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

Saving money on prescriptions is great, but there are health risks.

Pills spilled over money
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We all like saving money, but is it worth saving a buck if it puts your health at risk?

Today, more than ever, we are seeing an increase in the number of High Deductible Health Plans. These plans position consumers to assume more of their healthcare costs—especially the cost of their prescription drugs, until their deductible is met.

For this reason, we’re seeing more patients seeking lower-costing alternatives outside of their insurance plan, such as $4 generics or the use of copay coupons.

The New York Times reports that up to 10 percent of drug transactions – or 400 million prescriptions each year – could fall into this category. Don’t misunderstand, paying a Lower price is always appealing, but there are risks consumers need to understand.

Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you normally fill all your prescriptions at one pharmacy, but decide to go to another pharmacy to take advantage of a lower price without using your insurance. The pharmacist won’t have access to other medications you are taking and won’t be able to assist you in identifying potentially dangerous drug interactions.

The Tria Health clinical team sees this situation happening too often. This also applies when patients are taking drug samples from their doctor.

At Tria Health, our pharmacists are consulting with patients about ALL their medications. By talking individually with patients, the Tria pharmacist can confirm claims data as well as uncover additional medications not paid through insurance in order to develop the best care plan for our patients and avoid drug therapy problems.

Are your members at risk of harmful drug interactions?

 

 

Are you or your loved ones at risk of harmful drug interactions?

Close up of assorted pills and prescriptions
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An average Tria Health patient takes 8 prescription medications. Most older Americans take multiple medications each day for a variety of conditions. Typically, when people have multiple chronic conditions, they see multiple prescribing physicians.

Do you think those prescribing physicians talk to one another?

In many cases, the answer is, unfortunately, no.

A new study, called “Improving Health and the Bottom Line: The Case for Health Literacy,” showed how greater health literacy can improve community health, reduce health costs, enhance the quality of care and improve patient and provider experiences.  The lead author of the report, Stan Hudson, said “the relationship between health literacy and health outcomes is very important. We found that low health literacy is a contributing factor for readmission for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Hudson also made a point that “health literacy helps ensure the best quality of care for everyone.”

The CDC reports that about half of the adults in the United States have inadequate skills when it comes to understanding their health care options.

In another study, National Poll on Healthy Aging found that 1 in 3 who take at least one prescription drug had talked to a health care professional about possible drug interactions. Among those taking six or more medications, less than half had discussed possible drug interactions.

Drug interactions could, best case scenario, prevent medicine from absorbing properly. Worst case scenarios put people at risk of blood sugar issues, kidney damage or even death. Due to the variety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs available, even medical professionals are challenged with identifying potential drug interactions.

Additionally, 1 in 5 respondents said they had used more than one pharmacy in the past two years (including mail order pharmacies), and 3 in 5 see more than one doctor for their care. While 63% of the respondents said their doctor and pharmacists are responsible for identifying potential drug interactions, only 36% said their pharmacist definitely knew about all their medications when they fill a prescription.

Knowledge is Power

This is our focus and expertise at Tria Health. Our team works diligently to improve health literacy among our patients. We have found that identifying drug therapy problems, drug interactions and discovering non-adherence issues are only possible by physically speaking with patients. We empower our patients by educating them on all their chronic conditions, their medications and we make recommendations to prescribing physicians to avoid harmful drug interactions and drug therapy problems. This educational approach has proven to reduce hospital readmissions and improve clinical outcomes for chronic conditions. This helps our patients live healthier lives and helps their employers save on their healthcare costs.

Tria Health encourages you to be an advocate for your own healthcare and take the time to learn more about all your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Knowledge is power.

 

 

FDA Warns Consumers About Kratom, Citing 36 Deaths

The FDA has issued a public health advisory warning “consumers to stay away from the herbal supplement kratom, saying regulators are aware of 36 deaths linked to products containing the substance.” The use of the supplement has increased in recent years as a treatment for anxiety, depression, pain, and opioid withdrawal. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that kratom is not approved by the FDA for any use, and that there is no “reliable evidence” to support the claim that kratom is a safe treatment for opioid abuse or addiction. Gottlieb also said that the substance can have similar effects as opioids, “and carries similar risks of abuse, addiction and, in some cases, death.”

At Tria Health, our pharmacists counsel patients on all their prescription medications AND over-the-counter vitamins and herbal supplements. It’s imperative to understand exactly what each item is supposed to accomplish for your health, AND whether there are any potential drug interactions.

If you are taking kratom, please talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this potentially dangerous herbal supplement.

For more information, visit the FDA website here.