Archive for the ‘Prescription Drug’ Category

10 Things You Should Know About Medicare Part D

October 20, 2015

1. What is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part
D is optional, prescription drug coverage. It helps pay for out-patient
prescribed medications. Part D is sold by private companies that are
approved by Medicare.

2. Am I eligible for Part D Coverage?

If
you have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, you are eligible to get
prescription drug coverage through an individual policy or as part of a
Medicare Advantage plan.

3. Do I need prescription drug coverage?

If
you have original Medicare (Part A and Part B) or a Medicare Advantage
plan that does not include drug coverage, you should get a Part D
prescription drug coverage policy when you are first eligible – even if
you don’t take a lot of medications.

Unfortunately, our health is
not guaranteed. As we age, it’s likely that we will have an increased
need for prescription medications. Prescriptions are very expensive –
expensive enough that prescription drug coverage probably makes sense.

Again,
don’t wait. If you wait to get coverage, you will have to pay a
penalty, which results in a permanent increase in your monthly premium.

4. How much will I pay?

The
amount you will pay for your premiums and your medications will vary,
oftentimes dramatically, from plan to plan. Here’s a look at the typical
expenses you will have:

  • Monthly Premium: Nationally, the average Part D
    premium is $31.92 per month, but varies from company to company and plan
    to plan. Part D prescription drug coverage is not standardized. There
    are plans that offer significantly more coverage with fewer
    out-of-pocket expenses, but these plans will have a higher premium.
    Others will offer less coverage for a lower premium. You choose which
    plan makes sense for you.
  • Deductible: Some Part D plans have a yearly deductible, which is currently limited to $310.
  • Copayments/Coinsurance: Most plans include some
    form of cost-sharing through copayments or coinsurance for each
    prescription you have filled. Typically, copayments are a flat rate and
    coinsurance is a percentage of the prescription’s cost. You will most
    likely pay less for generic drugs and significantly more for brand-name
    and specialty medications.

5. What is the Donut Hole?

Most
Part D plans have a coverage gap, which is referred to as the donut
hole. After you’ve spent a certain amount ($2,830 in 2010), you must pay
all of your own drug costs until you hit the catastrophic limit ($4,550
in 2010). Once you reach the catastrophic limit, most plans will cover
the majority of the drug costs you incur within that calendar year.
There are some plans that offer some sort of coverage in the donut hole.
However, these plans are more expensive.

Your deductible,
coinsurance and copayments count towards the $4,550 limit, but your
monthly premiums do not. In 2010, if you have expenses in the donut
hole, Medicare will send you a one-time tax-free $250 rebate if you’re
not already receiving Medicare Extra Help. In 2011, you will receive a
50 percent discount on brand name prescription drugs once you hit the
donut hole (if you’re not receiving Extra Help).

6. What pharmacies will I be able to use?

Typically,
each prescription drug plan will have a network of pharmacies that you
will be required to use. Making sure that you can use a pharmacy that is
convenient for you is an important consideration when you’re evaluating
Medicare Part D plans.

7. Will my prescriptions be covered?

Each plan has its own formulary, which is a list of prescription drugs it covers. You can use the Formulary Finder to find plans that will match the medications you are currently taking.

Many
plans will categorize drugs into tiers with a different price points.
For example, generic drugs may be categorized as Tier 1, while
non-preferred brand name drugs may be considered Tier 3. The tiers are
not standardized, so a particular drug may be considered a Tier 2 drug
on one plan and Tier 3 on another plan. If a plan you’re considering
uses a tier system, it’s important that you know which tier your
prescriptions are in so you can effectively evaluate your potential
expenses.

Your plan could also include Step Therapy. If
it does, you may initially be prescribed a similar, but cheaper
medication. If that medication doesn’t work effectively, you will be
“stepped up” to the more expensive drug. There may also be quantity
limits on how much medication you can receive at one time.

