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

FDA Approves First Generic Version of EpiPen

EpiPen

On Thursday, The FDA approved the first generic version of EpiPen. EpiPens are designed to automatically inject a dose of epinephrine into a person’s thigh to stop an allergic reaction. The generic is made by Teva Pharmaceuticals and will compete against Mylan. Teva has not disclosed the price or release date at this time.

Background

Since purchasing EpiPen in 2007, Mylan has drastically raised the price of EpiPen. Mylan has also had many issues with shortages and issues with their manufacturer. The FDA issued a warning to Mylan’s manufacturer Pfizer after multiple cases of EpiPen malfunctions.

Are there other EpiPen Generics?

In 2016, Mylan released its own generic version of the EpiPen that was roughly half the cost of the original price. The brand name medication can cost as much as $600 for a package of two pens. Teva’s EpiPen is the first from a competitor that is a true “therapeutic equivalent” according to the FDA. This will be the first product that can be easily substituted for customers by their pharmacists.

Have any Questions for us?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

Hypothyroidism Medication Recall

Recall

Westminster Pharmaceuticals, LLC is voluntarily recalling all lots, within expiry, of Levothyroxine and Liothyronine. The FDA encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the MedWatch program.

Why are these medications being recalled?

These products are being recalled as a precaution because they were manufactured using active pharmaceutical ingredients that were sourced prior to a 2017 inspection which discovered deficiencies with Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). While there is risk involved in taking this product, to date, Westminster Pharmaceuticals has not received any reports of adverse events related to this product.

What products are recalled?

You can find a detailed list of the products, lot numbers and expirations dates listed on the FDA’s website.

Next steps you should take

  • Because Levothyroxine and Liothyronine is used to treat serious medical conditions, patients taking the recalled medicines should continue taking their medicine until they have a replacement product.
  • Patients who are taking Levothyroxine or Liothyronine should contact the pharmacy that dispensed their medication to determine if their prescription is affected.   If your medication is one of the affected products the pharmacy can work with your physician to obtain a new prescription if necessary.

Need help?

Contact your Tria Health pharmacist today for additional assistance with the recall process: 1.888.799.8742

 

Source: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm616601.htm

 

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

Ask a Pharmacist

Pharmacist surrounded by pills with text that reads Ask a Pharmacist
Image Source: iStock.com/macrovector

At Tria Health, our pharmacists are here for you! They are always happy to answer any of your medication-related questions. For August, we’ve compiled some of our more popular questions, along with our pharmacists’ answers.

Is it possible for my medication to lose its effectiveness over time?

Yes. Medications may lose potency and effectiveness over time. Unless the bottle suggests otherwise, always consider the expiration date of a prescription medication one year following the fill date. If you filled a prescription on July 1st 2017 it should be considered expired and a new prescription will be necessary on July 1st 2018.

Do generic drugs work just as well as the brand name versions?

Yes. Generic medications contain the same active medicine and are safe and effective alternatives to brand name products. In order to receive F.D.A approval, generic medications must prove that they are equivalent to the brand name medication.

Is it safe to take slightly expired medication?

Taking a medication that is slightly expired is unlikely to cause harm, but it is possible that it may not work as well and in general it is best to acquire a new prescription if your medication is expired.

How can you tell if a medication is expired?

If the medication was filled more than 12 months ago or the listed expiration date on the bottle has passed consider the medication as expired.  In addition, if the appearance of the medication has changed this may be an indication of an expired product. If you have an injectable solution or oral suspension that has changed colors or consistency this might indicate a new prescription is needed.

 

If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,

reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742