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Things You Should Know about Drug Interactions

Published: Apr 21, 2010

The problem of medication interactions does not involve only prescription medications.  About half of harmful interactions involve over-the-counter (OTC), or nonprescription medications.  Herbal medications, supplements and vitamins—and even some foods and beverages—also interact with drugs to alter their performance.

The following are just a few examples of how nonprescription products can interact with prescription drugs for unhealthy results:

  • Taken separately, aspirin and warfarin help prevent blood clots from forming. Taken together, they may cause excessive bleeding.
  • Decongestants, found in many OTC cold remedies, may increase blood pressure of people taking anti-hypertension medications or MAO inhibitors, a type of antidepressant.
  • Certain antacids can diminish the effectiveness of many medicines, such as antibiotics and heart medications, by preventing them from being absorbed into the blood stream.

On its Web site,  BeMedWise.org provides advice on preventing drug interactions. Visit the site to learn more about safely taking medications

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