Managing Drug Side Effects with Homeopathy
Having had asthma since age 12, I am no stranger to the side effects of medical drugs. Over the years, I’ve come to know what to expect when taking prednisone or a bronchodilator inhaler, and the reactions to different medical drugs for those ailments that usually accompany asthma (infections, rashes, etc.). As a child, I relied on medical drugs and medical care to help me with the exacerbations of asthma and the infections. Although I’ve healed a lot, I still occasionally require medical drugs and have to deal with those unwanted side effects. When medical drugs are required now, I manage the side effects with homeopathy.
I started writing a book for myself and my patients on the uses of homeopathy to manage side effects of medical drugs. Almost every patient I see is taking at least two medical drugs (most 5 or more daily). I also thought back to those days when I worked as a Registered Nurse both in nursing homes and in the hospital. So many drugs I gave the residents of the nursing home! One of the first articles I published professionally was about the “snowball” effects of taking medical drugs, as I saw daily at the nursing home. One particular resident had severe arthritis for which she was prescribed a narcotic pain drug. But that drug caused constipation and nausea, so 2 more drugs were prescribed for these side effects. But on occasion the constipation drug caused diarrhea in the afternoon, so in the afternoon she was given a drug for the diarrhea. Then a drug to help her sleep because the sedating effects of the narcotic wore off by bedtime. In the grand scheme of things, she took 7 different prescriptions just to manage the side effects of either that drug or one of the other drugs prescribed to manage the side effects of those drugs!
In the hospital, more than half of my patients in a shift had been admitted for a drug side effect, usually severe low blood sugar from taking insulin or high risk of bleeding because of taking an anticoagulant drug (“blood thinner”). On occasion, it was something different, but it was so common for hospital admissions due to side effects of drugs they took for chronic diseases.
Often the side effects of a drug are worse than the disease it was treating.
And, unfortunately, every medical drug comes with side effects (minor inconveniences) or adverse reactions (severe or life-threatening symptoms).
Several of my patients each month come to see me just to find a way to “live with” the medical drug they are taking for whatever disease they are trying to manage medically. Some of those “side effects” affected their life profoundly. One woman I saw recently was on disability not for the disease she had but because of the side effects of the drugs she took for that disease.
So I started researching ways to manage side effects or adverse reactions to medical drugs. As homeopathy is safe with virtually every medical drug, I had started there when researching for my book. I also learned along the way that many of the side effects of drugs were caused by depletion of nutrients, or the blocking of their absorption by medical drugs, thus creating a deficiency.
Nearly every medical drug suppresses a body function or system, or works against a body process to affect some form of change. Examples are antihistamines. The beginning “anti” means against. Antihistamines are “against histamine”. Antimicrobials are against microbes (germs, bacteria).
Some drugs say they are suppressants such as cough suppressants which suppress the cough reflex.
Another category of drugs are the inhibitors which, as the title implies, inhibit a body process. An example are ACE-Inhibiitors, high blood pressure drugs that inhibit Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme I from being converted into Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme II; the process occurs in the kidneys. ACE-II helps to raise blood pressure, so inhibiting the formation of this Enzyme helps to keep blood pressure lower.
The body doesn’t like to be suppressed or inhibited. If a chemical is taken into the body to do these things, the body will fight against it–hence the side effects. Studies are done to determine when to repeat the medical drug. The length of time is determined by how long it takes a healthy person’s healing abilities to remove or contain the drug. The body removes the drug through urine or stool usually; it contains it by pushing it into fat storage in the liver or other locations. If it takes 2 hours to accomplish this, then the drug is repeated every 2 hours; if it’s 4 hours, then the drug is repeated every 4 hours, and so forth.
Side effects are the body’s way of saying it doesn’t like the drug and is trying to remove it (or contain it). The longer a person takes the drug, the body’s healing ability to remove it will weaken and the body will accept the drug. When people tell pharmacists or their doctor of the side effects, the statement is usually that the side effects will diminish over time–this is the reason.
In the meantime, the person suffers with the side effects. This is when homeopathy is helpful.
As many herbs can interact in a negative way with medical drugs, looking towards homeopathy is the safe way to manage the side effects of a medical drug. Homeopathy is safe with medical drugs and will not interfere with the action of drugs.
Based on symptom (some examples):
Aloe: for constipation.
Antimonium tart: peripheral neuropathy.
Apis mellifica: for any reaction with swelling. Can be used in place of an Epi-Pen if one is not available.
Arsenicum album: asthma, shortness of breath, restlessness, worse with exertion. Food poisoning-type symptoms (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea).
Carbo vegetabilis: loose stools, GAS, nausea, vomiting. Weakened digestion.
Histamimum: extreme restlessness.
Nux vomica: GI, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, CRAMPING. Headaches.
Silicea: thickening of saliva; dry mouth.
Sulphur: dry, itching, burning anywhere. Skin and GI symptoms together.
Urtica urens: intolerable itching and burning pain, hives.
Based on drug (a few examples):
Antibiotics: Nitric acidum or Tuberculinum for diarrhea. Apis mellifica for skin itching.
Aspirin or other Salicylates: Arnica montana for bruising. Chininum arsenicosum for tinnitus (ringing in ears).
Barbiturates: Carbo vegetabilis for any symptom. Chamomilla for withdrawal or addiction.
Cortisone ointment: Psorinum for cough.
Heart drugs: Lycopus virginicus for any symptom.
High blood pressure (Antihypertensives): Hyoscyamus niger or Agaricus muscarius for dizziness.
Morphine or its derivatives: Chamomilla for addiction or withdrawal.
If your side effects are being caused by depletion of a nutrient, then supplementing with that nutrient will also help. For example, many of the side effects of Statin drugs are caused by its depletion of CoQ10. By supplementing with CoQ10, people have fewer side effects of these drugs.
Work with your homeopath to find the homeopathic remedies that will best assist you in managing the side effects of your medical drugs. It is possible to take medical drugs without suffering from the side effects.
The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is important that you not stop or alter the dosage of a medical drug without first consulting with the prescribing doctor. Never start a natural supplement without first discussing it with a person knowledgeable in both natural supplements and medical drugs. Always consult a medical doctor for diagnosis and treatment of any health concern.
hello. i really appreciate your article. i am a practicing homeopath going through a very difficult withdrawal from gabapentin. i have found a lot of support through the use of homeopathic remedies. they are one modality that really work well in this sphere. so many other things can aggravate or are contra-indicated but the subtlty of homeopathy just fits the bill.