Allow me to paint a picture for you...

You go in for your yearly check up and you are told that you've got a certain abnormality in one your tests. Further evaluation may be recommended or you'll go straight to the pharmacy with a prescription note. Odds are, the latter is probably the end result, whether you have further testing done or not. You will end up with that piece of paper and a new bottle of tablets. So, you add the pills to your daily routine. Perhaps the symptom subsides...perhaps it doesn't. A few weeks later, you're just not acting like yourself. There's just something not right in your world. You think nothing of it. A few months go by and your doing "OK," but physically you're just not doing that well. You go back for a follow-up appointment. Now, you have a brand new abnormal test. The previous abnormality isn't quite as abnormal, but your told to keep taking the prescription. In addition, you receive a new prescription and you add that to your daily routine. You go home and you realize that your health is seemingly tumbling out of control. However, you don't make any changes. You continue down that road...

This is a true story that happens far too often...and, far too often, I hear patients talk about medications for simple "abnormalities" that they truly believe they'll have to take for the rest of their lives. Take blood pressure medication, as a for instance. If you're the type that doesn't like taking a medication, how does the prospect of being on a medication (or many) for the rest of your life make you feel? I always ask patients on day 1 (in regards to their medications): are you the type that is OK with taking medications or are you the type that would prefer not to? It's astounding the number of people that tell me that they'd "prefer not to, but understand that they DON'T HAVE A CHOICE."

It is that unfortunate misconception that you "don't have a choice" that I want to talk about today. The remainder of this e-letter will be brief, as there's not much to say other than: YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE A CHOICE!!! The word of a doctor (of any kind) is not the word of a higher power. Our recommendations are simply that: recommendations. They are to be followed as strictly as you deem fit. If it makes sense to you, then I would advise following the doctor's "orders" to a "T." If the words of wisdom sound more like unstable fables, though...you may want to consider your other options.

I'd like each of you to consider doing the following. Plug the medication you take into the following database...

http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html

Read over the entire list, including the ones that are "rare" - for remember, we're talking about sample size studies that are a couple of thousand people (usually at most). Rare in a thousand or two thousand people IS NOT that rare.

Empower yourselves...

You ALWAYS have a choice...

Keeping it short and sweet, and thinking good things for you...

Dr. Chad