Can I ever stop this medicine once it is started?
I hear this question from my patients over and over again.It is asked when you give a prescription for a medicine to be used for a long time or even indefinitely. Medicines given for controlling blood sugar in Diabetes and those given for controlling Blood Pressure in Hypertensive patients etc receive such question.
Many believe that once such medicines are started the patient get addicted to it and will never be able to stop it because of that.Is there any addiction potential for such medicines? Not at all. Then why such belief?
These medicines are usually started after trying out non-pharmacological methods to control blood sugar and blood pressure.Non-pharmacological methods include changes in diet and life style,exercise regimens and measures to reduce stress.Reduction in body weight will also help a great deal.If the sugar value or the blood pressure do not get controlled by these methods medicines will be prescribed.As Diabetes and Hypertension are not curable but only controllable, most patients have to take the medicines indefinitely.
So what is the answer for my patient's question?
Most probably you cant stop the medicine,unless a profound change in lifestyle, diet, body weight etc bring the sugar and blood pressure values to acceptable levels with out medicines.
And what happens when you suddenly stop the medicine on your own? May be nothing for few days.Your blood pressure or your blood sugar starts rising steadily to your pretreatment level or even more. Over a time an elevated blood sugar or blood pressure causes damages to your body.Thus stopping the medicines will definitely have deleterious effect on your health.
So better not to stop such medicines on your own.