Drained from taking medications

Drained From Taking Medications

I am a firm believer that every day can be an adventure and that you need to make the best out of it. I had a recent important follow up that indicated that I had osteopenia. While this may lead to osteoporosis, it doesn't always. My care team was in agreement that long-term oral steroid use was the likely culprit for my bone loss and that I needed to be more diligent about calcium and vitamin D. I had previously been taking calcium and vitamin D to ward off any potential bone loss. Even the thought of taking a vitamin was not appealing to me, just one more thing to remember to take and a reminder that asthma was adding another element to my life.

This had me thinking about how I want to feel flushed out. Perhaps, I have been watching too many detox commercials and I just want to be medication free for a while.

What is a medication vacation

In my day job, I have come across a number of cases of the “medication vacation” in my summer programs. A medication vacation is essentially when a patient takes a break from taking their medication for a period of a few days to weeks. In some cases this may be medically necessary, in other cases, there may be arbitrary decisions about why this may be important. The challenges may be when symptoms may not be adequately controlled or medications side effects are too great to bear.

Safety first: It is important that you should not take a medication vacation without consulting your physician first. No one wants to feel even worse.

What are some of the reasons someone would take a medication vacation?

To reduce the side effects of medications or treatments,
To regain the effectiveness of the medication.
It can provide an opportunity for the body to recover. 1
In contrast to the listed reasons someone would take a medication vacation, I believe, that patients can also feel an exhausted both physically and mentally from taking medications. In some circumstances, you may feel like you are spending your entire day on a rotation of having to take one thing or another. On occasion, I have felt drained from taking controller medications, rescue medications, add-on treatments (oral steroids, biologics), then there is the medication that is treating the side effects of other medication. The development of more individualized treatment, phenotyping and endotyping should hopefully have patients on more targeted therapies and where appropriate fewer medications. While science is not quite at the one step, super customized medication yet, I am hopeful we may be moving towards greater, less burdensome treatment options.

Have you ever felt like you wanted to take a medication vacation? Just a bit of a reprieve from managing chronic illness and disease management. What are your coping strategies?

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