Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Seven reasons why your medications are not working properly

What happens when medication doesn’t bring your condition under control? Usually, it’s not just one single issue but various factors that contribute to the problem. Your doctor will work to figure out why–and from there, create a new plan of attack. Finding the right combination of medications may require some trial and error. Some reasons why your medications may not work at their best could include the following:

  1. You may not be taking medications correctly or you could be taking other drugs that interfere with your medications. Some medications work best when taken at certain times of the day or with special regard to meals. With complicated dosing schedules, people can forget to take medications or not take the correct doses at the correct time. Pill planners or pill boxes can help you to organize your medications and remember if you have taken a dose. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if your medication has special instructions about when you should take the medication. Other drugs may also interact with your medication, which could change how it works in your body. Your medication can interact with other items besides prescription drugs, such as vitamins, herbal products, or dietary supplements. Keeping your doctor or pharmacist informed about everything you are taking can help to avoid these problems.
  2. You may be eating an improper diet. You may not know this but certain foods can interact with your medications. These foods can impact how your body takes in medication or how the medication works to control your condition. Parts of your diet may also interact with your condition to reduce the effect of your medication. A registered dietitian can teach you how to read nutrition labels so you can spot these parts of your diet, such as sodium and carbohydrates, to better manage your intake.
  3. You may have lifestyle factors that impact your health. Being overweight, being physically inactive, or smoking can impact many medical conditions and the way your medications work. Working to lose weight, increasing your physical activity, and moderating your alcohol consumption as needed can help to improve your health in many ways. If you smoke and can quit, it will lower your overall health risk for heart, lung, and other diseases. Making changes to your lifestyle and lowering your risk for disease may help to control your medical condition and improve the effects of your medication.
  4. 400px-Prescription_drugs
    Prescription Drugs by J. Troha, National Cancer Institute. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
  5. You could have other medical conditions that are affecting the way your medications work. Hormonal issues, poor metabolism, poor sleep, high blood pressure, or stomach conditions could change the effect of your medications. It is important to inform all of your doctors about any other conditions you may have to help avoid these problems. Some of these conditions could change how effective a medication is, and knowing about your other conditions will help your doctor make a plan that is best for you.
  6. You or your doctor’s office could be making mistakes in testing. Misreadings can also happen at your doctor’s office or even in a lab. Make sure your results make sense and discuss results with your doctor since this can affect how your medications work. Some medications may need regular testing to check that the medication is working safely and effectively, such as insulin for diabetes or blood thinners for some heart conditions. Completing this testing as instructed and on time will help your doctor use this information to adjust your medication plan to work best for you. Some tests can be sensitive to when you last ate or how your recent health has been, so be sure to discuss instructions for tests with your doctor.
  7. You could benefit from adjustments to your pain management plan. If you are suffering from chronic pain, you may experience occasional pain despite taking a routine medication from your doctor. This type of pain is called breakthrough pain and can sometimes be managed with different medications or adjusting your current medication with your doctor’s help. These medications can be used on an as needed basis for short-term control.
  8. You may benefit from using a non-medication treatment option in your plan. Some conditions, such as chronic pain, can improve with the help of other treatment options such as physical therapy, exercise, or localized injections. These other options can work together to restore the effectiveness of your medication and improve your control of your condition. Seeing a doctor who specializes in pain management may help you to find the right plan for you.

Featured image credit: Antibiotic by PublicDomainPictures. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.

Recent Comments

  1. Ram Baghavath

    or simply you could be a victim of the common fake medications.

  2. Deepali

    I’m suffering from PCOD not any medicines will show effect on me since last 4 months ..
    Not homopethic , ayurvedic not even the mediciens prescribe by doctors
    What i do ??

  3. Alex

    What’s the reason when any medicine aren’t working on my body for 3 months?
    I must use my medicine but I don’t know what to do? Please help me.
    Thank You.

  4. Ibrahim D

    The article gives the impression that in order to be able to benefit from a drug medication, you must be healthy first in terms of lifestyle, habits and body chemistry, even genetics.

