When your healthcare provider prescribed a new medication, you took it faithfully at first. But now you want to stop, either because you’ve had side effects, you feel better, you’re not feeling better, you can’t afford a refill or you can’t remember what to take and when. But if you abruptly quit, serious consequences can result.
No matter what your reasons, don’t stop taking your medicine or skip doses until you check with your healthcare provider.
The information below shows the risks of stopping common medicines too soon.
Why you take it: To improve mood, sleep, appetite, emotional responses and concentration
Dangers of stopping: Increased anxiety, feelings of sadness, irritability, fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and diarrhea
Medicine: Blood pressure medications
Why you take it: To regulate developing high blood pressure (prehypertension) or high blood pressure (hypertension)
Dangers of stopping: Untreated hypertension can cause blood vessel damage, congestive heart failure, heart attack, kidney damage, vision loss and stroke.
Why you take it: To fight bacterial infections, such as ear infections, severe sinus infections, strep throat, urinary tract infections and many skin infections
Dangers of stopping: An incomplete course of antibiotics doesn’t kill resistant bacteria, which can lead to new and hard-to-treat infections or antibiotic resistance.
Medicine: Anti-anxiety medication:
Why you take it: To treat anxiety disorders, such as panic
disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social phobia
Dangers of stopping: Anxiety symptoms often return; you may have withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, dizziness, headache and flulike symptoms.
Medicine: Oral hypoglycemic medications
Why you take it: To manage diabetes and regulate insulin and blood sugar levels
Dangers of stopping: Blood sugar can rise quickly; if it remains high, you’re at risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, blindness and amputation.