Risks From Medications

Side effects
Some side effects are minor. Others may require your pharmacist or healthcare provider to substitute another medication. To help minimize the side effects:

  • Ask your health-care provider or pharmacist about possible side effects
  • Read the label
  • Report any reactions or allergies to your health-care provider
Unexpected interactions
Many medications can be harmful - even deadly - if taken together. To help prevent interactions:

  • Make a list of medications you take and bring the list to your next appointment
  • Tell you pharmacist or health-care provider about all medications you are taking - including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and/or dietary supplements (such as herbal remedies - Gingko, St. John's Wort, etc.)
Drug dependence
Long term use of some medications may lead to physical or psychological dependence. To prevent drug dependence:

  • Ask your health-care provider if any of your medications are habit-forming
  • Ask how much of each medication you can take without becoming addicted
  • Taking several medications

You may be taking more than one medication. To help avoid problems:

  • Learn about each medication, and know why you are taking it
  • Follow all instructions for using each medication safely
  • Ask your pharmacist if the over-the-counter medications are safe to use with your prescription medications (have an updated list of medications, other over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and any dietary supplements - herbal remedies with you at all times)
Common medications that require blood tests:
  • Carbamezapine (Tegretol)
  • Thalidomide (pregnancy test - don't take if pregnant)
  • Tretinoin (pregnancy test - don't take if pregnant)
  • Clozapine (Clozaril)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theo-24, Uni-Dur)
  • Procainamide (Procan SR, ProcanBid)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Lithium (Lithotabs, Lithobid, Eskalith)
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Methotrexate
  • Phenobarbital
  • (Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • Tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • Quinidine
  • Valproic acid (Depakote)