Statistics vary, but it is estimated that the average American fills approximately 12 prescriptions each year. This does not include dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications. "The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that adverse drug events (ADEs) result in more than 770,000 injuries and deaths each year," explains Joe Voelkel, R Ph, Corporate Director of Retail Pharmacy, Barnabas Health. "By understanding the risks and taking a few precautions, you can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing a dangerous interaction."
According to the Food and Drug Administration, there are three types of drug interactions that may occur:
- Drug-food interaction can result from ingesting foods or beverages, such as alcohol.
- Drug-drug interaction results when two or more medications interact with each other and cause an unexpected side effect.
- Drug-condition interaction may occur when an existing medical condition makes certain drugs harmful.
Pharmacists at Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacies offer the following suggestions to help individuals avoid potentially dangerous ADEs.
- Pick a pharmacy. Filling all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy allows the pharmacist to keep records of the medications you are taking and identify any potential risks for interactions.
- Communicate. Each time you visit a doctor, it is essential that you share with him/her a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking. It is also important that your pharmacist has this information. And, when prescribed something new, be sure to ask questions about foods or beverages that should be avoided.
- Pay attention to labels. When a prescription is filled, the pharmacy will include a label that has dosage instructions as well as precautions listed. Following these instructions helps to reduce the chances of an interaction or side effect. For example, if the label indicates you should drink a full glass of water or eat before taking the medication, be sure to do so. Over-the-counter drugs and some dietary supplements may also offer instructions. If you are unsure, consult with your pharmacist or physician.
- Never share medication. Taking someone else's medication or sharing your own with a friend or family member has the potential to result in dangerous side effects.
Taking Multiple Medications Daily? Barnabas Health Home Care Can Help
Medications are an important part of your health maintenance program. They can manage symptoms, cure disease, control pain and/or prevent serious complications related to chronic illness. In addition to your doctor, nurse and pharmacist, you and your loved ones play an important role in ensuring accurate and safe medication practices.
Individuals taking four or more prescription and/or over-the-counter medications each day can benefit from the Barnabas Health Home Care Medication Management Program. Participants in the program collaborate with a Registered Nurse from Barnabas Health Home Care to review their medication regimen to avoid medication errors and dangerous drug interactions and to ensure proper administration. For more information, call 973-243-9666 (northern NJ) or 732-818-6800 (Ocean County).
About Barnabas Health Home Care Barnabas Health Home Care offers patients the ability to recover from a serious illness or manage continued health needs in the place where they are most comfortable – their home. Our professionals work closely with each individual's health care team to ensure recovery and/or wellness goals are being met. Through patient and family education and communication, Home Care staff members become partners in each patient's health care plan to ensure the illness and treatment plan are fully understood and to encourage and coach compliance. Our programs, which serve patients of all ages, focus on assisting the individual in achieving and maintaining the highest level of wellness and independence. For more information, please visit www.homehealthnj.com.
About Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacies Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacies are conveniently located on site at Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark. They offer fast, convenient, quality prescription services to inpatients, outpatients and community members. For more information about Barnabas Health Retail Pharmacies, visit www.barnabashealth.org/retailpharmacies