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Resolving Prescription Conflicts

When Rosemary Butler belted out the chorus on Jackson Brown’s version of Stay (Just a Little Bit Longer) almost four decades ago, a lot of 50 to 60-year-olds apparently decided to take that advice. There are now over 53,000 centenarians in the U.S.—a 66 percent increase in 30 years!

Advances in chronic disease treatment and prevention are extending your lifespan—and increasing the number of medications you take: 75 percent of you, 65 or older, take drugs for at least two chronic disorders; almost a third of you take five or more medications; you also take 35 percent of all over-the-counter drugs. No wonder drug interactions are an increasing problem.
 
 
A recent study found combining prescription meds for high blood pressure (HBP) and osteoarthritis is the most common cause of a risky drug interaction. If you add a cox-2 inhibitor for pain on top of a beta blocker for HBP, the cox-2 inhibitor blocks the beta blocker; your blood pressure stays too high. Other combos of prescription and/or OTC meds cause just as much trouble.
 
To minimize drug interactions:
  • Write down each prescription, non-prescription med, and supplement you take.
  • Schedule time with your pharmacist to review your list, checking for drug interactions; take notes.
  • Take your list and notes to your primary care physician. Create a wellness plan that includes stress management, walking, and avoiding the Five Food Felons. This will reduce your need for chronic disease meds. Medicare and most insurance companies cover this visit annually without any co-pay. 
Here are Dr. Mike’s Five Food Felons:
  1. Trans fats raise lousy LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower your healthy HDL cholesterol level, and fuel disease-triggering inflammation.  
  2. Saturated fat in red meats, poultry skin, full-fat dairy products, palm and coconut oil fuels cancer risk, coronary artery disease, dementia, obesity, and diabetes.
  3. Added sugars and
  4. Sugar syrups Both of these cause the proteins in your body to be less functional and age your immune and cardiovascular system, and your joints. Plus they disrupt your metabolism and contribute to almost every lifestyle-related malady, including some cancers.
  5. Refined and processed grains don’t contain the fiber or nutrients (contained in 100% whole grains) that you need to keep the bacteria in your guts happy, glucose levels regulated, immune system strong, and digestion running smoothly.