Decision Whether To Take Arthritis Medications

Asking Questions About Your Medications

Every one of us are different and you ask your doctor questions about your medications which will help you feel more informed about the choices being made.

The following are some important questions you should ask your doctor.

1) Why did your doctor chose the drug prescribed over another?

2) What are the possible side effects are and are they common to everyone or it has rare side effects?

3) What you should do if you experience any side effects after consuming the medications?

4) If there are side effects, what tests will be routinely done to monitor for side effects?

5) When you should expect to notice some benefits after taking the medications?

You can also discuss any concerns you have with your pharmacist, who has vast knowledge of medications and can also advice you on possible side effects, interactions and any other factors such as how to take your medications.

Paying Attention to Your Medications Response

Firstly, you have to compliant with the dosing schedule assigned to each of your medications so that you can accurately assess their effectiveness.  If you're not getting a good response, you may need to consider a medications change.  You have to feedback and talk to your doctor.

Keeping a medication diary helps to track how your medications make you feel.  Always feedback and inform your doctor about any kind of problems you are experiencing.  Usually, an adjustment of dosage or a medication change may resolve the problem.  As you are the one taking the medications, you are the one who must communicate how you are responding or not responding.

By trying various drugs and making adjustments as required, you and your doctor are trying to determine the fine line between optimal treatment and over-treatment.  There a two sides to consider:

1) Drugs have the potential risks of undesirable side effects, but can also offer tremendous benefits.

2) The possibilities become magnified when you add more medications into your treatment regimen.  

Always remember that you must be aware of how you react to the medications you are taking.

Medications Trial and Error

Before you can find what works for your body, you may have to try several medications within the same class of drugs.  Although you may think all drugs in the same class are equally effective, you may experience a different response to several drugs within the same class.  There are cases where you may experience problems with one drug class but not another.  Therefore, it is important for you to learn about the different classes of arthritis drugs and expected response to them.

Fearing Medications

There are patients who resist taking medications and prefer natural treatment.  Medications are not without risk, but an overwhelming fear may interfere with the potential benefit they can provide.  Without any appropriate treatment, arthritis may progress with damaging consequences.  Having a discussing with your doctor about your concerns may help to allay your fears. Keep yourself aware of the plan to monitor potential side effects and adverse reactions.

Fear of Side Effects

Certain patients feel anxious believing that medications will make them sicker than they already are.  Most of the time, these category of patients does not require any medication before.

If you are one of them, you may worry about putting chemicals into your body. Newer drugs seem to provoke more fear as they have a short track record usage.  Good doctors will prescribe medications only when the benefit outweighs the potential risks.  What you can do to overcome the fear of medications is to become well informed.  Start by asking your doctor about the drugs and do your own research.  Patient self-education is the best antidote for fearing medications.

The Fear of Addiction

There are some arthritis patients who have been prescribed pain medications worry about becoming addicted.  Addiction means you can't stop yourself from using the drug.  According to Mayo Clinic, individual confuse addiction, tolerance and physical dependence.  If you are confuse with the terminology, you may fear addiction unnecessarily.\

  • Tolerance occurs when your initial dose of medication is no longer achieving the same therapeutic effect it did earlier on.  In such case, you may need your doctor to adjust your dose higher.  Tolerance is considered normal and not an indication of drug addiction.

  • Physical Dependence means your body had adjust to the drug you are taking.  If you stop taking it suddenly, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal.  This is physical dependence which is not the same as addiction.  For physical dependence, it is possible for you to stop a drug by gradually decreasing the prescribe dosage.

  • Addiction means you will not stop taking a drug if you are addicted even though you know it has harmful effects.  Addictions and physical dependence can occur simultaneously or either one without the other.

Your decision for medication should be based on the quality of life issues counterbalance the fear of medications.  You should consider the following:

1) Does your fear of becoming disabled is more than your fear of medications?

2) Do you feel that your quality of life is good and will continue to remain good without taking medications?

3) Do you fear the future and what lies ahead? Your arthritis condition without medications may cause you to lose a job or you will not be able to take care of yourself and your family if your condition worsen.

4) Do you fear the future more if you start taking medications or if you are not taking medications?

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