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Many of us take multiple medications. It’s often simply what happens over time. Various symptoms and health concerns increase as we get older, which causes doctors to prescribe medications to deal with them. Before you know it, you could find yourself part of the 25 percent of seniors over the age of 65 who take at least five prescriptions.
Although seniors are known for taking multiple medications throughout the day, you don’t have to be a senior to want to stop taking certain medications! No matter your age, what medicines you take, or how many you take on a regular basis, there are things you have to do if you want to stop taking one of your medicines.
Learn How can You Stop Medication
Make a Plan to Stop for the Right Reasons
Before you make a serious plan for stopping your medication, you have to make sure you stop for the right reasons.
It isn’t uncommon for patients to take a certain medicine regularly and assume that if they stop taking it, they will continue to feel fine. However, that’s almost never the case. Your symptoms will return, which means you may just find yourself taking the medication again.
Stopping for the right reasons might mean wanting to reduce the number of medications you take on a daily basis, or it could be for safety reasons. For example, Elmiron has been used by hundreds of thousands of patients with severe bladder pain, but it has the potential to be toxic to the retinas in your eyes. Consider your reasons carefully and never stop taking medication simply because you don’t want to take it anymore.
In some cases, you may be able to stop using a medication with very little, if any, effect on your daily life. In others, you may feel stuck because you still have symptoms to manage. Don’t automatically think you’re out of luck! It’s possible to find a more natural alternative to a potentially harmful medication you could be taking.
Just a few examples of prescribed drugs and possible alternatives include:
- Acupuncture may be able to help with pain instead of taking Vicodin.
- Changing your diet could eliminate the need to take statins, like Lipitor.
- Customizing a supplement plan could replace high blood pressure medications, like Zestril.
Talk It Over With Your Doctor
If you realize you want to quit taking drugs for the right reasons and you have considered alternatives, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
It’s always important to talk to your doctor about medications you’re taking, but it’s especially important if you want to quit taking one or more of your medications. They understand your condition and they can tell you if it’s even possible for you to quit taking your medicine.
For example, if you have concerns about the safety of one of your medications, but it’s not something you can stop taking, your doctor may be able to recommend other medications to take instead.
Create a Plan to Stop Safely
If your doctor does give you the go-ahead, it’s important to talk to them about how to stop taking the medication safely. Many meds, like antidepressants, can’t be discontinued without experiencing some serious problems.
Your doctor can create a schedule for reducing your dose or frequency of doses over time. If you want to quit more than one medication, your doctor may help you decide which ones to taper and when.
You may also talk to your doctor about how and when to check in as you’re coming off of your medication to ensure everything is going according to plan.
Be Ready for Possible Side Effects
Just because your doctor says it’s safe to stop and they help you develop a plan for quitting certain medications doesn’t mean the experience will be pleasant. It’s important to be aware of possible side effects you might experience, even if you wean off of your medication carefully.
Being aware of these side effects and their severity ensures you discuss what you’re experiencing with your doctor. It may become clear that you shouldn’t be quitting a certain medication after all, but that doesn’t mean you have to take the exact same one again. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a lower dose or a different medication that you’re more comfortable taking.
There are many reasons why you might want to stop taking a medication. Just don’t make the mistake of throwing it all down the toilet! It’s important to consider the points on this list to ensure you quit safely.