Taking Multiple Medications Can Put You at Risk for Drug Interactions

Older man holding white pills
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Taking multiple medications can be overwhelming. Some medications need to be taken with food while others need to be taken in the evening. It can become ever more complex with the fear of drug interactions involved. While most interactions are usually not life-threatening, some mixtures of medications can lead to serious – and even fatal – consequences.1 It’s important to talk with your doctor and pharmacist about your current medication regimen to help avoid any possible reactions.

The more medications you take, the higher the risk

The more medications a patient takes, the higher the risk that drugs will interact with each other. According to drugwatch.com, the drug-interaction risks are:

Drug Interactions_drugwatch.com.png2

A recent study from the University of Illinois at Chicago also concluded that children taking multiple medications are also at risk for drug interactions. “Among those using multiple medications, one in 12 was at risk for a major drug interaction, and the vast majority of these potential interactions involved antidepressants.”3

Drug Interaction Types

There are four main types of drug interactions:

  1. Drug-Drug Interactions
  2. Drug-Food/Beverage Interactions
  3. Drug-Condition Interactions
  4. Drug-Supplement Interactions

Simple steps to avoid drug interactions

  • Talk with your doctor and pharmacist about any new medications. Make sure they know about any vitamins and supplements you are currently taking.
  • Follow all the dosing instructions listed on each of your medications.
  • Keep an updated medication list on hand for any of your medical appointments.
  • You can also use AARP’s online drug interaction checker

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!

 

Have any questions for us?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

Source:

  1. https://www.drugs.com/article/preventing-drug-interactions.html
  2. https://www.drugwatch.com/health/drug-interactions/
  3. University of Illinois at Chicago Study

Ask a Pharmacist – Migraine Edition

Pharmacist surrounded by pills with text that reads Ask a Pharmacist
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At Tria Health, our pharmacists are here for you! They are always happy to answer any of your medication-related questions. For September, we’ve compiled some of our more popular migraine questions, along with our pharmacists’ answers.

What are the most common migraine triggers?

  • Emotional Stress
  • Not Eating
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Obesity
  • Some foods such as: wine, aspartame, and monosodium glutamate (MSGs)
  • Certain medications such as nitrates (used for chest pain)
  • Unmodifiable triggers like menstruation, weather changes, neck pain, certain odors or visual stimuli

What can worsen migraines?

Rapid head movements like sneezing or turning you head away quickly, bright lights, loud sounds, straining at stool, and physical exertion can all worsen migraines.

How do I cope with my migraine triggers?

As most triggers cannot be completely avoided, coping with known triggers is an important strategy in migraine relief. A staggering 80% of people with migraines say emotional stress is a trigger, but no one is immune to it. Check these tips out for how to manage your stress:

  • Meditate for 15 Minutes
  • Take a Break & Breathe Deeply
  • Laugh out Loud
  • Listen to Music
  • Get Moving
  • Keep a Journal

I don’t want to take a medicine, what can I do instead?

  • Relaxation Training
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Physical therapy can be helpful for patients who have muscle tension leading up to a migraine
  • There is no good clinical data to recommend hypnosis, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), or chiropractic or osteopathic care, but some people find these methods appealing.

Dealing with migraines can have a definite impact on your lifestyle.  Having a better understanding of what triggers migraines and how to cope can help.

If you have any additional questions regarding your medications, reach out to the

Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

How to Reduce High Blood Pressure

Healthy Salad
Image Source: Anna Pelzer/Unsplash

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high.1 People with high blood pressure typically exhibit no symptoms. If the condition is left untreated, the damage left on your circulatory system can significantly impact your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other heart threats. While there are risk factors you can’t control, there are many steps you can take to help prevent and manage high blood pressure.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet2

A well-balanced diet is an essential tool in managing your blood pressure. It’s important to limit your sodium intake along with saturated/trans fats, red meat and sweets. It’s also important to limit your alcohol intake. With a healthy diet of fruits, veggies and whole grains, you can reduce your blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. Click here to find a list of healthy, high blood pressure friendly recipes.

Get Moving

Physical activity has a lot of positive health benefits. Not only will it help manage your high blood pressure, but it will also help strengthen your heart and assist in maintaining a healthy weight. If you want to start exercising, there’s no need to immediately begin running marathons. Start out where you’re comfortable, any amount of exercise is better than none. Try mixing it up by taking different classes, this will help you stay interested and build the habit.

Take your Medications Properly

Lifestyle changes are not the only solutions to high blood pressure, there are many medication options that can assist you in improving your health. It’s very important to follow your doctor’s recommendations and taking your medications as prescribed.

Have any Medication Questions?

Reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/managing-blood-pressure-with-a-heart-healthy-diet

Migraines can be a Costly Chronic Condition

Girl facing away holding hands to head
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Migraine is a debilitating condition that affects over 37 million Americans and their families.1 Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone who suffers from migraines. While most sufferers experience attacks one or twice a month, more than 4 million people have chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month.2 Healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with migraines are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the U.S. Unfortunately, people who experience migraines typically remain quiet about their disease which leads to the misconception that only a few people suffer from the condition.

What are Migraine Symptoms?3

Per the Mayo Clinic, migraines may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, headache and post-drome, all of which result in different symptoms. Click here to find a list of symptoms for each migraine stage. Migraines are often undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly experience signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your headaches.

Migraine Misconceptions

Migraines remain a misunderstood disease that is often undiagnosed and undertreated. Many people who have migraines suffer from the stigma surrounding the disease which can often lead them to further isolation. Most people don’t realize how debilitating the disease can be, more than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.

Tria Health and Migraines

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure you’re getting the intended outcomes from your medications. Over the years, Tria Health has continued to expand our services to include a multitude of chronic conditions. We’re happy to announce we are now providing services to members who suffer from migraines.

Have any questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/migraine-self-advocacy/
  2. http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201

What Causes High Cholesterol?

Medical form with words cholesterol
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In 2011–2012, 78 million U.S. adults (nearly 37%) had low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that fall in the range where experts recommend cholesterol medicine or had other health conditions putting them at high risk for heart disease and stroke.1 Cholesterol is a waxy substance your body needs to build cells. So, while cholesterol alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing, having too much in your system increases the chances that cholesterol will start to slowly build up in the inner walls of arteries that feed the heart and brain.

Main Causes of High Cholesterol2

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Excess weight

In addition, some people inherit genes that can cause them to have too much cholesterol.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

  • LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: Contributes to fatty buildups in arteries. Plaque buildup narrow arteries and raise the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease
  • HDL (Good) Cholesterol: Carries LDL cholesterol away from arteries back to the liver, where its then broken down and passed from the body. HDL can help decrease the risk of heart disease.

Symptoms of High Cholesterol

Unfortunately, high cholesterol usually has no symptoms. It’s important as an adult (age 20+) to get tested once every 4 to 6 years.

Treatment of High Cholesterol

Working with your health care provider can lower your cholesterol, which will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle changes such as eating a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and losing weight (if overweight or obese) are all things that can lower your cholesterol.  However, these lifestyle changes may not work for everyone, in which case, there are many medications available. Statins are recommended for most patients, but your doctor may consider other options as well.

 

If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,

reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. Mercado C, DeSimone AK, Odom E, Gillespie C, Ayala C, Loustalot F. Prevalence of cholesterol treatment eligibility and medication use among adults—United States, 2005–2012. MMWR. 2015;64(47):1305–11.
  2. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/CausesofHighCholesterol/Causes-of-High-Cholesterol_UCM_001213_Article.jsp#.WyAVQvZFyHt