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Over the Counter Medication and Dangerous Drug Combinations to Avoid

Updated on July 1, 2013

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. Please seek the advice of your doctor before you change your diet, exercise program, or make any other lifestyle change.

Accidental Drug Overdose

From 1999 to 2004 accidental overdoses nearly doubled. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), they were the 2nd leading cause of accidental deaths in the Unites States behind car accidents. The CDC has proclaimed that the higher use of prescription drugs has led to the extraordinary rise in accidental overdose cases.

Many of us stereotype drug users to live in urban areas and use hard, illegal drugs. That is not always the case, especially regarding the use of prescription drugs. The growing prescription drug abuse epidemic is mainly in suburban, white, middle class areas, and many of them are dangerous to mix. For example, sedatives should not be combined with any other sedatives unless prescribed by the same doctor.

Source

Keep a List of Your Medications

In the case of an emergency, it is always helpful to have a laminated card with the prescription drugs, over the counter drugs (OTC), vitamins, minerals and herbs you take on a regular basis. Having this card could save your life, and will be a tremendous asset to your medical chart in each of your doctors’ offices.

Line up all your medicines and supplements, write down dosage, how often you take them and the date you started taking them. Print off the list from your computer, or write legibly on a business card sized piece of cardboard. Laminate your list so that it stays clean and legible, and don’t forget to update as needed.

If you run out of room, feel free to use both sides of the card, or print a whole sheet to carry with you at all times. You just never know when you are going to need that card (or sheet) to save your life. Anything can happen, and it's always better to be prepared.

Portable Drug Card Example

(click column header to sort results)
DRUG SUPPLEMENT  
DOSE  
MEAS  
X PER DAY  
BEGAN  
PRESCRIBING DOCTOR  
REASON  
Xanax
1
mg
2
02/02/11
S. Jones, MD
Anxiety
Celexa
20
mg
2
02/02/11
S. Jones, MD
Depression
Ultram
5
mg
as need
02/02/11
S. Jones, MD
Back Pain
Flonase
2
sprays
1
02/08/11
K. Smith, DO
Allergies
Claritin
10
mg
1
02/08/11
K. Smith, DO
Allergies
Aspirin
81
mg
1
04/18/12
S. Jones, MD
Heart Health
Multi Vitamin
1
womens
1
04/18/12
S. Jones, MD
General Health
Vitamin D
1000
IU
3
04/18/12
S. Jones, MD
Women's Health
Calcium
500
mg
3
04/18/12
S. Jones, MD
Women's Health
Fish Oil
1000
mg
3
04/18/12
S. Jones, MD
Heart Health

Research Your Medications

Doctors and Pharmacists are people too. They are human, which means mistakes can be made. Granted, mistakes are extremely few and far between. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to do your own research when prescribed a new drug.

  • Ask your doctor exactly what the medication is for and about the possible side effects
  • Read the pharmacy pamphlet once your prescription is filled before you leave the pharmacy so that you may ask the pharmacist if you have any concerns
  • Visit the internet to check (for a third time) the benefits and dangers of the prescribed drug (the most reliable links are WebMD.com and MayoClinic.com)
  • Ask a personally known healthcare professional, if you know one (I have 3 nurses in my family, all in different fields)

Vitamins

Source

How Some Vitamins and Herbs can Affect Medication

Another reason for you to always carry a list of your medications, vitamins and herbs are to inform any emergency personnel of what is already in your body. Herbs, vitamins, minerals, if taken in large quantities can be hazardous at a minimum. Check for compatibility with your medications through doctor and online at one of the above mentioned websites.

It is also important to know which vitamins are water soluble and which are fat soluble. Usually the oily vitamins are fat soluble, and those are the vitamins you REALLY need to watch. For example, Vitamin C will absorb into your body and any excess will be expelled when you urinate. However, Vitamin E is fat soluble and will remain in your system. Too much Vitamin E could cause a stroke or bleeding in the brain. NEVER take more than 400 IUs per day unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. High Calcium and Vitamin D levels can cause kidney and liver disease, yet is extremely important to have in our bodies (especially menopausal women). Please consult your doctor for your personal recommended amount.

Herbs may interfere with your medications as well. For example, St. John's Wort, a terrific, natural mood enhancer, may interfere with anti-depressants, inhibitors for HIV, birth control, and some Asthma inhalants. Once again, please check with your doctor if you are taking prescription or OTC medications and you decide to try herbs.

