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10 important questions to ask your doctor before taking prescription drugs

What if you miss a dose? Are there any foods to avoid? Here are the key questions you need to ask your doctor before you start taking the medicine. Writes about it The Healthy.

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Prescription drugs work best if you take them as intended. Although the instructions that came with the medicine are helpful and necessary, they may not answer all your questions. That is why it is also important to conduct your own examination. Here are some questions you should ask your doctor and pharmacist before taking prescription drugs.

Should I avoid certain foods while taking medication?

There are some interactions between food and medicine. For example, milk can interfere with some antibiotics, bananas and other foods high in potassium should be avoided if you are taking high blood pressure medications or diuretics to retain excess fluid. “Eating foods high in potassium can increase your risk of irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations as they increase the amount of potassium in your body,” says Jeremy Allen, MD, medical director for American Family Care in Birmingham, Alabama. Other notable interactions include grapefruit juice with statins and vitamin K or cranberry overload with blood thinners such as warfarin.

Can I have a glass of wine when I take medicine?

Drinking alcohol will increase the side effects of certain medications. For example, you may feel sleepy if you drink wine and take allergy medications. Tyramine, a compound found in many alcoholic beverages as a result of the fermentation process, can cause a sudden, unsafe increase in blood pressure if you are taking medications such as antibiotics, antipsychotics, antifungals, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). “For some antibiotics and antifungal drugs, drinking alcohol can also cause nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, hot flashes and headaches,” says Dr. Allen.

I vomited. Do I need to take another dose or wait?

“If you vomit within 15 minutes of taking the medication, you should definitely take another dose as it probably hasn't been digested yet,” Dr. Allen recommends. If more than an hour or two have passed, your medication has probably already gone through your stomach, so you can wait until it's time to take your next dose. However, you should call your doctor if you are unsure because the risk of missing a dose may outweigh the risk of having additional drugs in your blood.

How long will it take me to feel the effect?

Improving your well-being may take longer than you expect, depending on your condition and medication. Some drugs pass directly from your digestive system into the bloodstream, while others must first pass through the liver.

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"The drug usually enters your bloodstream no later than eight hours after you take it, but in some cases it reaches peak levels in your blood after just 30 minutes," says Dr. Allen. If you are taking temporary medications, they are designed to dissolve slowly and keep medication levels stable throughout the day. You should begin to feel the effects of your medication within the first six to eight hours, but long-term use may be required to significantly change your condition.

Can I crush pills to make them easier to swallow?

Not only do children hate to swallow pills, some adults find it simply impossible to swallow a pill. In most cases, you can crush the tablet and mix it with apple sauce or pudding, but Dr. Allen says that this approach can lead to an overdose of the drug due to the huge instant portion or irritation of the gastric mucosa.

Do I have to complete a full course of medication?

It depends on the type of condition you have, according to Mark I. Leavey, MD, a primary care specialist. If you are taking pain relief medications and the pain goes away, you can probably stop taking the pills, unless that is the only thing that controls the pain. However, if you are taking antibiotics to treat the infection, stick with the course. "Residual bacteria can persist despite the invasion of antibiotics, and they will multiply if the medication is stopped too early," warns Dr. Livi.

Will dietary supplements and herbs conflict with medicines?

Herbs and nutritional supplements have been used for hundreds of years to prevent and fight disease, but these all-natural foods can be dangerous when mixed with prescription drugs. “Certain vitamins and herbs can interact with certain medications, which can change how the drug works or can cause dangerous side effects,” said Jamie Chan, executive director of pharmacy quality and drug safety at Kaiser Permanente.

It is important that you tell your doctor about everything you take. Your doctor and pharmacist will have the opportunity to test interactions and avoid the conflict of supplements, herbs or vitamins with medicines.

Should I take probiotics when I take antibiotics?

If you've ever had unpleasant side effects when taking antibiotics, such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or fungal infection, then you know how hard it is to be sick and have these symptoms, among other things. Kent Holtorf, MD, medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group, invites patients to take probiotics.

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“When taking antibiotics, higher doses of probiotics are required because the composition of bacteria in the gut is a competition. When antibiotics kill some of the good bacteria, other bad bacteria can appear, says Dr. Holtorf. "It's best to keep the gap between probiotic and antibiotic as long as possible."

To take twice a day is to take every 12 hours or in the morning and before bedtime?

Even in hospitals, breakfast and dinner are common practice, according to Dr. Livi. “It probably never hurts to be more accurate, but using less accurate twice a day instead of every 12 hours can lead to the wrong dosage of some medications,” says Dr. Leavey. If the drugs leave your bloodstream completely, it can change your treatment. Of course, this is a general rule of thumb, so it's best to ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Will a generic be as effective as a well-known brand?

Being sick and paying incredible prescription prices is a double whammy. But it's worth considering whether cheaper generics will be as effective as a trusted brand? According to Chan, the FDA requires generic drugs to work in the same way as brand name drugs. Dr. Leavey agrees. “There may be differences in how the pills or capsules are made, and this can lead to individual changes, but there won't be much of a problem,” says Leavey. Your doctor will be sure to advise you on which generic to choose.

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