Safe Prescription Use Starts with Communication
October Is Talk About Prescriptions Month
Can you take aspirin and warfarin, a blood thinner, at the same time? Will an antihistamine increase the depressant effect of a sedative? If you are one of the many Americans who take more than one prescription on a regular basis, you need to know if there may be any potential problems with drug interactions. The best way to learn about your prescriptions is to talk to your doctor or pharmacist so you can avoid drug interactions that may be harmful to your health.
“It is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which medications you are taking because drug interactions can make a drug less effective, cause unanticipated side effects, or intensify the action of the medicine,” says Melanie Flinn, pharmacy director at Doctors Hospital at White Rock . “Not taking a medicine correctly can lead to other health problems.”
Flinn encourages patients to have a “medication review” with their doctor to look at all over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals and herbals that they take regularly. Drugs can not only interact with each other, but they also can be affected by certain food or beverages, and an existing medical condition can make some drugs harmful.
“There are so many different kinds of drugs, from sedatives and antibiotics, to antihistamines and tranquilizers. Looking at everything together gives you a good idea if there are any duplications, unnecessary prescriptions, or possible drug interactions,” says Flinn. “You can lower the chance for potential problems with the fewer prescriptions or medicines you take.”
Flinn recommends that patients ask the following questions before taking a medication:
• Can it be taken with other drugs?
• Should certain foods, beverages or other products be avoided while I am taking this medicine?
• What is the prescription used for and how does it work?
• How do I take the medication and for how long?
For more information about different medications, visit Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lakes comprehensive online drug reference guide that includes approximately 33,000 prescriptions, over-the-counter products, and neutraceuticals (products that provide health and medical benefits) at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/drugsearch.