Drug interactions are a scary thing for people who take prescription medications, but their management and prevention is a lot easier than you might think. It’s true that multiple interactions may occur when a patient is taking several drugs using a medication reminder app, but most of them aren’t life-threatening. However, some interactions do have the ability to lead to serious and sometimes fatal side effect.
Pharmacists and doctors are the best people to learn about drug interactions. Also, there is plenty of information available on the internet which you can use to determine the risks before discussing with your specialist.
Remember that education and proper communication are the keys to preventing dangerous drug interactions. And the best source of education on that subject is none other than your own specialist. Communicate with him properly, ask questions, and research reliable information on your own to empower yourself to lower the risk of interactions.
Here are some useful tips to help you achieve that goal.
Buy All Your Medications from One Pharmacy
Buying all of your meds from one pharmacy helps maintain an electronic record of all your medications and their interactions. Talk with your pharmacist and communicate with your doctor about new as well as discontinued medications.
Remember that communication is the key to preventing drug interactions.
When you buy an OTC medication, ask your pharmacist to go over its interactions and ask them to add that medication to your meds record for future drug interaction checks.
Also, be sure to read labels on each OTC medicine you use. Paying attention to these labels will help you learn a lot about a drug’s possibly dangerous interactions.
Never Ignore Drug Interactions with Food and Beverages
Your specialist may ask about your food and drinks routine before prescribing a medication. Common food items that may dangerously react with drugs include:
- Foods with vitamin K such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, beef liver, etc. can interact with certain blood thinners such as warfarin and possibly create clots.
- Grapefruit juice which is notorious for interacting with drugs and changing blood levels. It can increase drug levels in your blood which can be damaging for your muscles.
- Calcium which has the ability to bind with drugs and prevent absorption.
Ask Your Doctor About Possible Drug Reactions
Use a reliable medical app like prescription reminder app become engaged in your treatment. And to get a better understanding of medications you are taking, be sure to contact your doctor.
Always check for interactions before purchasing a prescription or OTC medication as well.
Your specialist can explain how each drug interacts and what will be the intensity of interaction (minor, moderate, or major). He should also be able to recommended a course of action to manage those interactions.
Tell the Doctor If You Use Caffeine, Alcohol, or Cocaine
Some drugs can have a strong interaction with other drugs. For example, asthma drugs that are stimulant in nature can influence sleep or heart rate when combined with caffeine. This can be particularly risky for people with heart problems.
Sedatives, when combined with alcohol, can cause extreme drowsiness, which may put you at higher risk of falling, or crashing your car when driving.
The combination of alcohol and cocaine is also a concerning one. When these two are consumed together, our liver combines them and manufactures cocaethylene, a substance that increases cocaine’s euphoric effects and can lead to sudden death. In fact, the interaction between cocaine and alcohol is one of the most common causes of drug-related deaths.
Don’t Take Medications of Other Individuals
Every prescription is based on an individual’s age, weight, and medical condition. If you take someone else’s medication without a doctor’s advice, there will be no one to tell about potential interactions or give safety instructions to you. Doctors advise against this approach because it can result in failed treatment. As a result, you may not only suffer from possibly dangerous drug interaction but also end up making your condition worst.
Tell Your Doctor About Your Medical Condition
OTC meds like Sudafed or phenylephrine may increase blood pressure. Therefore, individuals who suffer from blood pressure are advised to avoid these medications as their interaction with BP medications can be severely dangerous for health.
Another common example of such medications is Benadryl which should be avoided by patients of narrow-angle glaucoma. The medication can cause your pupils to dilate and trigger angle closure. The only time it should be taken using medicine reminder app is when your doctor recommends it.
Follow Instructions on Your Prescription Label
Each prescription comes with a specific set of instructions. Typically, these instructions involve the timing of when you should take the medication and the interaction of one drug with another. To avoid drug interactions, you may want to space the timing of doses. Keeping 2-4 hours between the doses of different drugs is a smart strategy.
However, never change the amount of a dose unless told by your doctor. If your prescription label suggests avoiding a drug or a number of drugs, you should follow it.
Do Not Buy from Online Pharmacies
While saving money is always a great idea, doing so on medications is really not recommended. There are many unreliable pharmacies on the Internet selling drugs that can be cheap to your pocket but costly to your health. Usually, these pharmacies are not reviewed by the FDA, and their reliability can’t be assured. You may get the wrong dose, wrong strength, or even outdated, counterfeit, expired medications. If the ingredients of medicine are unknown, its drug interactions can’t be checked and you may end up developing serious health problems