10 Ways to Be Safe and Minimize Adverse Drug Reactions With Your Prescription Drugs

In a previous article I stressed the importance of knowing what you are taking regarding medications, i.e., knowing why, potential side effects, etc. This is because about double the people who die in automobile accidents in the US die from ADR’s (adverse drug reactions): somewhere close to 100,000 a year in the US alone. As a follow-up I interviewed an experienced pharmacist. Here are 10 solid recommendations based on my own experience and research, and that interview.

1. Know at least the top 5 most common and(or) most dangerous side effects for every medication you take and be vigilant as to the first signs of each. For example one of the bipolar drugs popular nowadays has a rare but dangerous skin condition associated with it. If you were taking that drug for bipolar illness and developed even a minor rash it would be wise to report to your doctor immediately.

2. Keep an updated list on a folded 3×5 card marked boldly on the outside “for medical emergencies.” Drug interactions are common and if for instance you are taking certain antidepressants and are given a certain very common IV narcotic for pain or anesthesia if when for example, you were brought unconscious to a hospital after a car wreck, you could die instantly.

3. If you take generic drugs (not identified by the original trade name but only the generic name), as most people do when they’re available, always get them from the same pharmacy. Different generic versions of the same drug have different carrying compounds from which pills or tablets are made. This can drastically change the way the same dose of a given drug can act in your system.

4. Use one pharmacy for all your medications so they will have a complete database on you and so their system will flag a warning if there’s a potential harmful interaction between two drugs for instance, if they were prescribed unknowingly by two separate physicians.

5. Be very wary of online pharmacies. Some are legit branches of established real-world pharmacies but others are fly-by-night selling everything from useless imitations to repackaged expired ones.

6. Take your medications exactly as prescribed and at the same time each day. This will establish a reliable pattern of blood medication levels and make you more acutely sensitive if something is amiss.

7. Always double check the pill size on new prescriptions. Wrong pill size is the most common prescribing mistake made by both doctors and pharmacists. Be aware of the “usual” size and color and identifying numbers or letters on each pill you take. Taking just twice the dose (or half) from the wrong pill can lead to very dangerous conditions for many common medications.

8. Always read the label on over-the-counter medications to be sure none of your drugs are on their taboo list. This is especially true for pain-pills and cold-remedies.

9. Drink 8 glasses of water a day for two reasons: first, it keeps digestion and uptake of your medications consistent and reliable and second, many prescription drugs have side effects related to the vascular system that will become more pronounced even if you’re mildly dehydrated.

10. Take the little warning stickers regarding driving, operating machinery and using alcohol very seriously. They’re usually there because someone somewhere got very messed up because they didn’t either follow their doctor’s warning, or never got warned at all.

Be safe. Better knowledge means better care decisions regarding your medications. You must be active in the process of your own care.

Depression Medications Are in the Hands of the Beholder

Depression is caused by a variety of factors. It can by biological, genetic, physical and emotional. Simple daily life and surroundings are important. Stress and other negative influences have been known to contribute. Complicated diseases like depression aren’t easy to crack. We also recognize the intricacy of man’s mind.

The medical profession is working steadily in an attempt to study the mind and how it works. A chemical imbalance in the brain causes depression, that’s known. We are learning more every day about how the whole process works. Better treatments come from more knowledge. Depression treatment comes from a variety of medications on the market. Quick fix schemes exist too, but they don’t work. You have to be careful to seek medications that have been clinically studied and have been proven to display positive effects in the treatment of depression.

There was a time in our history if you were afflicted by anything that was associated with mental illness you were thrown into a mental ward and lost in the system. It’s good to know that’s no longer the case. In 1988 the anti-depressant ‘Prozac’ first hit the market in the United States. It was proven to work, and thus is still prescribed today even though it can have serious side effects. There are several types of depression medications (antidepressants) used to treat depression and conditions that have depression as a component of the disease, such as bipolar disorder. These drugs improve symptoms of depression by increasing the availability of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. It is believed that these brain chemicals can help improve emotions.

Major types of antidepressants include:

* Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are some of the first antidepressants used to treat depression. They primarily affect the levels of two chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), norepinephrine and serotonin, in the brain. Although these drugs are effective in treating depression, they have more side effects, so they usually aren’t the first drugs used.

* Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are another early form of antidepressant. These drugs are most effective in people with depression who do not respond to other treatments. They are also effective for other mental illnesses. Substances in certain foods, like cheese, beverages like wine, and medications can interact with an MAOI, so these people taking this medication must adhere to strict dietary restrictions (see below). For this reason these antidepressants also aren’t usually the first drugs used.

* Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a newer form of antidepressant. These drugs work by altering the amount of a chemical in the brain called serotonin.

* Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another newer form of antidepressant medicine. They treat depression by increasing availability of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine. Medications affect your brain chemistry in different ways, so you may try several different medications or combinations of medications to find treatment that works for your depression. Most people find a drug that works within a few tries, but for some people, depression can be more difficult to treat. In some cases, a combination of antidepressants may be necessary. Sometimes an antidepressant combined with a different type of medication-such as an antiseizure, mood stabilizer, or antianxiety drug-is effective.

Since that time more and more use has been made of a new class of anti-depressants. The SSRI or (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) like Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, and Luvox are all being used to treat depression today. All have been proven effective but come with varied side effects. Most antidepressants are believed to work by slowing the removal of certain chemicals from the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are needed for normal brain function. Antidepressants help people with depression by making these natural chemicals more available to the brain. Antidepressants are typically taken for at least 4 to 6 months. In some cases, patients and their doctors may decide that antidepressants are needed for a longer time. Antidepressants are put into groups based on which chemicals in the brain they affect. There are many different kinds of antidepressants, including:

* Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

o citalopram (brand name: Celexa)

o escitalopram (brand name: Lexapro)

o fluoxetine (brand name: Prozac)

o paroxetine (brand names: Paxil, Pexeva)

o sertraline (brand name: Zoloft) These medicines tend to have fewer side effects than other antidepressants. Some of the side effects that can be caused by SSRIs include dry mouth, nausea, nervousness, insomnia, sexual problems and headache. * Tricyclics

o amitriptyline (brand name: Elavil)

o desipramine (brand name: Norpramin)

o imipramine (brand name: Tofranil)

o nortriptyline (brand name: Aventyl, Pamelor)

Common side effects caused by these medicines include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty urinating, worsening of glaucoma, impaired thinking and tiredness. These antidepressants can also affect a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. * Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

o venlafaxine (brand name: Effexor)

o duloxetine (brand name: Cymbalta) Some common side effects caused by these medicines include nausea and loss of appetite, anxiety and nervousness, headache, insomnia and tiredness. Dry mouth, constipation, weight loss, sexual problems, increased heart rate and increased cholesterol levels can also occur. * Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)

o bupropion (brand name: Wellbutrin) Some of the common side effects in people taking NDRIs include agitation, nausea, headache, loss of appetite and insomnia. It can also cause increase blood pressure in some people.

Some of the common side effects in people taking NDRIs include agitation, nausea, headache, loss of appetite and insomnia. It can also cause increase blood pressure in some people.

* Combined reuptake inhibitors and receptor blockers

o trazodone (brand name: Desyrel)

o nefazodone (brand name: Serzone)

o maprotiline

o mirtazpine (brand name: Remeron) Common side effects of these medicines are drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea and dizziness. If you have liver problems, you should not take nefazodone. If you have seizures, you should not take maprotiline. * Monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

o isocarboxazid (brand name: Marplan)

o phenelzine (brand name: Nardil)

o tranlcypromine (brand name: Parnate) MAOIs are used less commonly than the other antidepressants. They can have serious side effects, including weakness, dizziness, headaches and trembling. Taking an MAOI antidepressant while you’re taking another antidepressant or certain over-the-counter medicines for colds and flu can cause a dangerous reaction. Your doctor will also tell you what foods and alcoholic beverages you should avoid while you are taking an MAOI. You should not take an MAOI unless you clearly understand what medications and foods to avoid. If you are taking an MAOI and your doctor wants you to start taking one of the other antidepressants, he or she will have you stop taking the MAOI for a while before you start the new medicine. This gives the MAOI time to clear out of your body.

The market is also ripe with herbal medications and treatments. The majority of these that have been proven to work as well as the anti-depressants contain the St. John’s Wort extract ingredient called ‘hyperforin’. Some herbal remedies don’t contain this ingredient in the proper strength so they don’t work. Be careful, do your research and you will find effective medications to treat depression.

