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Published on October 07, 2016

Speak up about all medicines

Here’s something you need to do if you take prescription medicine— and it might surprise you: Tell your doctor about every over-the-counter (OTC) drug you take. No exceptions.

pillsOTC medicines might seem totally safe. After all, you can use them without a doctor’s OK.

“But they can interact with your prescription medicine,” says John Truitt, Safety Compliance Officer, Mercy Home Health. “And they can change how your medicine works.”

These drug interactions can be dangerous. They may make your prescription medicine less effective—or keep it from working at all. In some cases, they might even cause severe side effects, such as a lot of bleeding or a big drop in blood pressure.

So keep your doctor up-to-date on your OTC medicine, especially if he or she is prescribing a new drug. And follow these tips too:

Be complete. Tell your doctor about any vitamins or supplements you take. They can also interact with your prescription medicine, in addition to other OTC drugs.

Check first. Before you take a new OTC drug, ask your doctor if it’s safe to use with any medicine or supplements you take.

Always read labels. That goes for both OTC and prescription drugs. And look specifically for any warnings about drug interactions.

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