One of the common problems patients, or people in general face nowadays is that they need to consult a doctor repeatedly for the same medical issues they may have…they present with the question that heads this article: “why isn’t my medication working???”
I as a medical doctor would like to give a brief overview of the common reasons for this happening and hopefully in the process make most of you say to yourselves “Ahaa…that makes more sense now…”
Its always important to keep some very basic facts in mind when your body shows you any symptom. These include:
A symptoms is the bodies way of communicating with us about a problem that its facing
If you think about it, when you get hurt in your body, Imagine if you couldn’t feel exactly where…you would end up causing much more damage to that area before you can rest it or treat it. The body needs to make you feel pain in order for you to know which part of you is being damaged. This blessing is sometimes missing in diabetics whose nerves have been effected. Ask any of them the importance of pain, and how it can be used to avoid the amputation of a limb!
Some conditions are not treatable, they’re just manageable
Doctors are not God, and there are quite a few conditions that we cannot treat. In such cases we offer advice and on how to manage the condition that you may have on a long term basis to prevent the severe symptoms that one may be experiencing. In other words we may have to give you tips on how to prevent things from getting worse…this is known as tertiary prevention. The concept is not so easily digested by most patients. There comes a time when our patient come to us and tell us “we stopped the medicines because we saw no improvement”. Ensure you confirm with the doctor if the medicines were meant to prevent worsening, as in osteoarthrtitis, before you decide they are not working!!
Some conditions are self limiting, the medications given just help temporarily alleviate the symptoms while the infection takes its course
The common cold is appropriately named, as the cases are really too common. An important thing to note is that it is one of the conditions that we don’t cure. Our bodies’ immune systems is what we rely on to fight this, we only assist the symptoms that may be quite severe with our medication and allow the disease to take its course. So if the medication is not causing a lasting effect, or if the condition is persistent because of habits like exposing ones self to cold or playing in the rain, don’t think its the medication that is ineffective
As much of a nuisance some symptoms may seem, it may be playing a very important role in limiting the disease that you have… so sometimes its good to bear some of the symptoms rather than get rid of all of them!
It has been proven that the high temperatures during a fever also limit the growth of bacteria causing the infection, and the cough that one may develop in a cold is a very effective way of getting rid of the trapped pathogens in our mucus membranes…so stopping the cough or maintaining a low temperature of 36 degrees Celsius may not necessarily be a good thing all the time
When you feel better because of medication, that doesn’t mean you can resume all the stressful and difficult activities… your body mostly will require some time for recuperation
Out of site, out of mind!!! when people don’t feel their sickness any more they immediately resume their stressful and difficult activities. It’s important to remember that the result of such actions is a slow recovery and a high chance of recurrence of the problem.
The body needs rest so it can focus on rebuilding itself, and combating the remnants of the infection or disease that one has.
If you don’t help you’re body, it will not help you!
As long as you don’t understand the cause of the disease, you will never be able to stop it from recurring
When we fall sick it’s imperative to understand the source of the infection or cause of the illness. It’s not enough to just feel happy that the symptoms have gone after taking medication. Recurrent amoebic dysentery, because some patients take medicines then go back to drink the same contaminated water, has been found in many cases. The medicines may be working after all, but the disease keeps being brought back into your system before you can enjoy the medicines positive effects!!!
With the above tips, it should be clear that treatment consists of more than just taking of pills prescribed by a doctor at the appropriate dose…it’s about understanding what illness you have and how your body works to get rid of it.
I wish all the patients best of luck with their conditions as we pray for their recovery, but I advise them, and everyone in the general population to adopt the informed approach to illnesses and other medical conditions so that they may know what to expect.