After seeing a woman pass out in the hair salon when she changed her medication, it bode the question, “could my medications be making me sick?” It’s no secret that the older we get, the more medications we seem to be on. When you have multiple chronic illnesses or pains and you treat those multiple chronic ailments with multiple medications, it’s easy to see that a mixture could be causing more problems than solving them or even creating new issues to arise.
Dr. Supiano of the University of Utah states that, “The magic number is if say you’re on more than 12 medications…that is a combination of both prescription medications as well as any over the counter medications that you may be taking…there’s almost a 100% chance that there will be a drug-to-drug interaction.”
Almost 100% sounds like an alarmingly figure, but not surprising when we calculate the amount of medications being taken as an older individual. When thinking about a drug-to-drug related reaction, over-the-counter medication never crossed our mind since they’re over the counter, they should be safe, right?
While we ideally communicate with our doctors about the medications we take and doctor’s try their hardest to ensure we don’t have adverse reactions, they cannot prevent an adverse medicinal reaction every single time. We each have unique body chemistry and tolerances and while a combination of medications may be the perfect fit for you, that same combination could be damaging for your spouse.
There are a few ways to combat this issue so we can be more proactive with our health.
A simple solution would be to ensure you’re always going to the same pharmacy and talking to a pharmacist. A pharmacist will know a little bit more about what is in the medications specifically and what could be problematic for you. Talk to them if you’re noticing an issue or have concerns about a drug-to-drug-related reaction. Bringing all of your medications to a pharmacist or your primary care physician is a great way to go through and evaluate each to determine if there is an underlying issue with them.
You can also add herbal remedies to the mix. Now, we do not advocate that you stop your medication entirely but talking to your doctor about more natural medications could be a simple way to cut back on the adverse reactions.
If you’re feeling like your medications are not treating you properly, it’s time to sit down with a medical professional. The purpose of medicine is to help you feel great, not create new problems. Get proactive with your health and talk to your doctor today.