Some
categories of drugs are excluded. These drugs include prescription taken
to gain or lose weight, promote fertility, increase hair growth, or for
cosmetic purposes. In-patient drugs, Barbiturates (sleeping pills),
Benzodiazepines (central nervous system depressants), drugs for the
symptomatic relief of cough and colds, prescription vitamins and drugs
(except pre-natal vitamins and fluoride preparations) are also excluded.

8. What if I have coverage through an employer or union?

If you have coverage that is at least as good as or better than Medicare’s standard prescription drug coverage, it may count as creditable prescription drug coverage.
If it does, you should be able to enroll in Medicare Part D plan at a
later date without incurring a penalty. Your best bet is to contact your
benefit administrator before you make any changes to your coverage.

9. When should I join a Part D Plan?

Your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period is the best time to sign-up. If you don’t join when you’re first eligible, you can enroll in the Part D Open Enrollment Period,
which is from November 15th to December 31st each year. Unless you have
had other creditable prescription drug coverage, you may have to pay a
late penalty if you fail to sign-up when you’re first eligible. This
penalty is typically a permanent increase in your premium.

10. Will I be able to switch plans?

You
will be able to switch plans between November 15th and December 31st of
each year. You do not have to notify your current drug plan that you
are switching plans; your old coverage will end when your new coverage
begins.

No statement in this article should be construed as a
recommendation to buy or sell a security or to provide investment advice
unless specifically stated as such. All investments involve risk
including possible loss of principal.

Top Five Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

October 12, 2015

Drug and alcohol addiction plagues numerous Americans. One of the
most recent addictions many Americans face today is to prescription
drugs. The harsher reality of prescription drug addiction is that most
Americans do not realize they are suffering from an addiction until it
is too late. If there is a belief that either you or someone you know
may be afflicted with this dependence, here are the top five signs of
prescription drug addiction which may help to confirm any assumption:

Increase in prescription drug use

One
of the most tell-tale signs of prescription drug dependency is an
escalation in use. The drugs they are taking are no longer working as
effectively, so they may increase the dose without first consulting a
doctor. If you notice that you or someone else you know is becoming more
tolerant of the drugs they are taking and require a larger dose, then
that is a sign that they may have a dependency.

Personality change

A
common side effect of prescription drug abuse is a change in overall
personality. The afflicted may isolate themselves from loved ones or
withdraw from social interaction entirely. Most addicted persons are
embarrassed of their dependence and do not want their peers to judge
them for it. Sometimes the addicted may find solace in his or her drug
use and would prefer to do it alone.

Creating excuses to fill more prescriptions

Those
that are addicted to prescription drugs are conscious of the fact that
in order to obtain more drugs, they must either get a prescription, or
find a seedier method such as a drug dealer. Most addicted persons will
complain of additional ailments to gain more prescriptions. Some may
fill prescriptions at other pharmacies, traveling great lengths to get
their medications.

Forgetfulness

Most people with a
drug dependency will show the negative side effects of the medication
they are on fairly quickly, and more noticeably, with abuse. One of the
most common side effects of popular prescription drug brands is fatigue.
Someone who is addicted to these drugs is more likely to be
increasingly absentminded and inattentive given his or her lethargy.

Defensiveness

This
being one of the most common signs, defensiveness from the assumed
addict can indicate a dependency, especially if they are also suffering
from the aforementioned signs. A common addict will dispute any claim of
reliance on his or her prescription medications and may lash out at his
or her accuser.

Buy Prescription Drugs Online But Beware of Online Fake Pharmacy Sites!

September 28, 2015

Switch on your PC or laptop, get online, open a pharmacy site,
place an order by clicking on the required medicines and you are done.
The process to buy prescription drugs online is that easy! However, have
you ever wondered that there are many pharmacy sites out there on
internet, which expect you to follow exactly those same steps as
described above? There are abundant of people who buy prescription drugs
in this way only. Of course, the net gives you the opportunity to buy
prescription drugs in an easy, simple, comfortable and convenient manner
but you should always use your common sense and intelligence while
buying medicines online. After all, purchasing medicines is not just
about anything, it is about your health, your most important asset.

