The easiest way to avoid dangerous drug and supplement interactions

February 09, 2010
Volume 07    |   Issue 7

If you’re taking two or more medications, they may be causing undesirable interactions. This is true whether or not your medications are prescription or over-the-counter. Add to them your nutritional supplements and you increase your risk for dangerous interactions even more. The more medications and nutritional supplements you take, the more likely you are to take some that interact negatively with one another.

There are numerous possible drug/drug, drug/nutrient, and nutrient/nutrient interactions. So many, in fact, that I’ve been telling my patients and readers for years to ask their pharmacist to check everything they’re taking to make sure they’re safe to take.

Now there’s a very easy way for you to do this yourself from your home or library computer.

This method is very accurate. It’s the same one that many doctors and pharmacists use. And it’s simple to use. All you need to do is to use the drug interaction checker from the Medscape website. Medscape is a respected resource website for doctors and other health care professionals.

Just follow this link. You'll have to sign up for a free account. Once you've done this, it will take you to the drug interaction page. Type the name of your drug in the box where it says “Search for the drugs:” Then press the “Go” button next to the box. You’ll see a list of possible matches in the left box marked “Results.” Next, click once on the drug name that most closely matches your prescription and then click on the “Add” button. The name of your drug will appear in the right “Patient Regimen” box.

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Repeat until you’ve entered all of your drugs and nutritional supplements. After you’ve added each drug or supplement, the website will search for any negative interactions. There’s room for you to search for interactions on 20 products or ingredients.

If you find any potentially dangerous interactions, print this page and show it to your doctor and pharmacist. If there are interactions among drugs and nutrients you need to take, you may simply need to take them away from one another.  This could prevent one substance from binding to another, causing absorption problems.

One older patient I follow used this website and found out why he was so weak and fatigued. He was surprised to find that his magnesium supplement reacted with his thyroid medication, preventing Synthroid from being absorbed. Since he needs both, he started taking them at different times of the day and it solved his problem. Your doctor or pharmacist can help determine if a modification like this will work for you.

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