November 23, 2011

Why It's Essential to Research Your Meds!

Researching yesterday's post on my high-cost Azilect, I encountered sites warning of possible adverse consequences of taking Azilect with certain foods or other meds. Some of those foods appear regularly on my menu, and I've taken some of those meds, too.

How do you find this "cautionary" info? By reading the fine-print document enclosed in the box from the manufacturer? I don't have the patience -- or the eyesight -- to seek helpful nuggets buried in the tiny, dense verbiage.

We're told to consult our doctor or pharmacist. I wonder -- would mine have cautioned me about mixing Azilect with the pickled herring I frequently enjoy at lunch? That favorite snack is just one of many foods shown on the "watch-out" list for people taking Azilect.

For me, the most useful place to start  is On Mayo's homepage, click on "Health Information" at the top/left. From the pull-down menu, select "Drugs and Supplements A-Z."

When I enter "Azilect" in the search box, I get Mayo's report on "rasagiline," which I've read isn't quite the same as Azilect. But it's close enough. The info provided might appear somewhere on the tiny-print sheet inside the manufacturer's package, but Mayo's material is organized and clearly written. I usually read everythying, and pay particular attention to "Precautions" (other meds that may interact adversely with your med) and "Side Effects" (a lengthy list for Azilect).

The Mayo site isn't perfect. It doesn't include the dietary cautions I found elsewhere. I searched Google for "rasagiline dietary." The first link listed offered all the information I need:

I also learned on that site that the FDA approved Azilect only two years ago, and that the approval was based on studies of people with moderate to severe Parkinson's who were experiencing  dyskinesias and/or motor fluctuations. None of those descriptions apply to me. Hmmm.

So... a little research, and I find that Azilect was approved only two years ago, that it was approved because it seems to help people with problems I don't have, and that users might experience serious side effects if they also eat certain foods (like pickled herring and soy products -- both of which I eat regularly, because I like them, and because they regularly appear on "good for you" lists). And the fee (for me, Medicare and my secondary insurance) is nearly $4000 a year?

I wish I'd done this research earlier. I'll check out my other meds over the holiday weekend.

How about you? Thoughts?


Gedunk4 said...

Yes azilect and certain foods don't mix...such as age cheese and have to stay away from tyramine...what ever that soy.  I was told the manufacture changed restriction but can't find it in print. Oh no banana peels..who eats them?

Bill Smith said...

Wow. Reading this makes me think I haven't checked online and in a long time. I rely on Walgreens cross matching to alert me. And I know that's not the best thing to do.

John said...

Yeah. I've been taking Azilect for almost 2 years and I'm just now finding out that food I eat regularly are on Azlilect's "beware" list. What I don't understand is why with all the sophisticated computer apps, etc. there isn't a central database where we could go, plug in our meds, and get a printout of any cautions and concerns.

John said...

Nothing is easy. One of the sites I researched said a product that has some tyramine isn't a problem as long  as the tyramine is less than 150 mg. But of course the labels showing the fat, sodium, etc. levels don't list tyramine!