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The Poly Drug Situation

CAUTION: A person should always consult with their doctor before making any changes to their medication.

Thoughts on the poly drug situation. 

More and more people are finding their way to the Yahoo Benzo Support Group in a poly drug situation from which they are trying to extract themselves.  Many people are successful in getting off these multiple drugs. 

Unlike the benzo situation, there is no blueprint that can be offered as to how a person withdraws from this situation. There may never be a standard for this, as every person's brain, medical history, types and amounts of drugs are very different. 

However, there are some suggestions that may be useful: 

Dr. Peter Breggin mentions the poly-drug problem in his book, "Your Drug May Be Your Problem". He says to taper the "secondary" drug first i.e. if you were put on a benzo for anxiety, and then got put on an antidepressant, then taper the AD first. His rational is that you will need the benzo more than the AD, since your initial diagnosis was anxiety, not depression.

Dr. Ashton, however, says that if you are on a benzo and an AD that you should taper your benzo first, leaving the AD in place to cover any depression that may arise as you withdraw from your benzo.

As a VERY general rule  - if a person is not suffering from a lot of depression and if they were put on an AD after a benzo and the AD seemed to be making the situation worse, then an option may be to try and get the AD out of the picture first. A benzo (in the right dose) may help cover withdrawal off other psych drugs. Pay attention to "in the right dose"!

If you are however, pretty depressed and feel you may get worse if you try to taper the AD first, then it may be wise to leave it in place while you taper the benzo. Again this is a very GENERAL statement.

Another GENERAL rule is to look at all the drugs and begin tapering the shorter-acting ones first. This idea comes from the ability of a longer-acting drug to "cover" the withdrawal from a shorter-acting drug if given "in the right dose." For instance, some have been able to come off Ambien by getting their doctor to increase their Valium dose to "cover" the withdrawal from the Ambien.

Another "GENERAL" rule, connected to other GENERAL rules above is to get rid of any drug that has been newly introduced and has caused a chemical stew.

Perhaps the best advice that can be given is to try and avoid getting into a poly-drug situation in the first place. Sometimes, this can't be helped, as we often did not know what we are getting ourselves into.  

A poly drug survivor

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.

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Last updated 22 July 2015