Are My Prescription Medications Safe to Take?

Are My Prescription Medications Safe to Take?The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extensively evaluates prescription medications before approving them for use. Medications are only approved when their adverse effects are expected to be less severe than the benefits they offer, but the FDA’s approval does not ensure that medications cannot cause harm. To safeguard your health while using, you must inform your doctor of all medications you take, and you must adhere to each prescription’s guidelines. In doing so, you may save your life.

Dangers of Multiple Prescriptions

The danger of multiple medications depends upon how users take these drugs. One person may take a medication and experience only therapeutic benefits, while another patient may suffer from the same drug. The following variables can cause these different results:

  • Individual characteristics – Different people are more susceptible to effects from medications, and some drugs can even cause allergic reactions
  • Addictions – Opiate painkillers and some anti-anxiety drugs are addictive, so using them as prescribed becomes paramount
  • Combinations – Taking multiple drugs simultaneously can create dangerous effects
  • Alcohol – Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as opiates and sedatives, dangerously compound the effects of alcohol, especially on breathing and circulation. In fact, breathing may stop altogether when users combine these drugs.
  • Doctor errors – Doctors may err as they prescribe drugs, especially if they do not know all of the drugs a patient takes

Medications are not necessarily tested to ensure they are safe under these circumstances, so talk with your doctor before you take any drug.

Caution with Prescription Drug Combinations

Although drug combinations can be dangerous, you may be prescribed a combination of medications to treat multiple issues. For instance, patients who suffer violent and traumatic events may be prescribed multiple medications for pain and psychological distress. Opiate painkillers may calm pain, and sedatives may treat anxiety, but both of these drugs are CNS depressants, so patients must take extra care to avoid dangerous interactions. Seek prescriptions for these drugs from only one doctor, because this helps the doctor make safe recommendations for dosage. Prescriptions from two doctors can mean trouble, but you can avoid it by informing your doctors about other medications you take.

How to Take Multiple Medications Safely

To take multiple medications safely, adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Clear up any questions about dose and schedule instructions by asking your doctor or pharmacist
  • Dispose of any leftover medications
  • Recognize an overdose – Symptoms of overdose, which vary between drugs, may be as subtle as a loss of coordination or as dramatic as a loss of consciousness
  • Communicate with your doctor – Your symptoms and the medications’ effects can change quickly, so talk to your doctor about anything new or unexpected

Vigilance with medications can help keep you safe.

Help for Multiple Medication Addictions

If you or someone you know has problems with overdose or multiple medication addiction, call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline to learn more about treatment options. Recovery is possible with the right help.

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