CHANGING ENVIRONMENT TO PROLONG DRUG EFFECTIVENESS: A Practical Application of Environmentally-Induced Drug Tolerance Theory
It has been found that cancer
medication loses its effectiveness over time. Actually, this is true for most,
if not all, drugs. What is the answer? The answer is to periodically change
the environment where you take your medication.
This sounds like a childishly absurd thing to do, but many studies, on
addiction and overdose, indicate that it is an easy way to prolong the
effectiveness of medication. The reason lies in what is called conditioned
response. We can think of taking medication as a “response” to an
illness. When taking medication is done the same way, over time, we become “conditioned”
to the response of that medication.
While discussing Pavlov, and his study on dogs and the conditioned
response, Restak says:
As long as the environmental conditions remained stable, the conditional
response increasingly weakened the effect of the drug, so that it would take a
larger dose to achieve the same effect. “The progressively diminishing
response to a drug over the course of repeated administration defines
tolerance,” according to Siegel. “It’s likely that Pavlovian
conditioning contributes to tolerance to any drug.”
But this effect ceases if the animal is subjected to unfamiliar
environmental cues; without the familiar cues, there is no conditioned
response–and no tolerance. (Richard M. Restak, MD, The Mind, Bantam, 1988, p
Pavlov discovered that animals respond, not only to stimuli, but also to
anticipated stimuli. This anticipated stimuli comes about after many
repetitions of a stimulus. When we take the same medication, over a long
period of time, we develop what are called “cues” and this leads to a
degree of tolerance for the drugs, no matter what they are. In effect, they
progressively stop working.
The medical answer is to prescribe stronger drugs. However,
addictive-behavior research indicates that changing environments should
prolong a drug’s effectiveness without having to increase dosage or change
to a stronger, more toxic, medication.
Take your long-term medication for a few months in the same place.
Then, take it in an entirely different place (outdoors for instance) for a few
months. When you do this, also change the time you take the medicine (if
possible), the container of the medicine, the container of the drink, and the
drink you use to take the medicine, as these are also environmental cues.
you haven’t been taking the medication for very long, there should be
minimal risk to taking the same dosage. Keep
alternating where you take your medication so that psychological cues never
have a chance to develop and no tolerance can set in.
WARNING: If you have had to increase the dosage, to keep the medication effective, then you will have to consider the possibility of an overdose effect. It would probably be wise to return to the original dosage before you make an environmental change. However, before reducing dosage on any medication, consult with your doctor first. You might want to take a copy of this article with you. We think applying environmentally-induced drug tolerance theory, to make prescribed drugs effective longer, is either a new concept we originated, or it is buried so deep in the medical literature we, and our many physicians, aren't aware of it.
Gerald & Betty Schueler, Ph.D., August 24, 2002
|For those interested, see Betty's Letter on the above article|