Now many of you might be wondering that what the
harm is in following the easy steps, as described initially, to buy
prescription drugs online. Well, there is harm if you do not check
things at your own and buy prescription drugs online in hurry. Many
deceptive pharmacy sites wait for innocent customers to fall prey to
them. These pharmacy sites do not ask for any prescription from the
patient. They also do not require any patient information before
supplying medicines to him. You can very well understand that why these
sites do so? In fact, these fake pharmacy sites do not have any license
for doing business online. They are also devoid of any licensed
physician. So if they ask about patient information or prescription from
the patient, they do not have anybody to assess such information and
check whether the prescription is appropriate or not. Moreover, it is a
simple fact that why these internet pharmacy sites do not have licensed
physician or a valid license. In fact, such sites are not bothered about
your health or physical condition. They do not care about your precious
time or money. All they want is just money by any means and that is why
they expect and hope innocent customers to buy prescription drugs
without inquiring about anything.

If
you too are planning to buy prescription drugs online, check well about
the legitimacy of the online pharmacy that you are dealing with.
Finding licensed and reputed online pharmacy sites is a little difficult
but possible procedure. However, if you want to buy prescription drugs
online and do not have ample time to search for licensed online
pharmacies online, you can take help of online prescription drug guides.
These virtual guides have detailed and authentic information on
licensed online pharmacies. They also tell you about the various prices
of drugs available at different reliable online pharmacies. Therefore,
in order to buy prescription drugs safely, you need to spend ample time
on your search and find approved pharmacy sites.

How to Save Money Through Prescription Discounts

September 20, 2015

It is undeniable that medications are very expensive in nature
but with the help of prescription discounts, American citizens can
finally enjoy substantial savings. Not everyone is fortunate enough to
afford their medicines especially those who are prescribed with multiple
medications. So, this is a definitely a great help to those who are not
that financially stable.

These discounts are usually enjoyed by
seniors who have fixed incomes and find it difficult to pay for their
prescribed medications. Even those who have insurance can take advantage
of this option, particularly those who have insurance that can only
enjoy their medicine benefit until they have satisfied the deductible
which will cost them hundreds of dollars first. Once they’ve satisfied
their deductible, they can get a coverage of about 50%-80% of the cost
of their medications. That’s already a lot of money for some and this is
the right time to take advantage of discounts.

There are still
some who are still quite skeptical about this, if it’s really possible
to use discount cards even if they have an insurance. Impossible as it
may seem but yes, they can benefit from these discounts for as long as
they are aware of their insurance coverage and they are willing to do
the necessary steps.

It
is not that complicated and time-consuming to make use of discount
cards unlike what everyone thinks. They just need to use the card when
purchasing for their medications and inform the pharmacist that they
will apply the total bill to the deductible of their insurance. After
that, they need to submit a form to their insurance company, a sort of a
formal application for the deductible. As simple as that, they can
already enjoy prescription discounts.

It is highly recommended to
use discount cards while they are still young and in perfect shape
because this will greatly benefit them in the future. No one can tell
what can happen in the future and it’s not everyday they can avoid
accidents. They might end up having a huge medical debt if ever
something happens to them and they didn’t bother to satisfy their
deductible while they still can. It is better to be safe than to feel
sorry. So, the best thing they should do is use these cards and apply
the total cost of the medications they’ve purchased to their insurance.

The
bottom line here is, people with insurance will greatly benefit from
discount cards. Instead of paying for the whole price of their medicines
since they don’t have drugs benefit, they are purchasing these items at
a discounted price and the same time they are satisfying their
deductibles. They’re like hitting two birds with one stone when they use
these cards.

Prescription discounts are perfect this time of the
year since the cost of medication continuous to rise. They are already
given the means to slash the price of their medications and the only
thing they need to do is take advantage of this and do the necessary
steps to cover the cost of their medicines. If they want to save money
while purchasing prescribed medicines, then they should start using
discount cards now. The best thing about this is that they can enjoy the
benefits at present time and in the future, if ever they find
themselves in a difficult situation.

