Danielle Farias
September 21, 2022

What’s deprescribing and why is it one of the foundations of our practice?

We’ve all heard of prescribing medicine, but deprescribing? Prescribing medication is the act of using prescription medication to hinder the physical feelings of an ailment, it isn’t an act that focuses on fixing the root of the problem. Western medicine has relied a lot on prescription medications as their go-to problem solver for ailments. But, have we gone overboard as a culture? Should prescription medication really be our first line of defense for most illnesses and diseases?

In Functional Medicine, it’s believed to get to the root cause of an illness you have to look at the person as a whole. It’s also widely practiced in this branch of medicine to work towards getting patients off of their medications, naturally and safely. This is done by providing the body with what it’s nutritionally lacking via medical-grade supplements provided by hand selected companies chosen for their matching ethics. And, through functional medicine lab testing, determining inflammation markers and toxins (mercury, cadmium, mold, mycotoxins, Lyme, parasites, food intolerances, etc.). Many of these toxins have been found to be the root cause of several common symptoms i.e., fatigue, gut issues, brain impairments, skin issues and more.

So, what is deprescribing? It’s the act of helping patients get off of their medications through nutraceutical interventions and root cause identification and reversal, instead of relying on prescriptions as a long-term solution. Why is deprescribing so important? Let’s look at a couple of reasons.

Negative side effects - we as a culture have found ourselves in a downward spiral where we’re prescribing additional prescription medications to counter the negative side effects from the originally prescribed medication. Some of the long-term effects of prescription drug use include organ damage, tolerance to the effects of the drugs, psychological cravings, withdrawal symptoms, mental health disorders, hormone disruptions and decreased cognitive function.

Help support the body’s natural function – it’s been pushed on us to believe that once our bodies “fail us” we can’t get it back to normal function. In many cases, this is not true. And, in most cases, what we consider “our body failing us” is actually our body trying to communicate that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Type 2 Diabetes, a common metabolic disease caused by insulin resistance, can be reversed through lifestyle and diet changes and easily identified in early development, yet 1 in 10 Americans have Type 2 Diabetes **. In our practice our rate of getting patients off of their insulin prescription is 60%, and we have 95% success rate of getting patients off at least one Type2 specific medication. There is no prescription drug on the market that has that kind of result.

Aim for health not wealth – it’s no secret prescription drug companies are part of a billion-dollar industry.  It’s not a far leap to think if they really have the public health’s interest at heart or just their profit margins by continuously pushing more prescriptions. It should be the main purpose of every health-focused industry to aim for optimal health for the patient. Deprescribing is a tactic to focus on what’s best for the patient’s long-term health, not creating a customer for life.

Deprescribing should be a common practice in all health related fields when accompanied by functional medicine interventions to help restore the body back to normal function, making the need for the prescription medication obsolete. While it’s incredibly dangerous to pull a patient off of a prescription medication cold turkey, it does not have to be a life sentence, and additional methods can be used to help heal the body in accompaniment with the prescription until there is no longer a need as deemed necessary by a licensed medical professional.


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