I recalled some lessons I'd learned -- and forgotten -- and I picked up some new information. Here are some of the issues involved in my recent roller coaster ride.
Checking for Drug Interactions
I recounted yesterday my finding out, courtesy of my CVS pharmacist, that the pain pill prescribed by my internist had the potential for reacting adversely with the Parkinson's meds prescribed by my neurologist. After researching drug interactions, I reread the chapter on over-medicated seniors in the book Are Your Prescriptions Killing You?
After, I vowed to restrict my pill popping -- of prescribed meds and over-the-counter supplements -- to the absolute minimum.
Here are several user-friendly sites you can use to check for possible adverse drug interactions:
- Medscape has a good drug interaction checker. I often start any medical research with Medscape; it beats WebMD by a long shot for accuracy, currency and depth of info. I wish I were more adept with apps for my iPhone, since I just got a promo email from Medscape offering its free app on clinical care that includes the drug interaction checker and much more. It's the fastest growing medical care app, used by over 3 million healthcare professionals.
- Another easy-to-use drug interaction checker is provided by www.drugs.com
- The nurse-practitioner at my CVS Minute Clinic thinks highly of Epocretes drug interaction checker. It's available online after a free registration. But what she likes is their app that has some nice features in addition to the drug interaction checker.
I Forgot: NSAIDs Are a No-No
When my pharmacist told me of the potential adverse reaction from my Tramadol pain pill, I did a Google search on over-the-counter pain pills to use as a stop-gap before seeing my internist about a new prescription. Motrin got a good review so I started taking it. I'd forgotten my own blog post on NSAIDs -- "One of the most dangerous classes of drugs for older people"! The quote is from Neel's book, which devotes a chapter to the problems with NSAIDs like Motrin.
I've switched to an acetaminophen which gets Neel's seal of approval.
Azilect, 5-HTP and Me
This was probably my most important lesson of the week. But since I've often touted 5-HTP, I don't want to bury that lesson here. So I'll post a separate piece about it on Monday.
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