I am on so many meds now (many of you are on more I know, but it seems like a lot to me!) I'm very concerned about how they all interact and even how and when to take them. I know the doctor looks at the list each time I'm in, but I have a very close friend who's husband is a pharmacist in the same hospital/clinic system and he said that very few of the docs really understand all the of the drug interactions. It's just too specialized a field these days, and the docs have all they can do to stay on top of all of the other information in their areas. My pharmacy is such a busy place, and there is no opportunity (or place) to talk to a pharmacist long enough to discuss this kind of stuff. Have any of you found a way to do some 'self examination' of your meds? Is there a website that allows you to enter in your meds and will spot any potential problems? I know it's not a substitute for sitting down with a pharmacist or doctor and talking, but it sure would be a start.
I have not found one website that explains all drugs and their interractions. What I do is research each drug and read all of the contraindications and interractions. I make a flow chart to keep on top of which drugs interract with each other and what is the best time of day for me to take each drug (due to food interractions etc.). When I am given a new prescription or a different dosage of an old prescription, I do this same research to make sure that I am still doing ok with my treatment regimine.
Generally, when you are given your prescription, it comes with a page explaining the drug, the contraindications and interractions. Read that very carefully and/or ask to speak to the pharmacist when you pick up your prescription.
It takes a bit of work for us to stay on top of our disease, its symptoms, our treatments and our medications - but it is well worth it to be as informed as we can :lol:
Peace and Blessings
There are several drug checker website - you can find several by entering "drug checker" in your search box. The prpblem is "too much information" - most of them will bring up every conceivable interaction, and it's hard for a layperson to know which ones are serious and which are minor. "Black box warnings" about potential drug interactions are always the most serious, so you should definitely pay attention to them.
Your best bet for drug interaction safety is to get all your prescriptions from the same pharmacy whenever possible. All the large chain pharmacies like CVS and Walgreen use software which keeps track of your medications and drug allergies and detects potential problems. Many smaller pharmacies do too, but always ask to be sure. In most states, pharmacists are required by law to offer private one-on-one counseling, away from other patients. So call your pharmacist and ask about their policy on pharmacy counseling - most pharmacists are very willing to help and some will even schedule an appointment for you and help you prepare a chart of all your meds and the best times to take them.
Not to worry you even more here, but in addition to drug-drug interactions, you also have to be careful about interactions with over the counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements, and even food and drink interactions. For instance, grapefruit juice interacts with certain drugs and can cause them to build up to dangerous levels in your body, while orange juice or other acid juices may decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics. Sometimes the drug printout from the pharmacy lists food-drug interactions, sometimes it doesn't. so ask about food interactions too. You can research all this information yourself, but there is really no substitute for a good pharmacist. Your pharmacist is just as important to your health care as your doctor, so be certain you are dealing with one you trust.
And I know this sounds obvious, but always check the info on the label before you leave the pharmacy - if something doesn't seem right, ask questions right away. Doctors' handwriting is often bad, and many drugs have similar names but totally different uses. Drug name confusion is one big cause of medication errors. So if your doctor says he's writing a prescription for something, but the name on the label says something different, ASK! And if your doctor hands you a prescription you can't read, don't bet your life that the pharmacist can. Ask your doctor exactly what the prescription says, or ask him to rewrite it more legibly. I've been given the wrong prescription before so I've learned it pays to be careful.
Thanks Marycain. It's good advice. I do look up meds on the Internet, and I know it's way more info than I can sort through. I use a Walgreens, just because it's so nice to be able to get a 'scrip filled anywhere in the country without any hassles. But, it's such a busy pharmacy, it's hard to get to talk to a pharmacist. I've been thinking of switching to a different pharmacy just for that reason. They've given me the wrong drug once, so I've been very careful to read the labels and look at the pills each time now. Scary..we're so dependent on these medical personnel.
I had a bad experience about 10 years ago where that happened - I had a bad sinus infection and the doctor had written me an antibiotic prescription and told me to take the first pill as soon as I got it filled. So I filled it at the pharmacy, bought a juice drink there, took the pill, and started driving home - about 35 miles. Unfortunately what the pharmacy gave me wasn't an antibiotic - it was a sedative and I fell asleep at the wheel. Luckily it was a country road, not much traffic, and all that happened was I drove off the road into a cornfield. But it could have been a whole lot worse, the twins were babies then and they could easily have been in the car with me. It's scary to think how easily a simple mistake could have turned into a major disaster. So now I ask the pharmacist and the doctor both about any prescription.
Saysusie, you mentioned that on your flowchart you record when the best time of day is to take your meds. Do you find that info anywhere on the web? Unless the presription defines that (and sometimes it does) I just don't know where to find that. I often wonder if I should be taking these pills in a different order. I kind of do it randomly, and I don't know if that's good.
No, I made my flow chart based upon the precautions on the drug labels, the time of day that was suggested to take them, the interractions with certain foods (like the fruit juices we drink in the morning) and my reaction to the drug (like high-blood pressure medication which causes frequent bathroom runs during the day - which can be embarassing). I make a note of all of these things and then made my own flow chart. The chart can change depending upon other drugs that I take or how my body is reacting.
I also discuss my flow chart with my rheumatologist and she has made suggestions that have been helpful to me!!
Wish I could be more helpful and could suggest a one-stop place to go to help you with all of this :cry: sorry
Peace and Blessings