    Well, if that is the foundation of health, then why do pharmaceuticals insist on using drug therapy? I must say that the overuse of medications is not a random practice, but greatly motivated by drug consumption that has very little to do with medicine or wellbeing.

    Maybe before considering taking any particular medication, practicing doctors should first make sure that the patient is healthy enough to take and benefit from the prescribed drug. This is rarely the case from experience. Without fully informing the patient about all adverse factors that may reduce the effectiveness of the drug medication, it seems like everything is subject to the jury verdict except the drug medication itself. This does not make it too easy or fair for the suffering patient while it continue to be profitable for pharmaceuticals. New ethics or practices must be put in place to prevent drug overconsumption and abuse, both by the patient and by pharmaceuticals.

  5. Brittany

    I’ve been on this med for years and all of a sudden it stopped working I’m going through withdraw I’m currently on suboxone please help someone

  6. Taisha Harris

    My doctors are checking my thyroid to see why my meds aren’t working anymore, can this be the cause.. I don’t even receive a buzz from alcohol

  7. Roy E Martin MAJ AUS Retired

    After taking Gabapentin 600 mg for 2 months and 800 mg for 1 month I started having problems with tingling and burning, malaise, intermittent blood pressure spikes and panic and paranoia. I am a duodenal switch patient. I had been on many psych drugs for 25 years for PTSD including several benzos and many other psychotropics. Prazosin 3 mg had fixed my PTSD. I also smoked marijuana regularly. Now, every psychotropic and others bring back the negative experience I had with gabapentin. My Doctor does not know what to do. I believe my brain chemistry has been disordered by the gabapentin so that I have had to withdraw from all except levothyroxine, tamsulosin, and clonazepam. I can take 1 mg prazosin for a week before ALL the gabapentin symptoms return and I have to stop it. I am issued 6 or 8 antidepressants, antipsychotics, sleeping pills, other benzos and I cannot take any of them whereas over 25 years I was able to easily take them all in turn. I think the iron gates calcium channel is stuck and therefore nothing can work. Can you help me?

  8. nomxolisi Madlavu

    My grandmother is hypertensive and has been using rdac and amlidopine almost 20 years lat
    Off late is not working she’s 71 years old i she’s always feeling dizzy and feeling nausea the medication was changed by the doctor and now to enalapril and atenanol but still the condition has not changed what must she do any advice

  9. Maria

    I can’t sleep so I take my medicine and still can’t sleep y is that I am doing good on it it’s just don’t work

  10. Adam

    Why agood bioavailability drug sometimes not cover the disease symptom and is Ineffective in some patient?

  11. Stephen T Jones

    After taking hydroxycarbamide Capsules 500 mg for two weeks I find my general well-being is deteriorating. becoming weaker and less able to carry out basic tasks without problems arising.what should I do?.

  12. Charlie Sequeira

    I am getting loose motion since more than a year and no medicine seem to work I have visited 4 gastroenterologist doctors but no results what should I do I have done all possible test that the doctor told me to do

  13. Donna

    My pain medication works for the first week or two when I get them filled and then they just stop. What could be causing this?

  14. Nicole Carroll

    Why does my pain medication only work sometimes regardless of if I eat or not. I don’t have a tolerance because it still works most of the time, it’s just unpredictable

  15. Deborah Garner

    My doctor has been prescribing muscle relaxers for my back pain she says it sounds to her like spasm something like that I think I have a pinched nerve at the medicines she’s riding me do absolutely nothing except make my stomach tore up and then I’m in double pain my back and my stomach what am I supposed to do I’m tired of being in this pain it puts me in tears and it’s everyday Affair it’s okay if I stay in bed and the heating pad but that’s not reasonable it’s ain’t going to happen so I get up and do what I have to do to the best of my ability and start wiping the tears out of my eyes and I’m always stretching kind of pop that nerve back and just doesn’t work

  16. Gaurav

    my father age 87 suffering from IBS D no medication effective on him even allopathy, homeopathy Ayurvedic, the new medicines work for only 2-3 days and he seems better but within next day he got again severe watery motions and condition becomes same as earlier.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *