All medications should be treated with respect. They are carefully designed for a specific purpose and some cannot be taken with or within a specific interval of taking another medication. The result may be an adverse drug interaction, which can be harmful to your health or the treatment your doctor has prescribed.
For example, drug interactions may make your drug less effective, cause unexpected side effects or increase the action of a particular drug. Some drug interactions can even be harmful. Drug interactions can occur when two or more drugs react with each other or some drugs can even react with foods or beverages. For example, mixing alcohol with some drugs may cause you to feel tired or slow your reactions.
Use the tips below when taking medication:
- If you take several different medicines or see more than one doctor, you and your doctors need to be aware of all the medicines you take to avoid potential problems.
- Read the label every time you use a non-prescription or prescription drug.
- Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about warning labels placed on prescription medication containers and take the time to learn about drug interactions. You may also ask your pharmacist for the package insert for each prescription drug you take. The package insert gives more information about potential drug interactions.
- Use these questions to be sure you are learning as much as you can when a new medication is prescribed by your doctor or filled at the pharmacy:
Can I take it with other drugs?
Should I avoid certain foods, beverages or other products?
What are possible drug interaction signs I should know about?
How will the drug work in my body?
Is there more information available about the drug or my condition? Find out: what the drug is used for, how to take the drug, and how to reduce the risk of drug interactions and unwanted side effects.
- Write a list of all the non-prescription and prescription drugs, dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals and herbals you take, as well as the foods you eat. Take that list to your doctor or pharmacist and talk about it. Bring that list with you every time you go to the doctor’s office. When your doctor prescribes a new drug, bring the list to your doctor’s attention.