What your health care provider doesn’t know about you, could hurt you. Does your provider know what nutritional supplements or vitamins you are taking? How about over-the-counter remedies as basic as aspirin or Tylenol?
Why does your doctor need to know the over-the-counter medications you're taking?
When your provider prescribes a medication to treat an illness, or a long-term condition like high cholesterol or diabetes, he or she assumes the medication won’t be compromised by other substances in your body’s system.
The blood thinner Coumadin, for example, can be a lifesaver for people. It keeps the blood from clotting too quickly and blocking blood vessels. But if you’re on Coumadin and you take additional doses of aspirin or a nutritional supplement that also thins the blood, you could be in danger of having blood that won’t clot when you need it to.
Take to heart the warnings your provider and your pharmacist give you with any prescription. In many cases, these cautions are not just a good idea; they are an important safety matter.
Periodically review with your primary care provider the medications and supplements you take, whether that provider prescribed them or a specialist did.
When a specialist, a heart specialist for example, gives you a new prescription to address a heart matter, be sure to let that specialist know all of the other medications and supplements you’re taking, so that he or she can be sure you’re getting the full benefit of the new medicine without adding threats to your health.
Get your medication questions answered
If you have questions about how one medicine or supplement interacts with another, don’t rely on what you can piece together from an Internet search. Bring your subscription bottles to your provider or to a pharmacist and trust their expertise.