Skip to content

Dealing With Medicine Side Effects and Interactions

Font Size

Medicine Interactions

Taking certain 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.

Recommended Related to Drugs and Herbs

Generic Drugs

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...

Read the Generic Drugs article > >

Interactions can happen among any of these:

  • Prescription medicines
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Herbal remedies
  • Food and drink
  • Illegal drugs

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 mistaken for 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 take.

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.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 24, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

bloodstream
Tips to help prevent clots.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
Live and thrive.
gloved hand holding syringe
10 preventable diseases.
psoriasis
How to identify that bite.
man eating meal
Folates, green tea and more.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Woman with stressed, fatigue
Get relief tips.
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.