Monday, November 2, 2020

Don't forget to ask this question when changing meds

 I have noticed a trend with my patients.  Often, their doctor will prescribe a medication with the guidance of, "We'll see how this works".  Alternatively, if patients are experiencing symptoms that may be a side-effect of a medication, the doctor will lower the dose (or substitute the medication altogether) and say, "We'll see if this helps."  The question I encourage my patients to ask is "When?"  "When will we know if this is working or not?  If it helps, should I know that within a week, or is this the sort of thing that takes months to work (if it does at all)?  By what point can we make a judgement?"  I think this simple follow-up question will help inform patients, and also help physicians to make adjustments earlier if necessary.  So when your doctor suggests you try something, really anything, ask when you should notice the difference.  This is not just for medications, it's also for diet and lifestyle modifications as well.  For example: "Stop eating gluten and see if that helps."  Then you ask, "After how long should I notice a benefit if in fact Gluten was the problem?"  And it may be the case that it will take a very long time to notice.  I used to drink a lot of milk and had a lot of phlegm.  I learned that dairy causes phlegm and drastically reduced my dairy intake.  It took 5 years before my phlegm started clearing up.  But I know it would've just kept getting worse if I didn't make the change.  

Ask about the timeframe.  And Be Well.


No comments:

Post a Comment