Mix and Match

The fashionistas may advise us to “mix and match” – our clothes, shoes, coats, scarves, etc. Have fun! Mix it up! Don’t be boring! In the world of fashion, mixing it up is trendy, funky and creative. Not though, when it comes to prescription and/or alternative/complementary medications.

Choosing to introduce another medication to your daily regimen – even when it’s been recommended by a competent healthcare professional – can be problematic. Some of us may be on an everyday medication prescribed by one doctor. If another health problem arises, we may visit a different healthcare provider who prescribes a drug to treat that particular ailment. That’s where problems can crop up. Drug/drug interactions can effectively produce too much of one drug in your body and not enough of another.

It’s our job as intelligent, proactive patients to inform every healthcare provider we visit of all our current medications – ALL medications. Don’t leave out herbal/natural products as they have the same potential to combine with and change the efficacy of any other drug we take. Fortunately, there are more and more computer programs that contain all our medical information easily accessed from one doctor to another. But, it’s still up to us to provide accurate information that’s being entered into the computer. In addition, it’s our responsibility to check with our healthcare providers, to ask if taking this medication mixed with any other medications could cause an adverse reaction.

I consider myself to be a pretty savvy healthcare consumer, but just as I was ready to pick up a script ordered by another healthcare provider, it was my husband who suggested I check with my oncologist first. Smart guy! My oncologist recommended I hold off taking this new med and wait to see him first.

In older patients, drug/drug interactions are not uncommon. As the number of medications patients need increases combined with visits to several different doctors, the potential for drug issues may multiply. Years ago when I was visiting my elderly mother I realized she was taking twice the recommended dose of one drug. Why? Because two different docs had prescribed the same drug. She had no idea.

It’s best to keep a close eye on your medications. Before you see your healthcare provider sit down and write up a list of ALL YOUR MEDICATIONS. Make note of any changes in medications or doses. Any new ones? Any ones you’ve discontinued? You can also pack them in a bag and bring them with you. I know. I know. It looks a little strange, but like your mother said, better safe than……..

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