Being Patient with New Medication
Last updated: June 2018
No, not being A PATIENT with new meds…funny, right? Oh, ok, here we go… Medication can be one of the cornerstones of illness management and if we find the right one, it can make all the difference in the world. Finding the medication or combinations of medications, can be a particularly trying experience, both mentally and physically. The search requires patience, good judgement, regular communication with your doctor and a certain amount of resilience. Depending on the medication, it may take a while to work or it may work immediately, leaving you very uncomfortable because of side effects. Let’s take a look at some of the things we all deal with while trying to get our meds right and maybe try to develop an understanding of what is required to find the Holy Grail of meds.
Open and regular dialogue
I’m going to approach this subject with no particular medication in mind and speak generally about some of the common things that happen with new medication. I think a good place to start, is what exactly you are trying to accomplish with a particular medication. Once you have decided on the goal, let your doctor tell you what they think about that medication, good and bad. Now is a good time to advocate for yourself and be prepared with a list of questions you have about the choice. I avoid online chats about what a particular medication does or doesn’t do, mostly because medications affect us all so differently, due to our varying physiology and psychological make up. I do, however, research. We are lucky in this day and age to have excellent resources, literally at our fingertips. Research is good...pre-judgement is bad. If you trust your doctor, follow his or her instructions and advice about this new addition to your wellness routine. Then, be prepared to start paying very close attention to how you feel and whether or not this med is going to cut it.
Unfortunately, many medications take a while to work to full potential. During this initial phase you may experience uncomfortable side effects. Be clear about what side effects are normal and which are not. This is where an open and regular dialogue with your health care provider is very important. Something that I’ve struggled with is suffering through the initial phase, because I get sort of…uh…indignant. I believe that I was feeling bad before I took the new med and why should I have to suffer MORE just to feel better MAYBE. This is a leap of faith that sometimes we need to take. I can say from personal experience that the ‘leap of faith’ has been a crash and burn at times and has also basically saved my life. You have to give medicine time to work. If you are being self-aware and completely honest with yourself and you decide that your body, mind or both, just simply cannot handle the med, talk to your doctor about alternate options.
Finding comfort in the process
Medication management and experimentation (under a doctor’s supervision, of course) is an important part of trying to manage our illness or illnesses, but can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Realizing this ahead of time may make us all a little more comfortable with the process and may help us to find the proper approach medically. Who knows, it may change our lives.
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