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To help consumers avoid potential problems when taking prescription or nonprescription medicines, the Washington-based Council on Family Health, in partnership with the Food and pda, interactions, has released an update of its free consumer guide, "Drug Interactions: What You Should Know."
To help consumers avoid potential problems when taking prescription or nonprescription medicines, the Washington-based Council on Family Health, in partnership with the Food and Drug Administration and the Washington-based National Consumers League, has released an update of its free consumer guide, "Drug Interactions: What You Should Know."
The guide, first published in 1994, describes the different types of drug interactions, includes questions to ask healthcare professionals, and stresses the importance of reading medicine labels and package inserts where such warning information is outlined. The pamphlet also contains a chart of drug interaction warnings for some common nonprescription products.
"You can have an interaction with a drug you have been taking if you add another medicine, dietary supplement, or even certain foods or beverages," said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Some medicines can even interact with certain medical conditions you may have, such as high blood pressure."
The guide also contains information about drug interactions that could impair the user's ability to drive a car. "Mixing a sedative with some allergy medicines can slow your reactions, making it unwise to drive," said Woodcock. "Likewise, mixing medicines with alcohol could also cause an unwanted reaction."
The updated pamphlet also warns consumers about the potential dangers presented by label changes.
"Always read the medicine label and find out as much as you can about the medicines you are taking," said NCL President Linda Golodner. "Talk to your health professionals about all drugs - both prescription and nonprescription - and dietary supplements you take and make sure they won't interact with each other."
"Remember, information can and does change on the medicine label. Ingredients in products also can change, so read the medicine label the first time and every time you use a medicine," added Robert Donovan, president of the CFH. "If you have questions about possible drug interactions, ask your healthcare professional."
Bulk copies of the guide can be ordered through the CFH's Web site, www.cfhinfo.org. PR