Drug Interactions: Five Common Dangerous Interactions You Should Know About

Prescription drugs can save your life. But interactions between prescription drugs and other drugs or with illnesses or conditions you have can lead to significant consequences. 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 to you. See examples of common interactions and what their results are in the table on this webpage [http://www.shoppe.md/articles/drug%20interactions/drug-interactions.html].

Keep in mind that this table does not show you:

-all the interactions with the drug in the left column

-other things that might interact with drugs in the middle
column

-all the effects of the interaction between the two drugs
(as shown in the right column)

How Can I prevent these interactions?

Here are several suggestions for limiting the possibility of experiencing these effects:

* Make sure that all of your doctors know all of the medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs. Elderly persons in particular may see several different specialists. All your doctors should know about anything you’re taking

* Make sure you know all the medications you’re taking. If you’re on several, you should keep their names and doses jotted down on an index card in your wallet or purse. That way, you can reference them if you happen to end up in the emergency room or if you begin working with a new healthcare provider.

* Read the labels. Before using any product, including an over-the-counter medication, read the label for interactions. If you don’t know whether one of the medications you’re taking fits a category of drugs you shouldn’t use, ask the pharmacist for assistance.

* Make friends with your pharmacist. If you always go to the same pharmacy, your pharmacist will have all your drugs on record and can alert you to potential interactions. If possible, finding a pharmacy where there are only one or two pharmacists who are always on duty will improve the chances of them catching problems.

* Even topical medications can interact. You may be receiving an antibiotic ointment for a skin condition – ask your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear sunscreen (to prevent the sun interacting with the medication and giving you a burn!) while using it.

* Other things to think about:

1. Herbal supplements, even if purchased in the store, may not have a complete list of interactions available. Speak with your physician about whether these herbal supplements might harm you – if you’re not sure, it’s not worth the risk.

2. If you enjoy alcoholic beverages, ask your pharmacist about possible interactions with your medications; you may need to give them a miss until you are through with your medication

3. Even things that don’t seem like “real” medicine (antacids, vitamins, diet pills, fiber supplements) may make it difficult for you to absorb your medications or interfere with their function; your pharmacist can be a good resource in determining what to take.

Harvard School of Medicine, “Bad Combinations,” Harvard Health Letter, April 2004.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “Drug interactions: what you should know,” [http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/druginteractions.htm].

Copyright (C) Shoppe.MD and Ian Mason, 2004-2005

Ian Mason, owner of Shoppe.MD, your source for Online Prescription Medications [http://www.shoppe.md], drug information and support forums.

Holistic Health Care – What and Whom

The Baby boomers-those born 1946 through 1964-are the largest population to require health care than ever before. Medical practitioners and pharmaceutical companies are focusing on what pills, potions or surgeries the baby boomers-turned seniors will be likely to use in the next 30 – 40 years. Ironically, the majority of people tend to be concerned about their health after something major has occurred. The truth is if we consistently take good care of our health the aging process has little impact.

Baby boomers are voicing their concerns about better health, more than prior generations. However, many do not know where to find information and options, other than Traditional Western Medicine (TWM).

Few people research the plethora of side effects for prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs-not to mention that prescription and OTC drugs are formulated to take over and hijack your body’s biochemistry. Prescription and OTC drugs force blood pressure to be lower/higher or force the liver to stop manufacturing healthy cholesterol. In fact, prescription or OTC drugs interfere with normal human metabolism, and that is one reason why prescription drugs are killing people. Yet, conventional medical doctors rely on propaganda about the unknown side effects of holistic health care to convince people that only prescription or OTC drugs are safe. It is NOT that they are terrified about the side effects of holistic health care-they are terrified of people being well and they won’t have their business of prescribing life-long pills and potions. Western Medicine is profit driven.

If everyone knew they could prevent any disease with plant extracts, medicinal herbs, natural vitamins, minerals, and supplements, as well as having peace of mind-the pharmaceutical and medical industry would collapse overnight.

o The World Health Organization, estimates that between 65 to 80 percent of the world’s population (about 3 billion people) rely on naturopathic or homeopathic medicine as their primary form of health care.

o Worldwide, only 10 to 30 percent of people use traditional medicine, 70 to 90 percent use naturopathic and homeopathic health care.

o 74 percent of the American population desires a natural approach to health care.

o Of the one out of three Americans who say they have used natural techniques, 84 percent said they would use it again.

o Traditional Chinese Medicine has been chosen by the World Health Organization for worldwide propagation to meet the health care needs of the twenty-first century.

o The U.S. government sponsors the use of acupuncture in drug rehabilitation programs.

o “In a [Mayo Clinic] study of 50 patients, six acupuncture treatments given over two to three weeks significantly improved their symptoms of pain and fatigue.” Time, 2005

o “Americans make more visits to holistic health care providers (some 600 million a year) than to M.D.s and spend more money out-of-pocket to do so about $30 billion a year by recent estimates.” Newsweek, 12/2002

o “A recent study performed by the American Massage Therapy Association revealed that 28 percent of people received a massage from a massage therapist in the past five years, up from 17 percent in 1997. Eighteen percent said they had a massage in the past 12 months. That’s 10 percent higher than was reported in 1997.” American Massage Therapy Association, 8/2002.

Holistic health care practices include:

o Acupuncture

o Aromatherapy/flower essences

o Ayurvedic medicine

o Bio-feedback

o Chelation therapy

o Chiropractic

o Essential Oils

o Guided imagery

o Herbology/Herbal remedies

o Homeopathy

o Hydrotherapy

o Hypnosis/self-hypnosis

o Iridology

o Massage

o Meditation/visualization

o Mind, Body, Spirit healing (using the unconscious mind)

o Movement and exercise therapy

o Naturopathy

o Nutrition therapy

o Osteopathy

o Reiki/energy medicine

o Relaxation response

o Reflexology

o Therapeutic touch

o Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Every community has resources: Natural food stores, natural vitamin and supplement stores: Hi Health, Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods, Wild Oats Market, Trader Joe’s, AJ’s Fine Foods, The Internet directories.