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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

6 tips that could save your life when taking a new medication

Oct 31, 2016 11:59AM ● By Suzy Cohen

Sometimes medications can have unpleasant side effects, tempting patients to stop taking everything. While I do believe in “drug holidays” I don’t think you should ever take one without your physician’s approval and supervision.

If you stop certain medications suddenly that are supposed to be weaned off slowly, it could cause seizures or major withdrawal problems. If you’re fed up and insist on stopping everything, you must do it properly and with supervision by your doctors.

When beginning a medication or a new dietary supplement, it’s ideal to keep a little notepad, an app or a computer document handy to track progress. Doing this enables you to pinpoint which medication triggers a side effect. I believe all side effects are caused by the drug nutrient depletion, something I call the drug mugger effect. Unfortunately, the side effects are often misdiagnosed and labeled a symptom, thus giving you some new disease.

By restoring nutrients stolen by your medicine, you can avoid these new symptoms. That’s important, because nutrient deficiencies look just like diseases. For example, a diagnosis of restless legs syndrome could be tied to your cholesterol medicine stealing vitamin D and CoQ10. Your depression diagnosis may be related to your acid blocker, which suppresses your ability to make neurotransmitters by mugging your body of probiotics and methylcobalamin (a form of B12).

Here are some of my secrets to help you minimize side effects and interactions:

1) Go to the same pharmacy. There is a computer record of your medication profile that automatically screens for interactions. If you chase coupons and stray, the new pharmacy will not have the rest of your medication profile and you’re more apt to experience an interaction.

2) Take your medication at the same time each day. If you take your blood pressure pill at different times of the day, you will experience more highs and lows in your blood stream, and the swinging blood levels causes dizziness, nausea and faintness.

3) Consider the drug mugging effect. If you take one or two medications and suddenly need more medications for new symptoms, it’s probably related to drug number one or two ripping you off! You have to fix the nutrient depletions, not layer on more medications.

4) Don’t drink coffee with stimulants. There’s an additive effect of caffeine with certain drugs like Provigil, Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin. Avoid the stimulants.

5) Don’t drink alcohol with sedatives. There’s an enhanced effect on your nervous system, and the alcohol can make your medicine work much stronger, causing your breathing to stop completely. It’s bad news to combine drugs that all depress your nervous system.

6) If you’re concerned that your new medication will interact with something you’re already taking, ask your doctor and pharmacist point blank. This is particularly important if you go to more than one physician.

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