I get a few emails now and then asking me how I do it, how I am able to do all that I do despite having Sarcoidosis in the heart and lungs, pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. I credit most of it to positive thinking, faith in something greater than myself, homeopathic medicine, herbs, vitamin supplements and conventional medicine.
The thing is though, in order for all of those physical things, the medications etc., to be effective, you need to know how to take them, and the only way to do that is to know your medicines and your supplements. You have to study.
You can not expect that doctors or pharmacists will teach you anything. Doctors tell you the problem, prescribe the medication, and unless you ask, they do not tell you the purpose of the medication or the side effects. Neither do they warn you of interactions. If you have multiple doctors, always make sure that all of your prescriptions are filled out at the same pharmacy. The pharmacy computers and pharmacist are supposed to pick up drug interactions.
That’s not all though. Some food and supplements will also interact with medications. I have a book that list all herbal interactions with medications, and it lets me know what drugs interact with what herb, so I know what I need to avoid. You also need to read up on each medication you are taking and see what the side effects are, what drugs interact with it, what herbs and what foods.
For instance, I take Digoxin, which needs to be taken away from fiber, so I have to be sure not to have any high fiber foods and hour before and two hours after taking it. Another drug I take is Tracleer, which interacts, with all things, Grapefruit. So I can’t have grapefruit anymore.
You also need to know the timing of your drugs. There is one drug Coreg that I take twice a day, that does almost the same thing as another drug, Losartan, that I take once a day. Because these drugs are similar, I need to take them at least six hours apart, and if you are taking a drug twice a day, it should be spaced evenly, 12 hours apart to be effective. So I have to plan my drugs so that I take the first Coreg at 9am, The Losartan at 3pm and the final Coreg at 9pm. I also take prednisone that needs to be taken before 9am so as not to affect sleep at night.
I also need to take my supplements away from my prescription meds, so I have to take them somewhere in the middle of the six hour difference between the prescriptions. It’s a dance, and it gets complicated, but once you take the time to learn your meds, and learn what needs to be taken away from what, they become more effective and do their job. Taking everything at the same time really does nothing good, because some meds just neutralize each other.
It is best to get yourself a daily pill organizer with a built in alarm, or set multiple alarms on your smartphone if you have one. You have to take charge of your health care, and not expect anyone else to do it for you.
Another thing that you have to be careful with is the pharmacy making an error. On the label of the prescription, there should be a description of the medication as well as some numbers. It would say something like White Oval 33 293. This means that your tablet is white, oval and have the numbers 33 293 embossed on the tablet. Make sure they match, every time. The other day I go my prescription and the tablet was different looking from what i usually get and the description and numbers did not match the tablet that was in the bottle. Turns out what was in the bottle was the larger dose. So be careful. Pharmacists are human too.