Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Brown Bag Review to save your health and life

A Tribune article this morning talks about a recently released study reiterating the point that drug-drug interactions are very common and can cause serious problems, particularly in “older” folks.

Overall, 1 in 25 older adults risked serious drug interactions, the study found. For men ages 75 to 85, it was as high as 1 in 10.

It also points out the dangers of over-the-counter meds in these situations. Quite often folks really don’t consider over-the-counter meds as medications, even when asked by their healthcare provider.

"The public has an awareness that two prescription medications used together might be dangerous," … "But what people don't fully appreciate is that non-prescription drugs can interact with prescription drugs and even other non-prescription drugs."

Always talk with your healthcare provider about possible drug-drug interactions when they start you on a new medication or before you start an over-the-counter medication or herbal supplement. Also, you should request an annual “brown bag review” (I wrote an article for EM Reports about that recommendation years ago). In a “brown bag review” you bring in all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter and “herbs”, and you do a sit down face-to-face review of them with your healthcare provider.

Stay safe and stay alive.


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