by Dan Johnson, RPh and PharmD,
Vice President of Network Strategy, ScriptSave
The risk for medication interactions dramatically increases as patients take multiple drugs. ScriptSave’s own Dr. Dan Johnson recently had an article published on the Living Better 50 website on steps you can take to protect yourself from dangerous drug interactions.
More than 2 million patients are hospitalized every year after they inadvertently mix their prescription drugs, while another 100,000 die annually. And the statistics get worse with age. The chance of an adverse drug reaction for people over 50 jumps 33 percent versus younger people.
Even over-the-counter medications and supplements can incite dangerous health risks.For example, patients with high blood pressure should avoid taking cough medicines with decongestants and should consult their pharmacist on the best options to seek relief from cold and flu symptoms. Patients taking prescriptions for depression, chest pain, ADHD, gout, arthritis and other common ailments can frequently be at more risk for dangerous reactions if they don’t keep track of their prescription regimen.
How Can Patients Protect Themselves From Drug Interactions?
- Ideally, patients should go to the same pharmacist and discuss any other prescriptions they may be taking. This conversation should include over-the-counter and supplements – in addition to any medications.
- Be aware of how common household foods can impact medications. People who take Lipitor or Zocor with grapefruit juice may experience muscle pain and other side effects.
- As we age, our bodies metabolize drugs slower and at different rates. Because of this, patients should monitor any reactions to any new or existing drugs.
- There are many user friendly, free mobile apps that keep track of a patient’s regimen – alerting them to potential dangerous interactions. ScriptSave WellRx has a new “Virtual Medicine Cabinet” that warns patients of hazardous drug interactions. It also sends reminders when patients need to take their next pill, or need a refill.
————–Addendum (13 Mar, 2019)————–
…and check out what Dr Max Gomez had to say on CBS News, including an interview with ScriptSave’s Dr Dan Johnson.