How can I prevent adverse medication interactions?

The best way to prevent adverse medication interactions is to ask your family doctor or pharmacist whether there are other medications that your medication interacts with. Also, ask about what your medication is used for, how to take it, the way it works and the potential side effects. If you have any allergies to medications, remind your healthcare providers of this so you can be prescribed medications that are safe for you.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
To safeguard you from a drug-drug interaction you will need to be a substance sleuth. There are potentially harmful ingredients hidden within many over-the-counter (OTC) products, but you may have to dig deep to find them. You can even find the same ingredient in a pain reliever, fever reducer, cold remedy, and cough suppressant.

Here's what you can do to help avoid a dangerous prescription and OTC combo.
  • Keep a detailed record of all prescriptions, OTC, herbal and dietary supplements you are taking.
  • Know what each medicine you have been prescribed is used for and the side effects, interactions, precautions, and warnings.
  • Confer with your doctor, health practitioner, and pharmacist before taking any new prescriptions, OTC remedies, dietary supplements, and herbs.
  • Read the label carefully.
  • Learn the purpose of each active ingredient in OTC medicines and be certain to match the remedy to the symptom.
  • Fill all prescriptions at a single pharmacy so that they can routinely check for interactions.
  • Make sure you understand how to take the drug before you leave the pharmacy, and ask the pharmacist (not the cashier) questions if you don't.
  • Report any symptoms that might be related to the use of a drug to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Make each of your doctors aware of medications prescribed by others.
  • Do not remove medicines from their original containers or remove the labels.
  • Periodically review your list of medications with all your doctors and healthcare providers.
  • Let someone else in your family know all your prescription and OTC products you are taking in case you become ill.
To find more information about drugs, supplements, and herbal products, visit the National Institute of Health drug look up. To download Food and Drug Administration approved medication package inserts, visit DailyMed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.