Handling Prescription Medication Side Effects

All medications have risks and benefits. Weigh both sides of the equation with your doctor, and be prepared by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel normal, or does something feel really out of whack?
  • Do I feel unusually depressed, anxious, or uncertain?
  • Do I have blood in my stool or urine?
  • Am I very drowsy, dizzy, or confused?
  • Am I troubled by being unable to sleep, eat, or take part in activities that I normally enjoy?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you and your doctor may decide to:

  • Lower the dose.
  • Change the way you take the medication (e.g., combine it with meals).
  • Switch to another medication.
  • Try a drug-free period (sometimes called a drug holiday) to see if side effects are medication-related.
  • Discontinue medication completely (perhaps making lifestyle changes or using natural remedies).

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