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Common drug interactions: Keep your family safe

See how everyday products can affect your medications.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, two out of every three patients who visit a doctor leave with at least one prescription for medication, and close to 40 percent of Americans receive four or more medication prescriptions.

With those rates, it’s important to realize the interactions that can occur. According to the FDA, drug interactions fall into three broad categories:

  • Drug-drug interactions occur when two or more drugs react with each other.
  • Drug-food/beverage interactions result from drugs reacting with foods or beverages.
  • Drug-condition interactions may occur when an existing medical condition makes certain drugs potentially harmful.

To help avoid problems when using over-the-counter medications, the FDA recommends the following:

  • Always read drug labels carefully.
  • Check for interactions using an Interaction checker
  • Learn about the warnings for all the drugs you take.
  • Keep medications in their original containers so that you can easily identify them.
  • Ask your doctor what you need to avoid when you are prescribed a new medication. Ask about food, beverages, dietary supplements and other drugs.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking an over-the-counter drug if you are taking any prescription medications.
  • Use one pharmacy for all of your drug needs.
  • Keep all of your healthcare professionals informed about everything that you take.
  • Keep a record of all prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements (including herbs) that you take. Try to keep this list with you at all times, but especially when you go on any medical appointment. There are great apps for drug reminders.

Should you have any questions about possible food/drug interactions, your community pharmacist is one of the best resources available.

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