Prescription Drug Interactions

Written by Tara Peris
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Prescription drug interactions are potentially very dangerous and must be anticipated at the outset of treatment. Although doctors and pharmacists assume responsibility for ensuring patient safety, it is imperative that people take a proactive stance with their medical care. This requires them to initiate discussions of prescription drug interactions and provide a comprehensive list of all current medications.

When some drugs are taken in conjunction with one another, they serve to amplify the effects of each other. For example, patients may find that they are overly sedated because one medication makes another sedative medication more potent. Alternately, one medication may dampen the effects of another, thereby rendering it less beneficial.

Careful Consideration of Prescription Drug Interactions

In order to understand and anticipate prescription drug interactions, one must have adequate knowledge of the principles of pharmacology. This includes an understanding of the mechanisms of action for most major classes of drugs. Clearly, any reputable physician or pharmacist will have working knowledge of these subjects.

However, one should not rely on doctors as infallible sources of medical care. They are subject to the same errors of human judgment as all other professionals. Similarly, their care is only as good as a patient permits it to be. Thus, a patient who supplies an incomplete list of medications or an inaccurate medical history is likely to hamper effective treatment. Quality health care is an outgrowth of a collaborative relationship between a skilled physician and an actively involved patient.


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