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ealth Hint #350

The Seven Golden Rules of Prescription Medicine

© American Institute for Preventive Medicine, DonR. Powell PhD

Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer

Popping that pill into your mouth or spooning down that elixir may be hazardous to your health if you don't observe basic rules.

1. Report adverse reactions, especially unexpected side effects, to your physician. Not everyone responds to medication in the same manner.
2. Because two or more drugs taken within a 24-hour period may interact negatively, tell your doctor if you are taking more than one kind of drug. One drug may slow down or speed up the effect of the other.
3. Ask your pharmacist about food and drug interactions. Some foods may affect the rate at which a medication works, or they can prevent it from working at all. Some combinations can have even more dangerous consequences. When prescription drugs used to treat depression (MAO inhibitors) are consumed with cheese and other foods containing tyramine, for example, dangerously elevated blood pressure levels may result.
4. Don't drink alcohol while on a medication if you don't know its effect. Regular alcohol use can speed up the metabolism of certain drugs, reducing their intended effectiveness. When alcohol is present in the system, other drugs such as sedatives can become deadly.
5. If you are having laboratory tests performed, be sure to inform the physician of all drugs, including nutritional supplements, you have been taking. Certain test results can be influenced. If you have administered a medical self-test, ask your pharmacist about possible drug influence.
6. Always ask your physician if a generic equivalent would be okay to use. Generic drugs are usually less expensive than the brand name item, and may be equally effective. There are certain situations in which a specific brand of medication may be required in order to ensure a consistent dosage. This is particularly important with medications for the heart, lung, and for hormonal disorders.
7. Tell your doctor if:

You've ever experienced an allergic reaction, and to what.
You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Another doctor is also treating you.
You have diabetes or kidney or liver disease.
You're regularly taking vitamins, birth control pills, insulin, or other drugs.
You use alcohol or tobacco.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.