I heard back from my neurologist yesterday and I was wrong about what he is going to do next about my migraine situation. I thought he was going to increase my current preventative medication dosage, but instead he is adding an additional medication. He said he hates to do it “because I am on so many medicines already,” and he’s right.
I keep a list of all the medications I am on in my phone so I have them handy when I have to fill out forms at the doctor’s office. I haven’t updated them in a while, so I did this morning and holy crap! If the number of medicines a person is on is any indication of how ill they are, then I am one sick puppy!
I am on six psychiatric and four migraine medicines. I take two of them only as needed; the other eight I take daily. I also take a pill for acne and four vitamin/supplements. So, all together I take thirteen different medication/supplements a day!
How I Organize My Medications
I take them at various times throughout the day, so I use one of those morning, afternoon, evening, and bedtime pill boxes like this:
Some of my meds have to be taken with food, some without, some at bedtime, some several hours before bed, some in the am, some not with vitamins, and some not after 3pm. It really takes a lot of organization to keep them straight. I do this by putting a number on the cap of each bottle indicating the order in which I put them in my pill box, so as to make sure I am putting the right medicine in the right time of day, and that I don’t leave any out.
My Take on Medication Discontinuation
Like everyone, I assume, I don’t like taking medicine, and I surely hate taking so many. I don’t think I need them all, but I wouldn’t know where to begin to cut some out. Plus, I am still having symptoms, so taking even one away would increase the risk of my symptoms worsening and I don’t want that to happen.
In the past, my doctor has decreased medication when it was obviously causing negative symptoms. For example, my Adderall was increasing my anxiety so we cut it down from 20 to 10mg and my anxiety got better. I recently noticed this happening again so I cut it down further to 5mg. This helped just like before.
Although I wasn’t experiencing any more anxiety from the Adderall, I was curious to see if I could manage on even less, so I cut it down again to 2.5mg and I immediately became overly fatigued and nonfunctional. So, I went back up to the 5mg and felt like myself again. I think this is how most medication discontinuation attempts probably happen.
(NOTE: YOU SHOULD NEVER STOP TAKING OR DECREASE YOUR MEDICATION WITHOUT TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT IT FIRST. DOING SO COULD BE DANGEROUS AND/OR LIFE THREATENING.)
- Wait until you are symptoms free.
- Under your doctor’s guidance decrease dosage of the medication.
- Wait and see if symptoms return.
- If no symptoms return, decrease dosage some more.
- If symptoms return, increase dosage to last effective level.
- Repeat process until either off of medicine completely or stable again on the least amount of medicine.
What about you? How many meds do you take? How do you keep them organized? Have you had a successful experience with coming off a medication?