What Do I Need To Know About Drug Abuse

August 23, 2015

Abuse of prescription drugs has been a prevalent situation
nowadays. As what we regularly hear in news reports, lots of people are
getting busted for supplying addictive chemicals. This only implies that
there are really a large number of prohibited medication users that
exist here in the planet. As long as there are constant users, there
will always be avid dealers. This is the main reason why every
individual today is vulnerable to abusing drugs. And the problem with
this is that not all know how crucial drug rehabilitation is.

Abusing drugs is an avoidable thing when people may
not understand. There is no person born being hooked on drugs already.
People are facing various situations each and everyday and from such,
there the reason for the abuse comes from. To clear out our minds
regarding the factors that may lead a person to drug abuse, here are the
most prevalent:

Family Relationship Status

Loved ones
are the essential unit of the society. That means, every person comes
from a certain family. It is at home exactly where a person develops his
personality and beliefs in life. A caring and pleased family is one of
the keys to success. However, not all families are doing well.
Relationships can be damaged and it can greatly affect one’s sense of
protection. If one is not certain about his/her safety, he/she might
resort to things which can make him/her escape from the sad truth about
his family. And one of the stuff that grant temporary relief from the
huts of the reality is those addictive substances.

Schooling

School
is a location for understanding but it is also in that place wherein
problems can originate. Nobody wants to fail and instead show to
everyone how good we are. Inability to achieve school goals can bring an
individual down and eventually be enticed to try new things which can
include drug abuse and may result in drug abuse.

Drug Addiction

This
is very prevalent. Doctors may prescribe medications to handle a
certain health problems. But in some instances, patients tend to overuse
medicines especially if they feel really relieved after using them.
This will then lead them to reliance.

Peer Pressure

This
is very prevalent for teenagers. People within the ages of 12 to 18 are
the ones in danger of being influenced to try what their buddies may
provide. Their desire to develop their own identity through being part
of a group can force them to try utilizing drugs especially when the
group they are wanting to enter has drug abuser members.

Handling Substance Abuse

A
drug rehabilitation program is a very crucial thing to think about.
There’s no other way to support drug abusers get away from the condition
they are in but to go for treatment centres as they specialize on
catering the overall well-being of an abuser. Home management has a
little or no possibility of success so far better search for the help of
experts.

Consider A Few Safety Measures While Buying Prescription Drugs

August 6, 2015

With the swiftly rising medical costs, buying prescription
drugs has become a daunting task for most people. Even if there is
insurance coverage provided to the people, premiums are being raised. At
times there is a drop in the insurance coverage or it has been shifted
to high deductible plans without covering for medications. This is the
major reason why more and more people are constantly looking for cheaper
alternatives to buy prescription drugs.

One of the greatest options of buying prescription
drugs cheaper is through online pharmacies. Good news is that you can
also make price comparisons between different online stores before
making a purchase of any medication. According to the research, by
shopping in this manner to purchase prescription medications, you can
save nearly 30% to 50% of your medical costs.

As there are a
plethora of online stores present, they are all competing on prices.
This leads to great cost advantages for many customers. When you are
going to buy prescription drugs from a reputed online pharmacy, you are
offered much lower rates as well as many discount offers. In order to
buy prescription drugs from an online store is a safer, convenient and
more private way of making a purchase. This method is of course very
useful for individuals living in remote areas or is unable to travel to
pharmacies. When you buy prescription drugs from an online pharmacy,
there are numerous benefits to obtain but caution must be taken
regarding the repute of the pharmacy.

There are a few safety considerations to be made when you buy prescription drugs online:

1.
First and foremost you need to make sure that you are buying from a
reputed US licensed provider. You can also get a list of licensed online
pharmacies from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacies (NABP)
website. If a pharmacy is trustworthy and reputed it will have the
Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites

The Process of Drug Detoxification

July 25, 2015

Detoxification is generally the process of removing all toxic
substances from the body caused by addiction from drugs or alcohol.
Detoxification is done in various organs such as the lungs, kidney and
liver. Kinds of detoxification include dialysis, chelation therapy,
acupuncture and inpatient detox. Alternatives such as detox diet have
also become popular. However, these alternatives do not have a proven
effect compared to the real drug detoxification.

