- Reviewed by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
You may have many reasons why you'd like to stop taking a certain medication. Maybe it's causing unwanted side effects, you don't think it's working, you feel that you've healed and no longer need it, or you can't afford it. That doesn't mean it's safe to quit a drug cold turkey. Abruptly stopping a medication can be risky and even life-threatening.
Many medications work by blocking or activating certain body chemicals or processes. When you stop taking a drug suddenly, symptoms or problems that were controlled can return with a vengeance — meaning they might be worse than they were before treatment. That's called a rebound effect.
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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
About the Reviewer
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
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