from Betty Schueler
I just want you all to know that Jerry and I have made a remarkable discovery that can help you use medicine more effectively for a longer time. Although Jerry and I didnít do the original research that produced the discovery, it certainly has been a well-hidden breakthrough. In fact, I have not found one mention of it on any of the many medical websites I have visited and none of our many physicians have suggested Jerry or I use this method to keep our various long-term medications effective.
The discovery came as a result of my trying to understand how Parkinsonís medications were going to affect my life. My neurologist told me that the medication, he was prescribing, would only help me for about 2 years, or so, and then I would have to take a stronger medication. I found this to be an eerie echo of what Jerryís cardiologist had told him about his heart medication and what my oncologists had told me about my cancer medication.
Since my symptoms are still relatively mild, I was debating whether I should be taking the medication now or wait until the symptoms become more problematic. In fact, I was considering not taking them at all as the side effects rivaled those of chemo.
To help me make the decision, I read up on what Parkinsonís does to the brain and how the medications help. Once I had that information, I read up on how dopamine works in the brain.
In one of the many books I consulted, The Mind by Richard M. Resnak (1988), I came across reports of studies that had been done on drug addiction and overdoses. The book cited studies that found that recreational drugs have to be taken in larger quantities, over time, because the addict becomes tolerant of the drug due to environmental cues.
Once tolerance develops, a drug that used to make a person high can actually make the person depressed. In addition, a drug dose, well tolerated in one environment, can kill if taken in a new environment. This is called the overdose effect.
All of a sudden I realized that if it is true of recreational drugs then it is probably true of all drugs, which is why people find they have to increase dosage of a long-term drug, over time, or switch to a more powerful drug. Therefore, if a drug has to be taken for any length of time, such as those used for Parkinsonís, depression, and cancer, then patients need to periodically change the environment in which they take their medication for it to remain effective.
In my case, I had two examples of how this had affected me. When I moved four years ago, I had to decrease the amount of Synthroid I was taking for my hypothyroid condition. I had to decrease the amount again when I moved, two years later, to our current house. I thought this was crazy since my thyroid hadnít healed itself. My physician couldnít give me any answer as to why I needed to take less Synthroid and I couldnít find the answer on any of the medical sites I visited on the Internet.
On the plus side, my cancer medication, which usually stops working in most people after 2 years or so, has continued to work for almost 5 years which has amazed my physicians. They call it luck; I call it a fortunate change of environment due to our two moves in the past four years.
My cancer medication is just now starting to fail. That is because I have been faithfully taking the medicine, in the same way, for two years, so now I have built a tolerance to it. Our move, two years ago, prevented this from happening earlier as it should have.
Based on the research done on drug addiction and overdose, I believe the answer is to switch the place I take the medication. I even need to switch the container the medication is kept in, the glass I use to hold the drink, and the drink I use to take the medicine as they have found all of these environmental cues can create tolerance in recreational drugs, and therefore, probably all drugs. I imagine I will also have to switch the time I take the medication to some small degree.
So if any of you are taking long-term medication, consider periodically changing where and how you take the medication. If you havenít been taking the medication for very long, there should be minimal risk to taking the same dosage in a different environment.
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, which could be dangerous or lethal. It would probably be wise to return to the original dosage, if you make an environmental change, as the change could enhance the drugís effectiveness and toxicity. Of course you should discuss any change in dosage with your physician before making it.
If you are one of those unfortunate individuals, who quickly build a tolerance to drugs, then you may have to change the environment every few days. All of us have different sensitivity levels to environmental cues; therefore, some people will have to change their environment more often than others. Anytime you notice a reduction in the effectiveness of the medication you are taking, you might want to try this method before seeking a stronger medication. Remember, the stronger the medicine, the more toxicity it is likely to have.
Jerry and I hope our discovery, of a practical application of this little known breakthrough, will be of help to you and your friends and family. Almost everyone, sooner or later, needs to take a long-term drug. Using this method should help reduce the likelihood that you will have to eventually increase dosage, or change to a stronger drug, because of environmentally-induced, drug tolerance. Ė Betty Schueler, Ph.D., August 24, 2002.