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Minimize the risk of drug interactions

Most of the time, medications work wonders for Louisiana residents who live with uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms. Medications help with pain relief, fight infections and control certain issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure. However, sometimes medications can cause unwanted reactions. This often occurs due to interactions. MedlinePlus details how interactions may occur and the possible side effects of them. 

Interactions have the potential to change the actions of one or more drugs a person takes. This may cause a medication to not work properly or to produce unwanted side effects. Interactions may occur between medications and the following:

  •       Another drug
  •       Food
  •       Supplements
  •       A disease
  •       Allergies

Side effects of drug interactions may be mild such as drowsiness, stomach aches and rashes. Others, however, may be serious and entail hallucinations, severe bleeding or anaphylaxis.

Harvard Medical School provides information designed to help minimize the risk of drug interactions. First, the publication suggests individuals learn why a doctor prescribes a certain medication and to label each pill bottle with the reason. This will help individuals avoid taking the wrong medication that may have a similar name to the correct one.

The publication also recommends individuals learn how to properly take a medication. For instance, many drugs require the user to eat food before taking to help aid digestion and avoid irritating the stomach lining. Other drugs require individuals to avoid certain foods entirely.

Individuals should also fill all their prescriptions at the same pharmacy. When a pharmacist is intimately familiar with a person's medication history, he or she can immediately identify a new medication that may cause an adverse reaction.

Harvard Health Publishing also recommends against taking any supplements, as the most serious drug interactions often involve supplements and prescription medications. Individuals should also avoid grapefruit juice, as grapefruit juice affects the metabolism of several medications. 

Finally, individuals should avoid alcohol while taking medications. Alcohol can amplify any adverse side effects of prescription drugs such as drowsiness, depression and anxiety.

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