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6 steps to dodge dangerous drug interactions

/ Source: Prevention

1. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about every medication you're taking, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies.

2. Ask if a new prescription "gets along" with your current meds.

3. Read the package insert that comes with your prescription drugs--the sheet you usually toss without a glance. Common conflicts will be clearly listed under Drug Interactions.

4. Call your doctor if you experience any unexpected symptoms. Even run-of-the-mill conditions like a recurring headache or a rash can signal a drug interaction.

5. Check ingredient lists to avoid an unintentional overload if you're taking multiple over-the-counter remedies. For example, Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Medicine and Tylenol both contain acetaminophen--you shouldn't take them together. Acetaminophen is an especially big concern because it often shows up in unexpected places--and an overdose can cause serious liver damage.

6. Fill all your prescriptions at a single pharmacy, so your pharmacist will have a list of your current meds as he or she dispenses a new one.