Drug
detoxification cleanses the body from all illicit residues that may have
been left behind inside the body. This speeds up rehabilitation and
gives a new lease on life. Examples of drug residues are phencyclidine,
diazepam, cocaine, marijuana and LSD. These chemicals stay inside the
body and it will be difficult to get rid of them unless a person
undergoes drug detoxification.

Medical specialists and qualified
nurses should be present during a drug detoxification. This is a
serious medical procedure which is why a medical practitioner should be
the one to manage the whole process. During the procedure, the patient
should stop the intake of alcohol, drugs or other chemicals. Researchers
have proven that the intake of any chemical during drug detoxification
may only worsen a person’s physical conditions. Although the effects are
relatively subtle, they can create long-term effects.

Detoxification
done in a drug detox center can be performed in several different ways,
depending on what the patient prefers in receiving the treatment. Most
centers cater detoxification for the withdrawal of drug usage.

Ideally,
reputable drug rehab centers will include the proper counseling and
therapy during the process of treatment for drug dependency because the
patient may experience emotional distress while under the process. If
chemical residues are ignored, they can remain in the person’s fatty
tissues and may be released again after a few years. The release can
trigger the addiction, and may cause the person to crave for drugs once
again.

People who enroll in a drug treatment center are asked to
prepare themselves with the procedures that they are going to
undertake. They are also asked to keep away from any drug temptation,
which may be a difficult task for someone who has abused drugs.

Drug
rehabs include regular sauna treatments, exercise regiments and
nutritional supplements in all their drug addiction treatment programs.
These activities are meant for the chemical residues that may hide
behind the fatty tissues. Illegal or Prescription drug detoxification is
a good way to getting sober and completely quitting from an addiction. A
drug treatment center helps a person become fully aware of the
consequences that addiction can bring. The withdrawal process gets
easier when the patient becomes more focused on keeping his body
healthy.

While undergoing drug detoxification, the patient will
be under medication. A usual treatment period can stretch to up to two
to three months depending on the patient’s responses. When the body of
the patient becomes used to the medicines and starts feeling the desire
to become normal once again, professional psychiatrists will then
enhance even more the determination of the patient and give him enough
mental boost and counseling.

An Overview of Rampant Teenage Drug Abuse

July 16, 2015

You are sure that your son or your daughter is not doing drugs
so you are very proud of them and as well as your upbringing. But can
you be a hundred percent sure about it? Now you are wondering what if
things are not as they seem to be! You have enough reasons to worry as
teenage drug use has become so common in the recent times compared to
what the statistics showed in the previous years. Most of the time it
stars with a simple and innocent fun at a party at a friend’s place or
in a night club, but gradually this transforms into a deadly, hideous
habit.

From cocaine to heroin, date rape drug to common
prescription drugs, all are abused. Prescription drug abuse is
surprisingly one of the major causes behind extensive drug abuse in
teenagers. Its easy availability and a misconception that it is safe
just because it has been prescribed by a doctor is the reason behind
such a disorder gaining solid grounds. There are also some other causes,
a study of which confirms its role in making vulnerable teens the
targets of addiction.

Kids
often feel left out and lonely without parental participation in their
day to day life. Lack of communication between parents and teens create a
gap between the two. This puts the parents in dark regarding the
whereabouts in their children’s life. Then again, children of addicts
are four times likely to become addicts themselves thus it can be
genetic. A troubled or broken home also might be considered to be a
cause behind teenage drug use. Kids from these families generally hang
out with the wrong crowd, kids from other broken homes because they feel
alike. Often they engage in anti social behavior which can lead to
alcoholism or drug addiction.

Parents must also be supportive of
their kids to inculcate a feeling of self worth. This will go a long way
to make the kids avoid the dodgy path of teenage drug use.
It has often been found that children from supportive and most loving
families wind up as addicts. So there are actually different factors at
play behind someone falling prey to the menace of addiction.

