New Meds: The Pain Threshold

In a past article, ‘Being Patient with New Medication’, we talked about our quest to find some relief from pain related to IBS, psychological symptoms or other illnesses, by way of trying different medications. The point of that article was that it takes time for certain medications to work and that sometimes it requires some perseverance and some discomfort to get to a therapeutic dose and the full benefits of the medication. All that said, I would like to share my experience with taking perseverance too far and the importance of when to listen to your body and call it quits.

I went too far

I recently started a new medication with a reputation for being strong and with lots of side effects. I also knew the success that a lot of people have had with this particular medication and with doctor’s orders, I decided I would give it a go. I am not going to mention what the medication is, because over the years I have learned that what is one person’s saving grace, is another person’s nightmare. The doctor’s instructions were to take a ‘low’ dose for fifteen days and then titrate up to double dose…the ‘therapeutic’ dose. First week or so I felt like crap…I believe I had every side effect there was, but I PERSEVERED. I figured I should try to practice what I preach :). A little more than a week later, I started feeling better and the medicine WAS doing what it was supposed to, so I got excited. I was excited that I found a medication that was helping a lot with my symptoms and the side effects had subsided…great! Time for titration UP! Ok, so if there is a Hell, I now know what it feels like and like the macho son of a gun I am; I dealt with it. I missed work, I couldn’t think and I was so tired that I couldn’t do much of anything. NO PAIN, NO GAIN…right, bull headed is more like it. I kept going, thinking the next day would be the day that this crippling effect on my body would go away…the day didn’t come. Finally, I called my doctor in tears and he called me in and helped. The medicine was correct…just not the dosage. ‘Therapeutic’ dose simply means the average dose that seems to get people where they need to be initially. I think I believed that this was the minimum amount that was needed for the medication to work in the long term. I was wrong. I don’t mind admitting being wrong and I don’t mind admitting that I went too far.

Desperate for relief

Why did I really go too far? Because I could feel that the medication was helping my symptoms significantly and that I believed the side effects should go away. We all want so desperately to feel better, that we are willing to go through a lot of discomfort and inconvenience to find something that will make living with IBS easier. I was stubborn because I wanted to keep the med. I was stupid because I let my pride and my belief that I ‘could handle it’, get in the way of listening to my body tell me it was time to call the doctor and stop. So…once again, you all get the benefits of my foolhardiness…you’re welcome.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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