(SD-SP) Chronic conditions, of which 6 in 10 Americans live with according to the CDC, may require long-term treatment through medication. As such, there may come a point in time when you or your doctor will think it’s time to make a change to your treatment plan. Here’s how to know it may be time to switch your medication:
Your symptoms aren’t controlled
If you have a chronic condition, such as chronic pain for instance, then it is important to keep track of your symptoms. If you’re on a treatment for chronic pain but your pain isn’t being managed enough, then talk to your doctor about what options may be available for treatment. Sometimes, you may be referred to a pain specialist who can take a holistic approach to managing your pain, which may mean trying a new therapy or combination of medication and lifestyles changes.
It’s getting in the way of your life
Every medication has the potential for side effects, some more than others. If you’re on a treatment but it’s causing another issue that’s interfering with your life, speak up. For example, some medicines for chronic pain are known to cause constipation as a side effect. In other instances, the dose may be too high or too low. If something like that is happening to you, then speak to your doctor about what can be done to get the relief you need.
Your insurance doesn’t cover it
Insurance coverage can be quite complex, but the bottom line is that not every medication is paid-for in the same way. If your insurance doesn’t cover a specific brand, then an alternative medication in the same class or category may be offered instead. While it may be frustrating at first to not have a certain brand available, particularly if you’re familiar with it, know that the alternative treatments have been rigorously studied and put to the same tests. It may take some time adjusting, but a medical professional can work with you for a personalized approach.
“These are just a few of the reasons why it may be time to switch a medication to treat a chronic condition. Innovations in medication delivery and the availability of dosing options can help add to medical professionals’ treatment toolkits,” said Dr. Thomas Smith, Chief Medical Officer, BioDelivery Sciences.
So, what should you do when starting a new treatment? “Give your body time to adjust and keep track of your progress and any side effects. Recording your experience will help inform you and your doctor if the medication is giving you the relief you need,” said Dr. Smith. “Having a trusted relationship with your healthcare providers is key – they can help you navigate the right treatment path and course correct as needed.”