But
it is not enough to know the causes behind drug addiction among teens
but doing nothing about it. One of the duties of bring a responsible
parent is to talk to your kids about drug addiction and its harmful
effects. Keep a track of what is going on in their lives so that you
have an idea about their whereabouts and the people they meet. If you
happen to get hold of evidence that your kid is making an illicit use of
the drugs at home, confront them at point blank, without any
hesitation. Get help from the national institute on drug abuse programs,
counselors, teachers, family friends and doctors if required. There is
nothing to be ashamed about. We have to rein in the evils of teenage
drug use at its nascent state in order to save our sons and daughters.

Find Legal Help Today If You Believe A Prescription Drug Caused Your Child’s Omphalocele Defect

June 15, 2015

Over the years, it has become more accepted that the popular anti-depressant drug Paxil, also referred to as Paroxetine, may have been responsible for causing a tremendous amount of sadness for families. Those who took Paxil during pregnancy may have increased their risk of having a child with an omphalocele defect, and for those who did have a child with this serious birth defect after taking Paxil, there is no doubt that legal help should be sought.

Although Paxil was intended to help those who suffer from depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other psychological disorders, it seems that at least for some, this drug has caused even more suffering, but those families who have had a child with a severe birth defect which can be proven to have been caused by Paxil may be able to receive appropriate compensation via litigation; however, it should be recognized that litigation is never an easy thing to undertake, but with a skilled Paxil attorney, appropriate compensation and a sense of justice can be gained if the prescription drug Paxil really is to blame for causing these families so much pain and anguish. .

Was your son or daughter born with an omphalocele defect which you suspect may have been caused by the prescription drug Paxil (Paroxetine) and the negligence of its maker, GlaxoSmithKline? If there is a chance that your family’s suffering was caused by the drug and its maker, then there’s no doubt that you should come forward with your story. The first important step which you will need to take is to get in touch with a skilled Paxil attorney who will be able to take a look at your family’s case in order to more accurately determine whether or not litigation should be pursued. If it does appear that justice and compensation are deserved, then your attorney will surely do everything possible so that your family can gain the most appropriate compensation possible for all of the suffering experienced.

Be sure to find the legal help that your family deserves today, and if you are not sure of where to turn to for legal expertise, then you can rely on an attorney from the Law Offices of Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, PC. Get in touch with this professional and successful law firm today, or for more information regarding litigation for your child’s omphalocele or perhaps other Paxil birth defects, simply continue to browse through the rest of our website.

Paxil was manufactured as a way to treat depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and other disorders. However; it turns out that this drug can actually be more harmful than helpful, and it has been proven that this drug can cause serious side effects which lead to real suffering.

Medications Are You Taking Too Many Prescription Drugs

May 31, 2015

I recently discovered that a few of my over-40 patients appeared
to be over-medicated from a combination of prescription drugs they had
been given by different doctors. They came in complaining of not feeling
well and said that they had been taking all of their prescriptions.

When
I asked them what prescription medications they were taking, some
reeled off a long list of drugs and others would bring in all of their
pill bottles. One person was taking so many prescription drugs that they
kept them in a shoe box! I was astounded at the amount of prescription
drugs some were taking daily, often with duplicates and triplicates of
the same types of drugs. No wonder they were feeling so poorly,
complaining of things like memory loss, weakness, and stomach upsets.

Today, I’d like to talk to you about the potentially serious health risk of over-medication and how to prevent it.

How To Prevent Over-Medication

Over-medication
is commonly referred to amongst medical personnel as polypharmacy, the
taking of an excessive amount of prescription, pharmaceutical drugs. It
is actually reaching epidemic proportions in the United States today,
and it’s most common in over-65 patients. It also occurs, however, in
younger patients with multiple health conditions, including people who
may be taking over 20 different drugs a day!

A patient may unknowingly be taking several prescriptions of the same types of drugs. How is that possible? Well, here’s how.

