Never discontinue medication without the supervision of your doc. This is not merely lawyer talk; it could be dangerous, really dangerous.
Look, I am a regular old M.D. type doc; I love drugs, their mechanism of action, the wonderful story of their discovery and the amazing labyrinth of understanding that yields them.
But, you knew there would be a ‘but’, they are almost always bad for you. The newer, the more sophisticated, the more harm. No, do not get me wrong there are often valid reasons for their use. Let me give you a simple example: beta-blockers, like atenolol and dozens of related ones, all block the action of adrenaline on many parts of the body. Take a good beta-blocker and your high blood pressure almost instantly gets better. Fantastic. Yes, but if you want to get rid of high blood pressure they directly work to prevent your ever being cured of high blood pressure. You need adrenaline to burn out ‘belly fat’ which drives high blood pressure in most people and you are taking a drug to lower your blood pressure by blocking adrenaline so you can’t get rid of the fat that causes your high blood pressure. Did you follow that? If not read it again because it was a clear case of a dog chasing its tail. Welcome to ‘Doc School 101’. One drug leads to another leads to a higher dose of the first leads to a third; this is old school to any sentient doc and known to all patients who have started down the medication path to disease treatment.
Let me give you another example: Lipitor, and all of its statin cousins. Heart disease is substantially a disease of your mitochondria, this lecture will be posted pretty soon, and guess what, all of the statins directly, not indirectly, poison your mitochondria. Period. No elaboration necessary, no knowledgeable biochemist can factually contradict that. Hmmm…what is wrong with this picture? Am I saying docs, drug companies and organized medicine are intentionally trying to kill large numbers of people, though they are assuredly doing that ? No, I am emphatically not saying anything like that.
And here is where you, the would be patient, come into the picture, as it were come into the conspiracy. If you do not or will not, and honestly most of you won’t, actually directly fix the problem by radically altering your behavior then the drugs make sense. They make perfect sense because organized medicine knows it is nearly futile to ask most people to take real active responsibility for their own health. And in that case then take the drugs; they can slow down your early, often miserable demise. The rest of the story is that docs actually don’t know how to actively coach and direct you to take responsibility even if you so chose to. Why would they waste precious time in a physician’s education to teach what the student doc will likely never to rarely use; that is, the knowledge to aid you in your personal fight to stay or become healthy? No good answer. If you were responsible for establishing medical education you might make the same choices as those who designed the curricula all MD’s take.
OK, drugs are bad for you and you want to get better then where do the drugs fit in? The tough answer is they just don’t. Getting off them, in a safe, sane, sequential manner is tough but is part of the path to getting healthy.
I have fought this fight long and hard with many patients over many years: it is either/or not both/and. I am sorry but it is so. There are areas of possible compromise but I have never seen one work out in the long run.
I offer as encouragement one of my recent happy case studies. For those familiar with diabetes see graphs below from her chart to illustrate my story. If you don’t like graphs let this suffice: she is 80, had wildly out of control Adult Onset Diabetes Mellitus (AODM: sometimes NIDDM). There is a background to this so don’t try this on your own: Off all diabetes medications, in a few months she went from wildly out of control AODM to good control and will, likely, very soon no longer meet blood glucose criteria of having diabetes!! 80! This is as near as any proof might be to justify the claim that ‘anything is possible.’