Are there alternatives to taking medication?

Sometimes your health problem or long term condition can be managed without taking medication, such as through diet, exercise, quitting smoking, and other lifestyle changes. You can ask your healthcare provider if there are things you can do instead of taking medications. Sometimes those actions work but sometimes they do not and your healthcare provider will then prescribe a medication.

In addition to traditional prescription medication, there are also complementary and alternative medicines. Nearly 40 percent of adults report using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Healthcare providers are embracing CAM therapies, too, often combining them with mainstream medical therapies — which is called “integrative medicine.”

Exactly what are considered alternative medicines changes as treatments undergo testing and move into the mainstream. Some examples of alternative medicine include meditation, acupuncture, and herbal remedies. Speak with your healthcare provider about whether any of these treatments could help your particular condition. More information is available at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s website.