Resolving Prescription Conflicts

Resolving Prescription Conflicts

When Rosemary Butler belted out the chorus on Jackson Brown’s version of Stay (Just a Little Bit Longer) more than four decades ago, a lot of 50- to 60-year-olds apparently decided to take that advice. There are now over 72,000 centenarians in the US!

Advances in chronic disease treatment and prevention are extending your lifespan—and increasing the number of medications you take. About 75 percent of you, age 65 and up, take drugs for at least two chronic disorders, and almost one-third of you take five or more medications. You also take 35 percent of all over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. No wonder drug interactions are an increasing problem.

One 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 oil and coconut oil fuels cancer risk, coronary artery disease, dementia, obesity and diabetes.
  3. Added sugars and…
  4. Sugar syrups both cause the proteins in your body to be less functional and age your immune system, cardiovascular system and 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 percent whole grains) that you need to keep the bacteria in your gut happy, glucose levels regulated, immune system strong and digestion running smoothly.

Related: What foods should I avoid to stay healthy?

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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