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  • Dr. Kate Henry

Does Naturopathic Medicine Include Pharmaceuticals?

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

I'll get straight to the point :) Pharmaceuticals ARE definitely included in the therapeutic order of naturopathic approaches to medical care.

They're classified as "synthetic symptom relief" and some are among our "higher force interventions".

Naturopathic doctors receive over 3 years of training in pharmacy during medical school, and they can prescribe most medications except for opiates in many states in the country (WA, OR, CA, VT, etc.). This is precisely because pharmaceutical medications can be vital and lifesaving for many conditions including

  • Type 1 Diabetes

  • Thyroid replacement post thyroid-removal

  • Familial hypercholesterolemia

and more.

Additionally, you can use natural medicine to help make pharmaceuticals more effective at a lower dose with less side effects. Take this study that shows that supplementing zinc in zinc-deficient people with ADHD can reduce the amount of medications needed to control their symptoms by 37%.

So, yes, your blood pressure med, your thyroid meds, your antibiotics, antidepressants, chemo and more are ALSO part of the therapeutic order that naturopathic doctors use to help your body restore itself to optimal health.

Your naturopathic doctor understands how pharmaceutical medications work, what they interact with, what nutrients you need to help them work optimally, and how to use natural medicine to reduce side effects and optimize their efficacy.

If this surprises you, you're not alone. Many folks assume that naturopathic doctors are only trained / interested in helping their clients fix problems with food and herbs, and that they can't or won't recommend pharmaceuticals or surgery at any point. But NDs are trained in the physiology and biochemistry of human body, as well as ALL of the latest advances in medicine that we can use to fix or correct problems when we encounter them.

If you're reading this, then chances are you're in a country where you have access to the full spectrum of medical care, from healthy food to prescription meds to surgery.

That's a huge blessing, and you should never take it for granted simply because you prefer one arm of medicine over the other.

A good ND will never limit your options to just one form of medicine.

When the time comes and you truly need help, you want a doctor who's more interested in helping you heal than which type of tool you use to get there.

You want a doctor who will say,

"We're going to use every tool we've got available to help fix your health problem,

including food-as-medicine, homeopathy, botanical medicine, movement, medication, prescriptions, surgery or more."

You deserve that. And if you're up against a truly tough medical issue, you need it. I'll give you an example of why this is important.

Occasionally, a person will come into my office who is so profoundly depressed or anxious that they can't make any of the food or lifestyle changes they're asking me to help them make. So, with their primary care doc's support, we start them on a prescription mood medication temporarily to boost them back up to the point where their brain has enough neurotransmitters to create new habits.

Within a few weeks, they're able to get out of bed, work out, eat better, and sleep more deeply. They heal to the point where they're able to taper off the meds, and manage using natural options moving forward. That's what healing is like when you use it all.

If you're interested in working with a naturopathic doctor, schedule your free Discovery Call or call 610-344-9600 today to get me on your team.

P.S. If you want NDs to be able to prescribe pharmaceuticals in PA, NJ, or DE, contact your local state representative and let them know that you support parity for naturopathic doctors. You can add that you believe residents in your state should have the choice of who they get to write their prescriptions, and that they should have the same rights as residents of Washington state, Oregon, California, Vermont and Arizona when it comes to their medical care. Until NDs can prescribe, they can still help you optimize your medications, reduce side effects, and design a plan to heal the root cause of your disorder so that you may no longer require the same dose or form of medication. Ask Dr. Kate more about this on your Discovery Call.

In good health,

Dr. Kate


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