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As you age, your health needs may change and you may require more, or different, medications to maintain your sense of well-being. With age, however, you may find that you've become more sensitive to certain medications. In addition, some medications, when combined with each other or when taken inappropriately, may put you at risk. Please consult your doctor about ail the medications you are taking. You should always consult your doctor and/or pharmacist about:

Mixing prescription drugs with over-the-counter products and/or natural products

Consuming multiple prescriptions or a combination of drugs and over-the-counter products (even tylenol or aspirin) or natural products may produce undesirable effects. The combination of remedies may cancel the benefit of one another. They may also place your health at risk.

Mixing drugs with alcohol.

Mixing alcohol and medications can be dangerous. Side effects may include dizziness, fainting, confusion, drowsiness and poor coordination. More serious side effects, including death, also are possible.

Mixing drugs with food.

Some medications must be taken on an empty stomach while others should be taken with food. Follow your prescription exactly and check with your pharmacist and your doctor to obtain the most up-to-date information about these interactions.

Stay Healthy Tips - To Reduce Medication Interactions

  1. Know why you are taking your medications.
  2. Ask for up-to-date information about your medications.
  3. Keep track of when you need to take your medications.
  4. Dispose of expired medications.
  5. Have one doctor or pharmacist coordinate your medications.
  6. Tell your doctor if you experience any unpleasant symptoms after taking new medication or after taking one for a while.
  7. Advise your doctor of medications you routinely take, including herbal remedies, vitamin supplements and non-prescription drugs.
  8. Tell your doctor if you follow a special or restricted diet (i.e. high sodium, high sodium and calcium). This may affect the type or brand of drugs prescribed to you.
  9. Always take your medicine at the time, and in the manner, prescribed. Taking too much or stopping too soon can be dangerous.
  10. At medical check-ups, review your medications, life-style and dietary habits. Your medication doses may need to be changed.

The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the official views of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). VAC is not responsible for errors or any consequences arising from the use of the information

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