University of Iowa researchers say many people may be at risk from mixing drugs, even if everything they take is legal and some is ordered by a doctor. Karen Farris is an assistant professor in the U’s College of Pharmacy, who recommends a “brown-bag assessment” of all the things you’re taking. Put everything you take into a bag and take it to your doctor or pharmacist, who’l go through all of it, discuss what each one is and what it’s for and talk about how you take them at home. Farris says your doctor or druggist may not have been aware of all the things in your medicine cabinet, and can tell you which ones may mix badly, give you Even if we’ve heard of drug interactions, we think of that happening with prescription drugs, but with more of those becoming available on a non-prescription basis we need to be aware of how they might duplicate or interact with the ones the doctor ordered. Aspirin, for example, might dangerously exaggerate the effect of a blood-thinner, she explains, and other over-the-counter or even herbal remedies might block the effect of a drug that’s been prescribed for you. Keep a list of all your medications, and talk about them all, with your doctor or pharmacist. Researchers in the College of Pharmacy are doing brown-bag assessments with patients in Iowa’s Priority Prescription Savings Program, and so far have found the average client takes at least five drugs, and a third of them have at least one safety issue, from things like over-the-counter drugs and even simple painkillers.
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