The Guilt of Failing Meds

Let’s talk about an uncomfortable topic today: when medications fail you.. rather when YOU failed medications.

There is much guilt, anger, and denial that is not talked about enough, and I hope that through this piece, we can come together and speak about what isn’t spoken about enough: failure. When we were growing up, we were taught that from all mistakes, come lessons. We learn, we gain wisdom, and we grow. But what about when the failures aren’t our fault?

Let’s talk about failing a medication that was supposed to be “one of the greatest medications to treat “disease A” and you immediately fail it. What then? There is a sense of hopelessness that rushes over you of guilt that maybe you are that patient. The patient who doesn’t respond to any meds. “What did I do? Am I at fault? Could I or should I have done something that could have prevented this?”

You are not your prescription failures

(You’re simply a unicorn that is hard to treat because your genes are simply magic).

I’m going to be very transparent in this article. I’m TERRIFIED I will fail this next biologic. There is a certain guilt that resembles shame when you fail a very expensive medication. You are forced to put all your eggs in one basket. It’s not talked about enough.

After you fail all oral medications available to you & realize that the remainder of your life you’re expected to take these drugs to have ANY quality of life & to control active disease. There’s a certain emptiness. And a LOT of guilt.

Fear of failing

There is so much energy (doctors appts, procedures, weekly labs) that go unseen, but the most invisible is FEAR. fear of failing. Time after time. GUILT. That you spend so much money per year trialing new drugs to improve quality of life. No room for error for many of us.

After SO many failed attempts, I don’t blame patients for feeling self-shame, because I’ve been there. I’m there now. I cry when I think of finding out I had RA after becoming allergic to Humira – a blessing in disguise. I cry when I think about the number of attempts we gave Humira.


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