Nobody enjoys feeling unwell. Fortunately, thanks to modern medicine, there are a variety of both prescription and over-the-counter medications to treat everything from acid reflux to some types of cancer. Still, if you experience a drug interaction, your symptoms may quickly progress from bad to worse.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, drug interactions happen when one or more medications react with each other. Food, drinks, non-prescription drugs and environmental factors may also lead to drug interactions. Typically, preventable drug interactions occur for the following reasons:
- You fail to provide a medical history
When you seek medical treatment, doctors routinely ask you about your medical history. As part of this evaluation, they often request a list of prescription drugs you currently take or have taken in the past. If you do not provide accurate information, your physician may be unable to predict how new medication may interact with existing drugs.
- Your doctor does not understand a new prescription
Pharmaceutical manufacturers create thousands of new prescription drugs every year. In an effort to increase sales, representatives from these companies visit medical offices around the country. When prescribing a new drug, doctors may not fully understand potential drug interactions. If your doctor does not work diligently to become familiar with new medication, you may suffer the consequences.
- Your physician does not check for drug interactions
If you have a working relationship with your physician, you can likely trust him or her to check for drug interactions before prescribing new medication. Unfortunately, because doctors are busy, they may not compare new prescriptions to existing ones. Also, your physician may neglect to tell you how food, drinks or recreational and over-the-counter drugs may affect a new medication.
- Your pharmacist overlooks important information
You and your doctor are not always to blame for drug interactions. Sometimes, pharmacists make mistakes that put your life in jeopardy. If your pharmaceutical provider fails to check drug warnings when filling multiple prescriptions, you may suffer a serious drug interaction.
The consequences of drug interactions can range from a minor inconvenience to serious injury or death. By understanding why drug interactions tend to occur, you can better plan for advocating for your overall health.