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Drug interaction happens when the absorption and elimination of a drug is affected, changing the time and intensity of its effect in the body. In this way, the drug interaction does not cause the production of a poisonous substance for the body, but it is equally dangerous, especially if the drug's effect is increased, causing an overdose.
This type of interaction is more common when taking two different medicines together, which should not be mixed, but it can also happen due to the ingestion of food together with some medicines and even due to the presence of diseases in the body, for example.
1. Understand what each medicine is for
Knowing the reason why each medication is taken is more important than knowing its name, as several medications have similar names that can be changed when telling the doctor what you are taking.
Thus, when informing the doctor, it is important to try to say the name of the medicines, but also to say what they are for, because this way it is easier to identify the correct medicine, preventing the prescription of a medicine that may interact with those that already if you are taking it.
2. Know how to take each medicine
Before starting to take any medication, it is important to ask the doctor the correct way to take it, especially if it should be taken with or without food. This is because several medications, such as those used to treat osteoporosis, have their effect reduced if they are taken less than 30 minutes after milk, juice or any type of food.
On the other hand, some medications, such as antibiotics or ibuprofen, should be taken right after eating to avoid irritation of the stomach walls.
3. Buy the medicines at the same pharmacy
Often, the medicines used are prescribed by different doctors in different hospitals and clinics. Thus, the chances of a failure in the registration of each person's medication are very high, facilitating a drug interaction.
However, some pharmacies have an electronic record of the medication sold to each person over time and, therefore, by always buying at the same place, there is a greater guarantee that the pharmacist will identify drugs that may interact and warn about this risk, indicating the best way to take each one.
4. Avoid using supplements
Most supplements can easily interact with prescription drugs, mainly due to the high amounts of vitamins and minerals they contain.
In addition, supplements can be easily purchased without a prescription, which increases the chances that the doctor will not know what you are taking when prescribing another medication. As such, supplements should only be used when prescribed by a doctor.
5. Make a list of the medicines you use
If none of the above tips work, it may be helpful to write a list with the name of all the medicines you are using, along with the name of the active ingredient and the time of day. It is important not to forget to add any add-ons you are using as well.
This list must always be shown to the doctor or pharmacist when starting to use a new medication.
Drugs that should not be taken together
Some examples of medications that should not be taken together are:
- Corticosteroids and anti-inflammatories should not be taken at the same time, especially when corticosteroid treatment lasts longer than 5 days. Some examples of corticosteroids are Decadron and Meticorden and of anti-inflammatory drugs are Voltaren, Cataflan and Feldene.
- Antacids and antibiotics should also not be taken at the same time, as the antacid reduces the antibiotic's effect by up to 70%. Some antacids are Pepsamar and mylanta plus, and antibiotic, Trifamox and cephalexin.
- Medicine to lose weight and antidepressant should only be taken together under medical supervision, as one can potentiate the side effects of the other. Some examples are Deprax, Fluoxetine, Prozac, Vazy and sibutramine-based drugs.
- Appetite suppressant and anxiolytics can also be dangerous if taken together, as they can cause mental confusion and trigger psychoses and schizophrenia. Examples are: Inibex, Dualid, Valium, Lorax and Lexotan.
To avoid this type of problem, no medicine should be taken without medical advice. The tip also applies to the ingestion of medicines and herbal medicines at the same time, as they can also be dangerous.