Most Common Medication Interactions

An average Tria Health patient takes 8 prescription medications. Most older Americans take multiple medications each day for a variety of conditions. While most patients are aware of potential side effects with prescription medication, it is important to be aware of combining certain drugs and other substances. Being aware of drug interactions can help prevent serious side effects and help ensure medication effectiveness. Below are the most common medication interactions.

Types of Medication Interactions

  • Drug-Drug: There are a multitude of side effects that can occur from drug-drug interactions as there are so many possible drug combinations. Drug-drug interactions can lead to a prescription medication losing effectiveness, allowing for a disease-state to go unmanaged or it can lead to dangerous side effects like heart damage or death.
  • Drug-Food/Beverage: Certain foods can affect the medications you take but medicine can also affect how your body digests and processes food.
  • Drug-Supplement: A common misconception with supplements is just because they are natural, does not mean they are safe. Supplements can change how the body absorbs, metabolizes, or excretes drugs and influence how potent the drug is in the system.

Most Common Drug-Drug Interactions

  • Digoxin and Quinidine: Digoxin is a standard heart medication and Quinidine is used to treat heart rhythm issues. When taking both drugs at the same time, the levels of dioxin in blood plasma is known to rise, resulting is nausea, vomiting, kidney issues, and can be fatal.
  • Warfarin (Coumadin) and Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin):  Warfarin is a blood thinning medication that is used to prevent the formation of blood clots. Ibuprofen is an over the counter medication used to treat pain and fever. Ibuprofen can increase the risk of significant bleeding events for patients who take Warfarin, and this combination should only be used with the approval of your physician.
  • Clonidine and Propranolol: Both Clonidine and Propranolol are used to treat high blood pressure. Propranolol is also used to prevent migraines. These drugs combined can increase blood pressure instead of lowering it.
  • Amlodipine and Simvastatin: Amlodipine is a medication used to treat high blood pressure and Simvastatin is used to treat high cholesterol. When used together, you must limit the dose of Simvastatin due to the increased risk of side effects such as muscle pain. There are numerous other cholesterol lowering options for patients if they are on Amlodipine.

Most Common Drug-Food/Beverage Interactions

  • Chocolate: Taking MAO inhibitors like Nardil or Parnate for depression and eating chocolate can be dangerous. It may taste good, but it raises blood pressure.
  • Grapefruit: Grapefruit can interfere with certain medications, in particular statins. It can cause these drugs to be absorbed in higher amounts making them more potent, resulting in a greater risk of potential side effects.
  • Licorice: If you are taking Lanoxin (digoxin) for congestive heart failure, licorice can increase your risk of toxicity. Additionally, licorice might also reduce the effects of blood pressure medications.
  • Alcohol: With any medication, avoid alcohol as it can increase or decrease your drugs effect. Some interactions may be more serious than others. Alcohol also affects insulin or oral diabetic pills. It prolongs their effects which leads to low blood sugar.
  • Vitamin K-Rich Foods like Kale, Spinach, and Leafy Greens: Too much of this nutrient can antagonize the anti-clotting effect in blood thinning medications and prevent the drug from working.
  • Dairy: Dairy products like cheese and yogurt can decrease the absorption of antibiotics. If you do eat dairy, try and eat it one to two hours before taking antibiotics.

Most Common Drug-Supplement Interactions

  • St. John’s Wort: This herb can reduce the concentration of medications in the blood.
  • Vitamin E: Taking Vitamin E with a blood thinning medication could increase your risk of bleeding as it can increase anti-clotting activity.
  • Ginseng: Combining ginseng with MAO inhibitors may cause headaches, trouble sleeping, and nervousness. Furthermore, ginseng can increase the bleeding effects of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
  • Valerian: This herbal supplement has been used to treat insomnia and anxiety. When mixed with drugs however, it can increase dizziness and drowsiness.

Drug Interaction Checker:

If you want to check and see if any of your medications can react with other drugs, foods, beverages, or supplements, check out: https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html

Tria Health can help

If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities!

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://burtsrx.com/common-drug-interactions/
  2. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/5-dangerous-food-drug-interactions
  3. https://www.bvhealthsystem.org/expert-health-articles/common-food-drug-interactions
  4. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/medication-information/medication-interactions-food-supplements-and-other-drugs
  5. https://www.drugs.com/slideshow/herb-drug-interactions-1069

Delicious Diabetes-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving can be a challenging time of the year for the millions of Americans who live with diabetes. All the carb-filled, sugary foods can cause blood sugar to spike. However, if you have diabetes you do not have to skip out on all the delicious dishes. Below are tasty diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving recipes!

Butterflied Turkey with Herb Gravy

Classic Herb Stuffing

Low Carb Green Bean Casserole

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Flourless Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Treat yourself this holiday season without having to worry! It is important to remember to eat in moderation and set reminders for testing blood sugar. All of us at Tria Health are wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe, be well and cheers to a healthier YOU!

Have any questions for us?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

The Importance of Preventative Care in a Crisis

Image Source: Pexels

Preventative care is the care you receive to prevent illnesses or diseases. With the pandemic, the number of outpatient clinic visits have decreased. This is alarming as preventative care services have never been more important. Find out why preventative care is so crucial below.

Why You Should Put Preventative Care First

If left untreated, small health problems can turn into much larger health issues. When you discover a disease early, you have more treatment options. Unfortunately, we know that people with chronic health conditions are at greater risk of severe complications if they contract COVID-19. Therefore, it is so important to know your health status. Preventative care allows you to take extra precautions for your health so you can keep your chronic conditions managed.

