Don’t Let Medication Side Effects Get the Best of You

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Most medications come with minor side effects that many people never even notice. However, some side effects are certainly not minor, and they certainly don’t go unnoticed. If you’re struggling to continue your normal way of life due to side effects from medications, here are four ways you can conquer them and take back your normal routine.

Be Prepared

First, make sure you understand the possible side effects associated with your prescribed medication. Knowing which side effects are normal can help you determine if you are experiencing a common side effect or something in need of medical attention. If you experience a side effect that you were not warned about by your doctor or pharmacist, seek medical attention right away.

Many side effects are uncomfortable, but not life-threatening. Problems such as dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, or constipation can be treated with a secondary medication or alternative method. If you know that your medication causes you to feel a wave of nausea, prepare for it by having a soothing remedy on hand. Ask your doctor about taking an over-the-counter anti-nausea medication. Stock stomach-settling snacks or beverages, such as crackers, ginger ale, or milk, to take with or shortly after your medication.

Drink plenty of water and take a fiber supplement if you know your medication will cause constipation. If dizziness is the problem, be sure to take your medication while sitting down and stay seated until the side effect has passed. By preparing for the known side effects, you can greatly decrease the duration of the problem and the toll it takes on your daily life.

Be Honest

Some side effects might seem minor and/or embarrassing. But it’s important to be open and honest with your doctor about any side effects you are experiencing, even when taking something as common as over-the-counter pain medications. A side effect is often a sign of a problem that your doctor should know about and can treat. Your doctor might also adjust your dosage to better accommodate your condition and control for your side effects.

Ask For an Alternative

A number of treatment options exist for nearly every condition, and there are often several different medications suited to treat the same disorder. If your present medication is giving you trouble, ask your doctor about an alternative that might come with different or fewer side effects. Everyone responds differently to each medication.

Make Small Changes

Sometimes our daily habits can actually worsen side effects. For example, if you’re taking a blood thinner like Coumadin, it’s important to avoid eating leafy greens and other foods high in vitamin K. Other medications might cause adverse side effects if you drink alcohol, drink caffeine, or smoke. Ask your doctor about what you can do to reduce your side effects by making small dietary or lifestyle changes.

Side effects are unpredictable. Some people experience many while others taking the same drug experience none. While you can’t control how your body will respond to a particular medication, you can improve your chances of living side-effect-free by educating yourself about the drugs you’re taking and their potential side effects. Most importantly, keep your doctor up to date so you can work together to improve your quality of life while taking medication.

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