 

If you are given a medication that makes you sensitive to sunlight, avoid the sun at all costs. Exposure to the sun will only result in severe sunburn.  We all know that severe sunburns can cause cancer.  So be very careful if you are given this type of medication.  A lot of the medications that cause this side effect are found in the form of antibiotics. 

Most of the side effects will pass in time.  If they don’t and you cannot live with them, you can change the medication.  Most importantly try not to let your doctor over medicate you.  If you experience overmedication this is not necessary for 2 reasons, 1) most of the time the extra medications are given to counter act a side effect of another pill and 2) the side effect will pass in time usually.  

Be pro-active in your treatment.  Tell your doctor what you think about the medications you are given.  If you are not happy with their choice, don’t be afraid to speak up about it.  Tell them how you feel; if you are feeling severe side effects maybe it’s time to change meds.  You need to voice this to you doctor.  If you are having trouble with your doctor listening, you may have to change doctors. Some doctors are of the old school and resistant to change.  Don’t let this hinder your progress.  Speak up and make sure you are heard.

Rest assured that you will only benefit from being pro-active.  Take charge of your own treatment.  Don’t let them run you over no matter how bad you are feeling.  You need to speak up to control your disease. 

Medications will only help if you take them and take them correctly.  So take them as directed and stay med compliant.  Medications are useful tools in controlling your symptoms so don’t be afraid to take them.  If you don’t like taking pills, you may have to get over that.  Medications help most people, not all, but most.  They help about 75% of the people that take medications. 

So try to accept that you may have to take them. 

Multiple medication use is the rule rather than the exception in modern therapeutics.  Factors affecting the recent increase in utilization of medications include the growth of third party insurance coverage for drugs, increased marketing efforts to promote new medications and clinical guidelines recommending long-term treatment for-chronic conditions. 

Multiple medications use poses questions for clinicians as well, posing the questions below:

      1)What is the extent of polypharmacy in general practice?

      2)What factors impact the increase in polypharmacy seen today?

      3)What should the clinician consider when treating a patient taking two or more medications concurrently?

Almost half of those over 18 in the United States are taking at least one prescription medicine. One in 6 is taking 3 or more. There percentages are substantially higher for Americans 65 and older.  

The reason is, at least in part, the increasing ability to treat and even prevent chronic mental illness.  As a result, patients accumulate drugs as they age and are on them for years. During which time more medications can be added or stopped.  Prescription drug use is on the rise. 

Data from the National Health Statistics in 2004 reported statistics regarding the increasing incidence of polypharmacy.  Among its findings: the use of multiple Psychiatric drugs is an increasingly common practice in both family care doctors and Psychiatrists, the use of anti-depressants in the U.S. adult population almost tripled between 1989 and 1994 to 2000, 10% of women age 18 and older and 4% of men now take anti-depressants, 3 times as many white adults in the U.S. took anti-depressants.  As 3 times as many white adults in the U.S. took anti-depressants, the same is true for Blacks or Mexicans in most recent years for which data is available.  There is also an increased use of specific psychoactive medications in younger patients, and use is also increasing among younger patients including psychoactive medication.

A number of risk factors in family care practices may lead to the increasing incidence of multiple medication use.  Patients with Psychiatric disorders may have significant co-morbidity with medical conditions including HIV infection, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disease, renal failure and many more. Overall a person with a Psychiatric illness increases the risk of developing a number of general medical conditions.

Patients with mood and anxiety disorders have also been found to utilize more health care services than those without these illnesses’ and thus to have a higher incidence and greater complexity of concomitant medication usage.  Patients with substance abuse or dependence are another group at increased risk for drug-to-drug interactions, resulting from polypharmacy. 

With more drugs approved for use by the U.S, Food and Drug Administration, there is more potential for drug interactions.  Since 1990 the FDA has approved for use by the U.S. more than 20 new psychotropic’s, including anti-depressants, antipsychotics, and medications for Bipolar Disorder, dementia, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, narcolepsy and ADHD.

Well-educated patients increasingly turn to alternative medicine because they find such therapies more copasetic with personal values and holistic views of health care.  A wealth of such alternative medicine is available including prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, herbal preparations, illicit substances and dietary supplements.  Adverse drug reactions stemming from concurrent use of such alternative medications with prescriptions can present in almost any way clinically imaginable, from a sudden catastrophic adverse event to a mild increase in nuisance side effects.  Drug-to-drug interactions can also present as a loss of efficiency on a previously effective drug regimen, withdrawal symptoms, emergence of a new illness or worsening of an existing one.

It is now common for patients to buy medications on the Internet for general disorders.  In 2004, the FDA reiterated it’s warning against online drug purchases after it purchased a so-called generic version of sildenafil (Viagra) from and Canadian advertised website.  The FDA reported that it was fake and substandard, potentially dangerous. 

Common Psychiatric conditions such as mood disorders, psychotic and anxiety disorders have multiple signs and symptoms involving more than one bodily system.  Treatment of which can lead to multiple medication use. One study found that patients diagnosed with mania were 4 times more likely to receive multiple psychotropic medications and those diagnosed with schizophrenia were 3 times more likely. There is also a substantial overlap in the diagnostic and ancillary features of Bipolar Disorder, and borderline personality disorder.  An example is: a patient with borderline personality disorder may be treated with lithium for mood stabilization, and anti-depressant for depressive symptoms, and anxiolyic for anxiety symptoms and an antipsychotic for brief psychotic symptoms. You may very well need a few different medications, if you have multiple diseases.  But, if you set a limit, you will be more apt. to be able to have control over your medical care.

Treatment for a primary illness or disorder sometimes produces side effects that doctors think must be treated by the use of adjunctive pharmacotherapy.  This is not always true.  Sometimes if you give it time it will pass.  There are times when other drugs are necessary but some of the time they are not. 

Just be careful, and be proactive in your treatment.  Each case is different.  But try to avoid overmedication; it has its risks as well as benefits.  If you can, in you medical care, try to limit the number of medications that you take.  There are benefits on both sides of the coin.  So, if a medication side effect is not what you are comfortable with, speak up and if your doctor doesn’t listen, get a new doctor!



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