Drug Interactions – What Are They?
You are at a risk of drug interactions if you have more than one medication or if you mix it with certain foods, beverages, and over-the-counter medications. Despite most interactions not being concerning, a few are. Therefore, it is important for you to understand the possible results before you ingest your medications.
[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“Alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical drugs are legal, but they can hurt a lot of people.” – Ziggy Marley[/su_quote]
What Types of Drug Interactions Can You Encounter?
There are three types of drug interactions that a person can encounter. These are:
This is the most common type of drug interaction. The higher the number of medications you ingest, the greater the chances of encountering this type of drug interaction. Drug-drug interactions can diminish the chances of your drug functioning optimally. They may also increase the chances of minor and serious side effects, blood pressure and the toxicity of a certain drug. For example, if you ingest a painkiller such as Vicodin and a sedative like an antihistamine simultaneously, you are likely to face drowsiness because both medications have the potential to create this effect.
Drug And Food and Beverage Interactions
You may have noticed prescription bottles with the information, “avoid grapefruit juice.” This may seem out of place, but some medications can interact with food and beverages. Grapefruit juice can lower the level of enzymes in the liver that are responsible for breaking down medications. The interacting drug may cause a rise in the toxicity in the blood levels. These interactions are common with the often-used statins that lower cholesterol; they can result in muscle pain or severe muscle injury.
Drug interactions are not common with just other drugs or foods. The existing medical condition can also affect the functionality of the drug. Some over-the-counter drugs can cause an increase in your blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, they may cause serious effects.
Why Is It Essential To Check for Drug Interactions?
It is always advisable to check for drug interactions because they have the ability to cause the following:
- –They can affect the way a medication works for you by changing the levels of the drug in your blood.
- –Put you at a risk of side effects and toxicity.
- –Worsen your current condition.
Drug interactions can also influence the cost of healthcare because a severe drug interaction of the concerning variety can result in injury, hospitalization, and fatality at times.
Check for drug interactions before they occur can significantly lower the chances of being struck by a problem. Doctors and pharmacists will provide this information together with your prescription medications. However, it is a wise idea to check it yourself.
If you are using any over-the-counter medications—including vitamins, supplements, or herbal supplements—you should review them for interactions with the prescription drugs that you may be having. Your doctor or the pharmacist will be able to help you if you are confused with the medical jargon.
Note that not all drug interactions are bad. Some medications are better absorbed when they are taken with food or may give you the benefit of better blood levels when they are ingested with other medications.
[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“Poisons and medicine are often the same substance given with different intents.” – Peter Mere Latham[/su_quote]
Life-threatening drug interactions are not common but are definitely a serious concern. Most drug interactions listed on the packaging could be theoretical, but you can avoid a possible drug interaction by asking for a different medication.
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