Do You Really Know Your Meds?


So you went to the doctor, and he ran some tests, and he says you have this thing, and you need to take that thing to make you all better. So he takes out his pretty paper pad with his name printed on top by what looks like a professional printer, then takes out his oh so very stylish pen that he got as a Christmas gift from his beautiful wife, and with grand flare, scribbles something illegible on that paper, hands it to you and tells you to take it twice a day for the rest of your life.

You look at the paper, nod, tell him thank you, leave his office, head straight to the pharmacy and give the balding guy in the lab coat with glasses behind the counter that same very special piece of paper. He scrutinizes it and deciphers the hieroglyphics, and tells you with definite professionalism to come back in fifteen minutes.

You leave, and come back fourteen minutes later. After all, what’s in that little brown bottle with the lid that always seems impossible to open is important. Very important. It’s going to save your life! Right?

You collect your medication and get home just in time to have the first dose of your brand spanking new meds. You look at the other brown bottle of meds in your drawer that the same doctor gave you last month for that other thing you had, which you also take everyday, well because the doctor says it is okay.

So you decided you are going to take both meds together. After all, the same doc prescribed them both, right? He should know if there are any drug interactions. And besides, the pharmacy has that really fancy shiny computer that will tell the pharmacist if there were any drug interactions. You feel safe.

You take both tablets, and with that knowing that these two tablets will make you all better, you wash them down with your favorite ruby red grapefruit juice. Ahhh. Delicious. What’s on TV?

Some time passes and you decide to go to the supermarket for some ice cream. Yum! You get up out of your favorite chair, and as you stand, you feel dizzy. Hmmm. The doc did say that I have normal blood pressure and this new med with lower my blood pressure, but this doesn’t fee right. You make your way to the kitchen and as you walk you feel even more light headed, then black out and fall to the floor with a thud that reverberates through out the house.

Why? What happened? The doc should know that the two meds would interact! The pharmacist should also know. And they do. They studied hard. The big shiny computer said the drugs don’t interact. So why are you on the ground, unconscious, your blood pressure so dangerously low, that if the paramedics don’t get there on time, you’ll probably die?

Well, it’s because you are too trusting and accept everybody’s answer as “it”, and don’t do research for yourself. What caused your blood pressure medicine to react in such a manner that has you possibly fighting for your life? The grapefruit juice. Certain chemicals that grapefruit products and citrus fruits contain can interfere with the enzymes that break down various medications in your digestive system. As a result, more medication stays in your body. This can increase the potency of your medication to potentially dangerous levels, causing serious side effects.

Not only do drugs interact with each other, they sometimes interact with every day foods and some herbs. Orange juice make antibiotics useless. Some herbal supplements will affect prescription meds in a negative way. Taking certain meds with high fiber foods render them useless. Grapefruit juice affects certain blood pressure medicine, and medicines that are metabolized by the liver. You have to do your own research. Don’t just take a medication blindly, even though the doctor says it is safe. Do your own research, not only about the side effects, but also about possible food interactions. It might just save your life.

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