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Medication Interaction Safety

Medications and over-the-counter drugs prescribed by your physician can be lifesavers but drug interactions can lead to unpleasant and dangerous side effects. Make sure that you discuss any combinations of medications with your physician and pharmacist.

Make a list of all current medications:

  • Include prescriptions, over-the-counter and supplements that you take
  • List the names, strength and dosage
  • Share your medication history
  • Include medications that you have taken in the past and how you responded to them
  • Include the foods you eat, beverages you usually drink and timing of your meals
  • Include caffeine, alcohol and tobacco usage
  • Share information about allergies (food, plants, dust, etc.) as these can impact the medications that are prescribed

Food and drug interactions happen when certain foods change a drug’s effect, or when certain drugs affect your nutrition. They are far more common that people realize and are potentially dangerous. However, they can be avoided.

Many foods have no effect on drug reactions, but some foods can:

  • Change your body’s ability to absorb the medication
  • Cause certain drugs to break down before they have a chance to work
  • Raise or lower the amount of a drug in your body

Some medications can affect your body’s nutrition:

  • Prevent absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals
  • Promote low-level internal bleeding which can lead to anemia
  • Cause an upset stomach or nausea which leads to decreased appetite

Make sure that you use your medications properly:

  • Follow the directions
  • Read and understand the labels
  • Organize a system so that you take the right medication, at the right time and in the right method
  • Keep medications in their original containers so that you can review the label for instructions as needed
  • If possible, have all prescriptions filled at one pharmacy. This enables your pharmacist to track possible drug interactions
  • Ask questions
  • Do not hesitate to seek advice from your physician or pharmacist

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