Usually prescription drugs safely treat what ails us, but the wrong combination may cause harm. Example: Jody’s treatment for her stomach ulcer (i.e., an erosion in the stomach that can bleed). After a minor ankle injury, another doctor prescribes ibuprofen for Jody’s pain–unaware of her ulcer. Ibuprofen will relieve Jody’s ankle pain but also increase the risk of Jody’s stomach ulcer bleeding, making this a potentially dangerous combination.
The situation is more common than you may think. Many of us visit several providers at one time–cardiologists for heart conditions, internists or gastroenterologists for ulcers, and family doctors for the sniffles. Trouble is, one provider may not know about the prescriptions another provider writes for the same patient.
To reduce your chances of having drug-related problems, inform your doctors and specialists about any drugs you take (including prescriptions, over-the-counter remedies, and alternative medicines such as nutritional supplements, herbal extracts, or vitamins). [Taken from “RationalMed” in The Edge, American Medical Security, May 1999 Bulletin, Page 3.] (Excerpts taken from “Generic Drugs” by Bridget Kennebeck in “Geico Direct,” Fall 1998).
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