By knowing these warning signs, you can avoid a dangerous drug interaction. Don’t put yourself at risk for taking too many prescriptions.
Some of us regularly take prescription drugs for chronic conditions: diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, you name it. These prescribed drugs are intended to treat conditions, but they can also cause some side effects and additional health concerns, especially if you are taking several different prescriptions simultaneously. If you see yourself in this last sentence, it’s important to schedule an appointment for a medication checkup to determine which drugs are still necessary and which can be left on the shelf, so you won’t affect your health.
1 - Access to good health care
Just by being a patient with good insurance may put you at risk for over-prescribing. Prescription drugs are designed to heal or at least manage long-term health issues, but some people are at risk of what is known as polypharmacy (taking multiple medications), and over-the-counter medications, plus supplements.
It’s very common for patients to get prescriptions they don’t need, or two, three or even more pills in their regimen that are interacting in dangerous ways without realizing it. “It is not uncommon for patients to be on multiple medications from multiple doctors at one time,” says Pawan Grover, MD, a spine specialist in Houston. “This is dangerous because we don’t know the complex interactions and side effects of so many drugs.”
2 - You recently developed new symptoms
One of the potential signs that someone may be taking too many medications is the onset of new symptoms they may not have experienced in the past, says Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, attending physician, Internal Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “Taking a large number of different medications comes with the risk of dangerous interactions,” she explains. “These drug-to-drug interactions may lead to a host of various symptoms such as weakness, cognitive changes, gastrointestinal upset, heart palpitations, and even skin problems. The symptoms are really based upon the specific drug interaction if one exists.” This means the side effects or the symptoms of taking too many medications depends on what type of drugs are being mixed at the moment. You should always ask these questions before taking prescription medications, so you can be prepared and safer while taking them.
3 - Seeing several doctors
Most patients assume that their doctors are in direct constant communication with each other and coordinating their care, but that is just simply not the the case. For example the family doctor may give you a medication then when you visit the GI and you did not tell
them about the new medication they could be harmful to each other.