Managing Medications and Side Effects

Managing the fears that can come along with taking medications may be difficult.  Some fears may be related to new or old side effects. Understanding side effects is difficult when drug information sheets are pages-long. Other worries include whether the medication will work, will it interact with other medications, and is it affordable. In a large study of rheumatoid arthritis patients, almost 70% of patients were on 5 or more drugs.  This is similar to lupus and scleroderma. It can be stressful organizing and taking multiple medications daily. Oral pills can also be stressful if swallowing is difficult. Injections can be hard if there is pain and swelling in the hands. With that said, it can be difficult to keep negative thoughts and emotions at bay, especially when taking powerful medications.

We have found that routinely practicing mindfulness can be a useful tool for training the mind to stay in the present moment. This will help keep negativity and worries from getting carried away. It can be hard to untangle past experiences with medications and doctors from the present moment. Practicing mindfulness will help keep your mind open to new experience, free from judgement and filled with self-compassion. We encourage you to use the following exercises to help with overwhelming feelings.

Disease Management Meditation #1

Disease Management Meditation #2

Share Your Feedback

Thank you for your interest in the Johns Hopkins Division of Rheumatology’s Mindfulness Program for People Living with Rheumatic Disease. We welcome feedback regarding our exercises. Your response to this questionnaire will remain anonymous and no personal identifiers will be recorded. Completion of this questionnaire is purely voluntary and by taking this survey, your consent to this research study is assumed. Please complete this survey if you are at least 18 years of age and have a rheumatic disease. You may complete this survey for each meditation you have practiced. The information gathered from your responses will help to improve this resource and gain information for research purposes.

Research Study Name: Mindfulness for People Living with Rheumatic Diseases
Study ID: IRB00289772
Principle Investigator: Clifton O. Bingham III, MD
For more information, contact Michelle Jones: 410-550-9674 or