Are you taking any medications right now? Many of us are. I go to the hospital for scheduled infusions for Crohn’s disease. In the past, I’ve been on prednisone, a powerful steroid which can cause major side effects. It works great for what it’s treating, but has some ugly side effects that are difficult to handle. It may even cause a person taking them to want to just chuck them down the toilet instead of finishing the prescription.
Don’t do that!
Quitting a drug like prednisone cold turkey can be extremely dangerous. When a person has completed treatment on prednisone, your doctor will initiate a taper. You will gradually take less and less of the drug over the span of days or weeks (depending on how high your dose and how long your treatment) and you will slowly and safely wean off the drug.
Stopping the drug cold turkey can cause real problems including withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and blood sugar level issues. It can also cause a major problem with your adrenal system. An adrenal crisis can be serious and sometimes deadly. But prednisone is just a personal example of a med you shouldn’t just “quit” and here are five reasons why you shouldn’t quit others cold turkey either:
Withdrawal When you quit a drug cold turkey, you can experience full-on withdrawal symptoms such as the aforementioned anxiety, nausea, headaches, and other unpleasant symptoms.
You Might Need It You may need this medication. For whatever reason you’re considering quitting it, talk to your doctor. If, for example, it’s a blood pressure medication, you may genuinely need this medication to keep you upright and alive. Discontinuing it on a whim could carry serious implications. Maybe this current medication doesn’t suit you and has some side effects you’re not enjoying, but there just might be a medication that will protect you and not carry the side effects you’re trying to avoid. Talk to your doc before quitting.
Maybe It’s Not the Medication If some particular symptom is troubling you and you suspect it could be a medication side effect and this leads you to want to quit taking it, consider that it indeed may not be a side effect but a symptom of something else that needs to be explored.
Quitting Can Worsen Your Condition If you discontinue an anti-depressant medication, for instance, your original symptoms of depression and anxiety can actually worsen if you go off the drug without supervision.
Just Don’t Self-Medicate It can really be that simple. I know we’re tempted too often to stop taking those antibiotics once we start feeling better or discontinue that topical ointment because the rash looks better. The bottom line is though, unless we’re medically qualified, we really shouldn’t take our medication doses and delivery into our own hands. Definitely take charge of your medical care. Voice your feelings to your physician and if you don’t feel listened to, get a second opinion.
This is your body after all and you–and only you–know exactly how it feels to be in this body. So be respectfully vocal about what you want, how you feel, and if you want to pursue other avenues of treatment. Your doctor is trained to know how and when to taper a medication and he or she knows what viable alternatives exist so trust him or her to act in your best interest while you do your best research. Together you can make a healthy decision and a cohesive team.
Meet Melanie P. :
Melanie Pickett is a mom, wife, writer, blogger, and Jesus girl. Melanie spends most of her time at her own blog, melaniespickett.com where she writes about her domestic abuse survival, healthy relationships, life, and faith. She is busy with her work in progress, her first nonfiction book. Melanie has been featured on BlogHer.com and published on Splickety Magazine, Whole Magazine, Breathe Writers Conference blog, and various other blogs as a guest writer. Having worked in the medical field for nearly two decades, Melanie recently “retired” so she could concentrate on her family and writing career. She is also a substitute teacher. Besides writing, Melanie loves to read, travel, enjoys hockey, playing piano, listening to music, helping and encouraging others, speaking on Periscope, movies, and hanging out and cheering on her very favorite people: her family. Melanie lives in west Michigan with her husband, two teen children, and her pug Gracie and beabrador Lillie. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and one of her favorite quotes is: “They call us the dreamers, but we’re the ones who never sleep.”