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Other Drugs and MS

other drugs

Using other drugs may cause problems for you especially if they are addicting. If you're like most people with MS, you don't just have multiple sclerosis. You most likely deal with other, such as pain, and you most likely take medications for them. If those medications are addicting, then you could run into problems if you wanted to discontinue them.

There are many resources and alternatives available if you find that you can no longer tolerate a certain drug. I will list a couple of them toward the end of this article, however, first why would you want or need to stop using some of these other drugs?

  • Have you developed an allergy to a drug you've taken for awhile?
  • Do you feel that you want to try something with less side effects?
  • Has the medication become less effective over time?
  • Do you feel the drug is becoming harmful to you?
  • Do you feel that supplements or alternative medications might help better?
  • Have you become addicted to one of these other drugs?

Well, these are reasons that may cause you to want to stop one or more of the medications you currently take in favor of others.

Stopping Other Drugs not so simple

Depending on the drug you are taking, stopping them may not be so simple. Opioids or narcotics are drugs that you can't just stop cold turkey. Well, I suppose you could, however, it's not recommended. Also, if you don't have an alternative lined up, you're more likely to start back taking them because the side effects of withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable to the point of being disabling or dangerous.

So what should you do if you want to discontinue one of these drugs? I would first say that talking to your doctor is in order. Explain your reasons for wanting to stop the drug. If they are open and willing to work with you, then they suggest other milder medications and/or make a plan to help wean you off them.

Many times Cir's doctors have switched him to something with less bothersome side effects. Sometimes this is enough to solve the problem. Other times, they have said to just discontinue them. In the case of opioids, which Cir used for chronic pain, weaning off the other drugs was necessary. This was done over a period of weeks and even then, Cir didn't escape the withdrawal symptoms that come with stopping them, no matter how slowly.

What did he take instead? Good question. And I may need to address that in another article. One thing we can say in hindsight, is to do your research. Come up with a plan with your doctor and on your own if necessary, for what may be helpful while weaning off these other drugs. Find out how much of the medication you will have left before you decide to stop, and ask yourself the following questions.

  • Will you take supplements and which ones? Do you have a supply on hand to help get you through the worst part?
  • Do you need to go to a rehab center to help you stop taking these drugs? Will your insurance pay for your stay or can you afford it?
  • Are there other less addicting drugs that you can take instead?
  • Will you try medical marijuana if it is legal in your state? Do you have your medical marijuana card? Do you know which types will help with your condition?
  • Will you try therapy, meditation, CAM (complimentary alternative medications) or other things like chiropractic or acupuncture? Have you made a contact list of those resources available in your area?
  • Do you have the support of family and friends when things get tough? Someone who can help when you're feeling particularly down?

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when you stop certain kinds of drugs, especially if you've been taking them for months or even years.

A Short Resource List

Here is a short resource list that may help when considering this course of action. Hopefully we'll be able to add more as time goes on. (Note: Off-site links will open a new window).

You may find some of the resources on our other pages helpful as well. They do not all deal with other drugs, however, you may find something that may be of use to you or someone you know.

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Cir & Akrista

You are reading original content written by Akrista or Cir L'Bert of Life in Spite of MS. If you enjoyed reading this blog, please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. See you there!

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