Medication (Drug-Drug) Interactions – How do I know if my medicines are conflicting with each other?
If I am on two or more prescriptions medicines, how do I know if they will interact in a bad way and give me side effects from this? This is called a “drug-drug interaction” (DDI) and is defined as a change in a drug’s effect on the body when the drug is taken together with a second drug.
A drug-drug interaction (DDI) can delay, decrease, or enhance absorption of either drug. This can decrease or increase the action of either or both, or cause unwanted DDI side effects.
Not a simple side effect…
True Drug-Drug Interactions are different than a simple side effect of a medication, which is simply an unintended effect that can occur when just taking a single medication.
You may have no side effects from drug A if taken alone, and no side effects from drug B if taken alone, however if you take the two of them together, this a true DDI.
To further confuse things, some DDIs may be minimized or not experienced if the two medications are taken at least several hours apart. Consult with your doctor or a doctor at USADoctorConsult.com if you have questions about DDIs.
What if I am on one (or more) prescription medicine(s) and one (or more) over-the-counter (OTC) medication(s) – could they interact?
What if I just take two or more OTC medications and NOT prescriptions meds – could they interact?
Can alcohol or even nicotine interact with various drugs or medications?
Not that I use them, but can “recreational drugs” (marijuana, cocaine, narcotics, methamphetamines, etc.) interact with prescription medications or over-the-counter medications?
Unfortunately, the answer to these questions are all yes! Even different vitamins and other nutritional supplements can interact with each other.
This can present a confusing quagmire of interactions that even your doctor will have difficulty keeping up with. This is where pharmacists come into play.
No two people are the same…
On the site, www.Drugs.com, there is a Drug-Drug Interactions Checker that can be accessed to check for many drug-drug interactions (DDIs), but most of these drug interaction Checker’s online do not always tell you what percentage of patients taking the combination of drugs, will actually have the DDI.
In other words, one person taking drug A and drug B together may not have the any side effects, whereas another person taking these exact same to drugs may have a DDI. In other words, no two people are the same even if taking the same medications.
And to make matters worse, most drug manufacturers do not tell you how severe some DDIs may be. For instance, can you withstand a mild itchy rash for three or four days that goes away on its own? This type of DDI would be far more worrisome to people in a severe rash causing their skin to peel off. Thus, the confusing quagmire!
So be forewarned that “Dr. Google” and the Drug-Drug Interaction checker on Drugs.com [https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html ] are NOT a replacement for the advice of a Medical Doctor or Doctor of Pharmacy that knows your specific medical history and needs.
Medical Professionals such as these will be able to give you much better, experienced, advice on the real-world risks of various drug-drug interactions. You can schedule a convenient video-conference in-person with a real US-based Doctor on-line by clicking here.
After reviewing your medical history and current medications (from the intake form you will fill out), you can then schedule an appointment.
Thank you. // Dr. Guha, CEO/CMO
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