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prolificus's avatar

If you have ever knowingly taken higher doses of prescription medicine other than as directed, why did you and what were the consequences?

Asked by prolificus (6492 points ) March 30th, 2011 from iPhone

It’s not uncommon to take higher doses of OTC meds, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. People build of tolerances all the time to standard dosages. But, with prescription meds, taking higher doses without doctor’s orders has its limits and consequences.  For starters, it depletes the supply before a refill is due. So, the short-term benefit may result in missed doses when the supply ceases. Other consequences may be harmful to the body.  Even if the dose is within maximum limits, without medical supervision, the increase may be counterproductive to its intended purpose.

Why do people take medicine other than as directed?  Is it because we think we are smarter than the doctor?  Afraid to ask the doctor for an increased dose?  Trying to purposely harm self?

How has going against doctor’s orders helped your situation?  How has it made matters worse?

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9 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I took far too much Vitamin A years ago, and it caused me to pass out. Not pleasant.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Yes, I always have to take double the dose of pain medication, because I have a terribly high tolerance for medication. It’s apparently a genetic thing on my real father’s side of the family. BUT, I do warn my doctors about it, just so they’re aware of it.

Thankfully, I’ve only had to take pain meds after childbirth and a couple of surgeries. The only negative effect I have is wanting to die if I don’t take enough to dull the pain.

ragingloli's avatar

I once downed a whole box of homeopathic sleeping pills.
I could not sleep for 1 week afterwards.

JustJessica's avatar

I’m the same way @WillWorkForChocolate . I’ve been on pain killers for almost 2 years now, and I always have to double dose because of the tolerance. I think my Dr. should change my medicine. maybe that will help.

JLeslie's avatar

I take and tell my husband and relatives to take higher doses than directed of OTC ibuprofen all of the time. I feel fine about it, because doctors prescribe it in higher doses all of the time, so it is just getting up to prescription levels. When the lower dose suffices, then that is all I would take, depends on the pain level, and how high the fever, and the weight of the person.

When I am not sure about a higher dose being safe, I NEVER increase a dose, unless I check with a doctor, look it up in the PDR, and/or ask a pharmacist.

I had a doctor prescribe me Augmentin, and to take two pills at a time, and I was so horrible and drowsy on it, when previously I had little problem. I later found out that doctor is an idiot. The Clauvanate cannot be doubled safely. You cannot take two “regular” pills of Augmentin at once. The very high dose is two pills with half the Clauvanate in each pill, and it is a very specific script, the doctor and pharmacist should have known better.

Dimetapp 12 hour, when it went over the counter, some were worried it was a dangerous idea, because most people are accustomed to taking 2 pills at a time when taking OTC drugs. Two aspirin, two tylenol, two sudafed, especially back when it went on the OTC market. People in the FDA were concerned that 2 12 hour Dimetapp could be very dangerous, and for some spike their blood pressure risking stroke. After many years, one of the chemicals in Dimetapp was taken off of the market, because people had some very bad adverse effects or died. I would bet many of those people did not follow the directions, and now my favorite congestion medicine is off the market.

JLeslie's avatar

People develop tolerance to narcotics. If you take them daily, and they are less and less affectice you are likely addicted. I don’t say that at a criticism, just as a thing to watch out for.

Seelix's avatar

I also sometimes take higher doses of ibuprofen depending on what I’m taking it for. I get migraines now and then, and the only thing that works for them is a bunch of ibuprofen and sleep. I’ve talked to my dad, who is a dentist and therefore knows a little about pain meds and dosages, about it and he’s told me it’s fine.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I once took too much niacin. Holy Mother, I thought I might die!

I always take more ibuprofen, more aspirin or more acetaminophen than the dosage. That is because I know how much various doctors have told me is safe for me during painful migraines. I prefer the OTCs to the prescriptions for migraines, because the prescriptions have some serious side effects over doing OTCs can too, but I don’t overdo

I always stick Vicks up my nose…the bottle says not to. My dad used to eat the stuff, so I’m thinking I’m pretty safe there.

meiosis's avatar

Many years ago I had some tramadol (1 tablet 4 times a day) for a prolapsed disc and muscle spasms in my back. It was very effective at stopping the pain and giving me some respite. After a few days, I stopped taking the second tablet mid-morning when I had been taking it, so I could save it up and take two together just after lunch and spend the afternoon in a pleasant, dreamy fug watching cricket. Oh boy, was it nice. Thankfully, I only had a prescription for two weeks, otherwise I think I’d still be there, watching the Aussies hand us our arses on a plate.

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