Preventative Care Services Include:

  • Wellness Visits and Standard Immunizations
  • Screenings for blood pressure, cancer, cholesterol, depression, obesity, and diabetes
  • Pediatric screenings for hearing, vision, development disorders, depression, and obesity

Stress and Preventative Care

Stress is at an all-time high due to the coronavirus pandemic. Elevated stress is connected to several health illnesses as it can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, weaken the immune system, cause migraines, and increase blood pressure. Your wellbeing is important, take care of your mental and physical health by getting preventative care to make certain that your immune system is prepared for whatever comes your way.

Safety Measures for Preventive Care Visits

You do not have to feel worried about physically returning to the doctor’s office as outpatient clinics are taking a lot of precautions to ensure patient safety during visits. Some of these measures include:

  • Enforcing masks
  • Temperature checks
  • Social distancing
  • Separate sick patients with symptoms

To get more information on how clinics are preparing for visits view: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinic-preparedness.html

Benefits of Preventative Care

There are several different why people should practice preventative health care:

  1. Improves your health in the long-term- Your healthcare professional can identify health concerns before they become a problem. For example, during regular wellness checkups blood pressure if tested. If your health professional notices that it is increasing, they can provide you with tips on how to lower it before it becomes severe.
  2. Increases lifespan
  3. Avoid high medical expenses- Preventative care is a lot less expensive than only going to seek help when a problem arises.

Alarming Facts

Preventative care is necessary for the quality of your health. It allows you to catch/prevent diseases before they become problematic. Take extra precautions during this pandemic by staying up to date with all your preventative care visits.

Do you have any questions regarding preventative care?

Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://privateindustrycouncil.com/importance-of-preventative-care/
  2. https://www.sbmabenefits.com/2020/10/28/why-is-preventative-care-so-important-during-covid/
  3. https://www.prevention.com/health/a33770806/preventative-care-covid-19/
  4. https://www.lifelinescreening.com/health-education/importance-of-preventive-care
  5. https://nooranimedicalcenter.com/understanding-the-importance-of-preventive-health-care/

November is American Diabetes Awareness Month

According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020, prepared by the CDC, 34.2 million Americans-just over 1 in 10-have diabetes. Diabetes is one of the fastest growing medical conditions in the world. American Diabetes Month’s goal is to bring awareness about diabetes risk factors and encourage people to make healthy changes.

What is Diabetes:

Diabetes is a health condition that affects how the body turns food into energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose (sugar) which gives the body energy to function. When blood sugar goes up the pancreas releases insulin to allow the blood sugar to be used as energy. If the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, diabetes occurs.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Thirst
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Wounds that take a long time to heal
  • Weight Loss

Types of Diabetes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops your body from making insulin. About 5% of the people with diabetes have type 1. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly. It is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. Those with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to survive. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
  2. Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. Most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults.  Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes.
  3. Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
  4. Gestational Diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health complications. Gestational diabetes is typically cured after your baby is born, but this increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Your baby is more likely to become obese as a child or teen, and more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Are You at Risk?

Take the American Diabetes Association’s free Type 2 Diabetes risk test: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/

How to Lower Your Risk

Here are a few ways you can lower your risk of diabetes:

Tria Health & Diabetes Management

If you currently are diagnosed or have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, Tria Health can assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you. Diabetes is a disease that can be managed and prevented if you know what to do. At Tria Health our pharmacists are certified diabetes educators (CDEs). They educate patients on medication management, diet and exercise so patients with diabetes can live happy and active lives and reduce the risk of serious health complications. For employers that offer Tria Health’s Diabetes Management Program, Tria provides free diabetes testing supplies including a blood glucose meter, testing strips, and a mobile app designed to help you manage your diabetes better.

Have Any Questions?

Call the Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742 

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-stat-report.html
  2. https://www.publicholidayguide.com/awareness-day/american-diabetes-awareness-month-2020/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html

National Drug Take Back Day is 10/24

Disposing of medications safely can help protect your family from getting or using medications that are expired or out of date; prevent the illegal use of unused medications and minimize any potential negative impact on the environment. For this reason, the DEA is giving the public an opportunity to dispose of unwanted and/or expired prescription drugs. This is a FREE and anonymous service—take medications back, no questions asked!

Why can’t I throw out my medications at home?

Unfortunately, throwing out your medications at home can lead to many harmful impacts on the environment or create safety risks for trash handlers. In addition, 53% of pain relievers for misuse are given by, bought or took from a friend or relative.1 It is important to safely dispose of your medications to help minimize the impact of the opioid epidemic.

Where do I go?

Visit the DEA’s website to find a collection site: https://takebackday.dea.gov/. Here you can input your zip code and find out where the closest drop off site is located.

What You Should Know  

The DEA can ONLY accept pills or patches. The DEA CANNOT accept liquids, needles, or sharps.

This initiative addresses both public safety and health concerns. Prescription medications left to expire in people’s homes are susceptible to misuse or abuse. Prescription drug abuse rates and overdose and accidental poisoning statistics are frighteningly high in the United States. Studies show that the majority or abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, or from home medicine cabinets.

The DEA now advises against “usual methods” for disposing of unused medications. Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash now both pose potential safety and health concerns.

 How can Tria Health Help?

As a member of Tria Health, if you have multiple medications and are afraid, you will throw away the wrong medication, we can provide additional assistance in selecting the proper medications. Tria provides one-on-one consultations with a clinical pharmacist who assists you with your medication management.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016.pdf