A
new patient came to me complaining about feeling ill with symptoms that
were not related to her asthma condition. It was discovered that she
was taking 5 different drugs, when only 2 were needed She had seen a few
different doctors in the past and all had prescribed a drug for her
condition. Trying to trust her doctors and follow their orders, she had
just continued to take all of them! When we omitted the 3 extra drugs,
her symptoms and ill-feelings disappeared.

Unfortunately,
over-medication is not often discovered until a patient winds up in the
hospital from either an overdose, or when they become ill from
over-treatment, and/or side effects from taking too much of certain
drugs. Sometimes a pharmacist notes that a patient has several doctors
prescribing similar types of drugs and will alert the patient and/or
physicians.

Did you know that 1.5 million adverse drug reactions
occur in the United States every year, with thousands of them fatal?
Research has shown that over half of all those events could have been
prevented by streamlining a patient’s drugs to the actual symptoms and
effects of their specific medical condition. We’ve become, sadly, a
culture of “a pill for every ailment”. What can happen when a patient
starts complaining about possible side effects from too many drugs is
that another doctor will step in and prescribe a different medication
for the same symptoms! Pretty soon, the patient is taking a whole
arsenal of pills and not feeling any better. The answer is not to stop
telling your doctor about ill feelings from possible side effects, but
rather to better monitor the drugs you are given.

Before you end
up in a hospital from an overdose or making yourself feel worse from
taking too many medications, here are some ways to prevent from becoming
over-medicated:

Talk to your pharmacist – ask if any of the
medications you are taking could be causing certain side effects.
Pharmacists often know specific side effects and drug interactions of
specific drugs better than many doctors do. That’s their job. It is
important to tell them about any prescriptions you may have received
from another pharmacy that you are continuing to take, as they will only
know about the drugs dispensed from their pharmacy to you. This will
help rule out duplicates of the same class of drugs, i.e. drugs for
diabetes, drugs for heart condition, tranquilizer drugs, pain drugs,
etc.

Talk to your physician – ask your doctor if it is
possible to reduce the amount of drugs you are taking every day or week.
Give the physician any information obtained from your pharmacist, i.e.,
drug information sheets that should include side effects or drug
interactions. Or, have your doctor speak directly to your pharmacist
about the drugs you are taking. It is likely the two of them can work
out a more efficient pill taking regimen. Some physicians may feel
insulted that you’re asking them to work with a pharmacist on your
behalf to reduce the amount of your prescriptions and may even reprimand
you for not trusting him or her. If so, find another doctor.

Take Your Medications Correctly
– it’s not always the doctor’s fault. Some people do not take their
prescribed medications correctly or just don’t take them at all. They
continue to complain of symptoms and continue to have abnormal lab
results, but are embarrassed to tell their doctor they didn’t take their
prescriptions consistently. A doctor may then think that the drug he
prescribed to you is not working and may either increase the dosage or
give you another prescription! Be sure to follow the directions on your
prescription bottles exactly. Get a pill reminder box and fill it, or
have someone you trust, fill it every week to ensure you are taking your
medication as prescribed.

Know What Each Medication Is
it’s up to you to participate in your health care. Know what each
medication you take is for and how to take it correctly. Read the drug
information sheets that are given by your pharmacy, discuss any
questions with the pharmacist and/or your physician.

Don’t Forget OTC’s and Alternatives
– even though these agents are sold “over-the-counter” they sometimes
may interact adversely with prescription drugs or prevent them from
working. Make sure you tell your doctor about any herbal supplements,
vitamins, minerals, pain relievers, etc. For example, calcium cannot be
taken within 3-4 hours of taking thyroid hormone as it will inactivate
it. Grapefruit extract, an herbal supplement which some people take, can
also interact with and/or prevent certain drugs from working. This is
why it is important to detail everything you take.

Like some of my
patients, you may need to take several prescription medications for
various health issues that you may have. However, if you are taking a
long list of medications, there is a risk that you may be
over-medicating and you should take the time to talk to your doctor
about possibly having your personal “pharmacy” reduced to a more
effective, and safe, amount.

Mark Rosenberg, M.D.

Institute For Healthy Aging