Getting off of Medications

5 Steps to Reducing Prescription Drugs “Side Effects”

The definition of side effect of a drug is any effect other than the intended effect.  Anything that happens as a result of a drug that is undesirable is labeled as a “side effect.”

Side effects of prescription drugs are unavoidable.  As a Doctor of Pharmacy, I know medicine and drugs have the ability to help people who need them. However, their good effects are very limited. Helping people eliminate the need for most, if not all, drugs should be the true goal of healthcare. If you are wondering how to get off medication? Here is a list of tips to reduce side effects of your prescriptions and hopefully reduce the need for any or most of them.

  1. Make healthy lifestyle changes.  The primary change that aids in reducing drug side effects is a healthy diet.  A healthy diet is rich in protein, healthy fats, vegetables and low in carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar.  I cannot think of a single medical condition that is not aggravated by eating sugar and refined carbohydrates.  Other healthy changes include drinking plenty of water, using Celtic sea salt instead of table salt and exercise regularly.
  2. Talk to your health care provider about lowering and potentially weaning off your prescriptions.  Most drugs cause more side effects at higher doses.  In my experience many people are at a much higher dose than needed for symptom relief.  In fact, it’s been my observation that less than 5 percent of all drugs prescribed are actually necessary.
  3. Take gentle detoxification supplements.  Medications must be filtered out of the body and eliminated.  If the body is not efficiently clearing these substances out, it can increase the side effects of the drugs.  Most drugs are eliminated primarily through the kidneys or the liver.  There are many whole food and herbal supplements that can support the body in these filtering functions.  Whenever drug detoxification is involved, you should be monitored by a licensed health care practitioner well versed in the application of supplements for detoxification.
  4. Educate yourself.  Make sure you read and research all side effects of your prescriptions online or in the packaging from the pharmacy.  You need to be able easily identify what is happening if you do experience “side effects.”  Make sure to check online many side effects go unreported and do not make it into the official labeling.  You can just type the drug name plus the word “side effects.” Another resource is www.askapatient.com.
  5. Heal your body naturally for symptom relief.  The majority of medications target symptoms and do not facilitate healing.  When you have a symptom it is a cry for help from your body.  This S.O.S. is an indication of underlying organ dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies.  A targeted whole food supplement program individualized for you through Nutrition Response Testing will help support and heal the stressed organs.