Prescription drugs have come a long way and companies pour millions of dollars into research and marketing. Often, research is focused on side effects of medications, but the issue of drug interaction is also looked at. This occurs when one drug changes the way another drug works in the body. The effect can be intensified or the strength of the drug could be diluted. In rare cases these interactions can prove dangerous, having long term implications for the health of the user.
How Common is It?
Millions of people over the age of 55 take more than one drug. Many people also use supplements which can react with medications. Even over the counter medications can interact with other drugs. This is where the real danger lies as often no guidance is given in this area.
Reactions from the combinations of different medications usually fall into two main categories. One is pharmacodynamic which refers specifically to what happens when the two drugs are combined. The pharmacokinetic aspect deals with how the drugs are broken down to be used by the body.
If you have been prescribed medication, your doctor should be aware of other drugs you are taking, which includes supplements. Most doctors are well informed, so you should be able to get information on possible interaction risks. Otherwise, you can ask your pharmacist for information. Be sure to provide a list of all medications you are using.
You can also do research on your own. There are a number of health themed websites which cover a variety of issues. They have informative articles and useful data and statistics which can help to put your mind at ease.