medicines together may cause a bad reaction. This is called an interaction. For
example, one medicine may cause side effects that create problems with other
medicines. Or one medicine may make another medicine stronger or weaker.
A medicine you take for one health problem also can make another
health problem worse. For example, a medicine you use for a cold could make
high blood pressure worse.
Q: Are generic versions of drugs really just as good (and safe) as
their brand-name counterparts?
A: Yes, for many reasons. Today, almost half of all prescriptions in
the United States are filled with generic drugs. They are less expensive and
often require a lower co-pay if you have insurance, which could mean big cost
savings for you. Generic drug manufacturers don’t have the initial investment
costs associated with development of a new drug. Original manufacturers are
given a patent...
If you have several doctors, and if some of them don't know
all of the medicines you're taking, a bad reaction can be mistaken as an
illness. For example, some medicines can cause memory problems that are
dementia. Falls can be a sign of too much medicine,
rather than frailty.
But just because you take several medicines
doesn't mean you'll have problems. To be safe, make sure that all your doctors
know you're taking medicines prescribed by another doctor and about
over-the-counter medicines, herbs, supplements, and illegal drugs you
How do you know you're having a medicine interaction?
It is hard to know whether you're having a side effect or interaction. If
you've talked with your doctor about it, you may be able to recognize the
symptoms of an interaction. How likely you are to have an interaction depends
on how many medicines you're taking, how much of a medicine you take, how old
you are, how much you weigh, whether you are male or female, and what other
health problems you may have.
If you think that you are having an
interaction, talk to your doctor or
pharmacist. He or she will review the medicines you
are taking to see if there is a problem. Your
doctor or pharmacist can make suggestions to help an interaction while still
making sure that you're getting the treatment you need.