Many Different Kinds of Medications You Should be Familiar With

 
 
PAIN KILLERS
Brand Name:
Oxycodone/Acetaminophen
Percocet or Tylox
Oxycodone/Aspirin
Percodan or Endodan
Oxycodone-time released)
Oxycontin
Hydrocodone/Acetamin.
Vicodin, Lortab, or Lorcet
Hydrocodone/Ibuprofen
Vicoprofen
Morphine (opiate)
MSContin, Kapinol or Roxanol
Hydromorphone, a derivative of Morphine
Dilaudid or Palladone
Tramadol (weak opioid & SSRI)
Ultram or Tramal
 
 
(OTC) Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs:
Brand Name:
Ibuprophen
Advil, Motrin
Aspirin
Bayer, Bufferin or BC Powder
Naproxen
Aleve, Anaproxen
**Acetaminophen is NOT a NSAID:
Tylenol
 
 
NERVE PAIN KILLERS
Brand Name:
Anti-Convulsants:
 
Carbamazepine
Tegretol, Valprocic Acid
Felbamate
Felbatol
Clonazepam
Klonopin
Phenytoin
Dilantin
Gabapentin
Neurontin
Anti-Depressants (TCA's)
Elavil, anafranil, Adapin, Tofranil, Surmontil

Be Healthy!

Source

Thank you for your interest in my writing. I certainly hope this article was helpful and brought a new light to the subject of safety. I like to learn from others, as well, so please say what you would like to in the comments section; and I ask that you remain professional when doing so.

"Be kind to one another" ~ Ellen

God Bless You ~ Margaret Sullivan

More Drugs to Look at:

 
 
ANTI-ANXIETY
Brand Name:
Benzodiazepines:
 
Alprazolam
Xanax
Clonazepam
Klonopin
Lorazepam
Ativan
Diazepam
Valium
Buspirone
Buspar
Chlordiazepoxide
Librium
 
 
ANTI-DEPRESSANTS
Brand Name:
Inhibitors and other mental health drugs:
 
(SSRI) selective serotonin reuptake
Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac. Lexapro, Paxil
(SNRI) serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake
Pristiq, Cymbalta, Ixel, Effexor
(NRI) noradrenaline reuptake
Bupropion, Wellbutrin, Zyban
(TCA) tetracyclic antidepressants
Elavil, anafranil, Adapin, Tofranil, Surmontil
(TeCA) tetracyclic antidepressants
Norpramin, Pamelor, Aventyl, Vivactil
(MAOI) monoamine oxidase
Marplan, Auorix, Nardil, Eldepryl, Parnate
Augmenter drugs/Psychostimulants:
Adderall, Ritalin, Provigil, Alertec, Lithium
 
 
MUSCLE RELAXERS
Brand Name:
Cyclobenzeprine
Flexeril
Carisoprodol
Soma, Rela, Vanadom
Metaxalone
Skelaxin
 
 

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    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Absolutely! I'm glad this was helpful to you. I also have a hub on Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency.

      Thank you so much for commenting! I hope you are feeling good soon.

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks for this information! I'm particularly interested in those "must have" calcium and D3 tablets considering I no take Boniva. I believe 2000mg/day is the most you can safely take for Calcium, and under 10,000 mg/day for vitamin D. Cheers and be well.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you, Nare! I'm glad you found it useful!

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      This is so useful Mmargie1966, I will try to remember :) Thanks for sharing this well written hub!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you TW! I'm glad you found it helpful.

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      What a great topic for a hub. I can't imagine having to juggle so many medications at the same time and have to worry about complications with other foods and vitamins. This is a helpful guide!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you, Michael. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for commenting.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thanks so much, Doc! That really means a lot coming from you!

    • Michael J Rapp profile image

      Michael J Rapp 5 years ago from United States

      Yikes! Good advice here. And a good reason to make sure your doctor always knows what other meds you are taking, even over the counter.

    • TahoeDoc profile image

      TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California

      Great job! There are so many potential drug interactions that the more drugs you take, the more important it is to keep a current, updated log. I love the portable medication card idea. This should be in a person's wallet or purse all the time.

      It makes it so much easier for everyone in so many situations- routine and emergent.

      Don't forget to take the drug list- with prescription AND non-prescription medications AND herbal supplements to all doctor's appointments and to any surgery that you have scheduled too.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Why thank you for your kind words, summerberrie! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. If it helps only 1 person, it was worth the research and the work!

      I appreciate your comment.

    • profile image

      summerberrie 5 years ago

      Mmargie1966, great resource! A lot of people are not aware how herb supplements can effect medications. Thanks for sharing in such a well organized and useful way!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you, Marcy! That really means so much! Actually, I was a caretaker of my late husband who had many, many health issues. I made a card for him to carry when we went to any doctor (he had several). It was quite helpful.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Your suggestion to keep a list of medications you take can save lives - so often, people go to more than one doctor and the two providers (or more) don't realize the total number or types of meds being taken. This can be very dangerous, and can also lead to prescription additions. And, as you mentioned, OTC drugs can add to the issues!

      Outstanding hub - voted up and up!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Wow! That is scary...I'm glad she's okay now.

      Thank you for your vote and thanks again for sharing!

    • algarveview profile image

      Joana e Bruno 5 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

      Hello, great hub with lots of useful information. I actually had a friend that took 2 kinds of pills that weren't suppose to be taken together and she had severe liver problems, she was at the hospital for almost 3 weeks and the pills were just the kind you can buy at the drugstore with no prescription, so... Voted up and useful and sharing!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thanks for your comment, rasta! I appreciate your input.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Very educational piece. Even though i don't use tablets, it is nice to know this information.

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