We Don’t Go Together

Medicine plays an essential role in improving symptoms and helping patients heal. Some drugs are simple over-the-counter (OTC) options, while others are potent prescriptions. Each plays a vital role in overall health and wellness. Statistics show that 1 in 4 Americans use multiple medications, supplements, and herbal solutions at the same time. While this practice can improve health, in many cases, a common side effect is drug interactions. This concerning mix of medicines can produce signs and symptoms that the average patient should not ignore.


The danger of interactions

Drug interactions occur when 1 medication affects how another is absorbed, metabolized, or excreted. This chemical alchemy can lead to disruption in care and a host of other severe issues. Most medications come with warnings that side effects can occur. However, many of these side effects are triggered by the use of another substance. Taking multiple medications can also lead to interactions that disrupt therapeutic effects. Some drug interactions are harmful, while others may be dangerous. In severe cases, drug interactions can lead to hospitalization or even death. Drug interactions can occur due to age, changes in diet, or the presence of underlying health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or kidney disease. The goal is to recognize and address any interactions as soon as possible. These 3 signs should signal an issue that requires prompt treatment.

1. Have you noticed strange side effects?

Almost all drugs come with some side effects. While treating 1 symptom, there may be health issues with another system or organ. A pharmacist may disclose these side effects, and while expected, these can change when using multiple medicines. Therefore, do not ignore the signs if a strange or severe side effect arises. Common issues include severe gastrointestinal distress, skin problems, or issues that impact cognitive health. In some cases, drug interactions can lead to addictive responses. Once noticed, act immediately to fix the problem.

2. Are your other medicines failing?

Individuals who take multiple medications may notice an antagonistic effect. In other words, 1 drug suppresses or cancels the effects of another. These drugs may have similar therapeutic makeup but treat different conditions. However, the introduction of a new medication cancels out the other, leading to poor long-term treatment. If the effectiveness of a specific drug has suddenly declined, speak with a pharmacist.

3. Abnormal cardiovascular readings

Notice a sudden change in cardiovascular health? This could be a sign of an unwanted drug interaction. Increased blood pressure (BP), arrhythmia, chest pain, and dizziness can be an underlying side effect. Medication can impact cardiovascular health and must be taken seriously. If there’s a sudden change or hospitalization, consider reviewing all medications for drug interactions.

What should you do next?

Drug interactions can impact long-term treatment. At the first sign of side effects, do not stop taking the medication and speak with a pharmacist immediately. The pharmacist can perform a medication review by examining all drugs and supplements and then provide additional guidance. Pharmacists identify ingredients that may be creating the issue. Upon consultation with the doctor, the pharmacist can change the dosage or prescribe a new medication. Some pharmacies also provide compounding, an innovative alternative. With compounding, the pharmacist can create a customized solution without the ingredients that cause the unpleasant interaction.

Working side by side

The right medication protocol can reduce symptoms and even transform an individual’s health for the better. However, many medications come with an increased risk of unwanted drug interactions. Identifying these dangerous combinations is vital to long-term health. Look for new side effects or reduced efficacy and speak with a pharmacist immediately. A pharmacist can help right the ship by changing the medicine or creating custom solutions to negate side effects.


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