In this context it has to be said that the common misconception that herbs for depression are natural and thus do not have any side effects is outright wrong and the depressive patient should be aware of the potential risks of taking herbs for depression without consulting a medical professional.

Conclusion: Although the use of herbs for depression is widely spread, on the whole there is (maybe with the exception of St. John´s wort) no definitive evidence for the usefulness of herbal treatments for depression. Especially when compared to standard prescription drugs for depression herbs for depression usually cannot prevail as a first choice treatment option. However, when other more established treatments fail, in cases of mild depression, using herbs for depression may be worth a try. In any case the user should realise the limitations and not underestimate the risks of using herbs for depression. While antidepressant drugs such as Prozac increase serotonin levels in the brain, this doesn’t mean that depression is caused by a serotonin shortage. After all, aspirin may cure a headache, but it doesn’t mean that headaches are caused by an aspirin deficiency.

Furthermore, many studies contradict the chemical imbalance theory of depression. Experiments have shown that lowering people’s serotonin levels doesn’t always lower mood, nor does it worsen symptoms in people who are already depressed. And while antidepressants raise serotonin levels within hours, it takes weeks before medication kicks in to relieve depression. If depression were due to low serotonin, there wouldn’t be an antidepressant medication lag. Studies agree that both antidepressants and psychotherapy are effective treatments for depression. There is even agreement that a combination of the two may be more effective than either alone. It may well be that one treatment is likely to be more effective than the other for a particular person. The art and science of mental health are not yet refined enough to be able to predict which treatment will be more effective for a given person.

We have compiled and consolidated the latest information on depression (including anxiety, adhd) signs and symptom of depression, depression causes, diagnosis, and depression treatment and cure for teen, adult and child. We have also gathered important information on coping with the personal and social effects of a depression, which can become difficult without the proper knowledge.

depression-guide has information on anxiety depression related disorders and medicine library, depression self help, depression support and health care professional, etc. It is possible that an individual’s episode of depression may be caused entirely by a major stressful situation or event. For others, stressors may ‘set off’ or trigger an episode that was ‘waiting to happen’. Alternatively, a depressive episode may be completely unrelated to a stressful event. It is therefore not surprising that, in many written accounts of depression, the role of stressful events as a trigger is difficult to determine. Often, the explanations provided by therapists are just as speculative. Herbs for depression are often seen as a viable alternative to pharmaceutical treatment of depression. However, actual data showing an effectiveness of herbs for depression is rare and thus it is currently hardly possible to make a final verdict on the usefulness of herbal treatment for depression in general. Also, there seems to be only limited interest from western medicine to study the effects of herbs for depression in a clinically relevant setting. So from a patient’s perspective the question remains: What is the evidence that herbal treatment for depression works? By far the best studied herbal treatment for depression is without doubt St. John´s wort. St. John´s wort (Hypericum Perforatum) is the most well-known and best studied of the herbs for depression in use.

It has been known as herbal treatment for depression and cure for other diseases for many centuries. In Europe, where this herbal treatment for depression is commonly prescribed by medical professionals, various clinical studies have demonstrated a positive effect of this best known member of the herbs for depression in use in cases of mild to moderate depression. However, two clinical studies in the US, one of them funded by a pharmaceutical company, have recently indicated that St. John´s wort extracts were no more effective than a placebo in major depression. In America, herbal products and dietary supplements amount to a billion-dollar business. Most supermarkets have sections that resemble a natural pharmacy. They are stocked with row after row of popular herbal therapies, vitamins, minerals, natural enzymes, organ tissues, metabolites, extracts, or concentrates, and more. Some see this “back to nature” trend as part of an increasing demand from people who want to take charge of their own health and healing. And to do that, many of them want to use complementary and alternative medicine — CAM — therapies.

What is St. John’s wort?

St. John’s wort is a wild yellow flower considered to be a weed throughout most of the United States. It has been used for medical purposes in other parts of the world for thousands of years. Today, St. John’s wort is continually being studied to try to validate its alleged mood-improving benefits. More than 30 clinical studies have been conducted over the past 22 years to evaluate the effectiveness of St. John’s wort. While the true benefits of St. John’s wort are still being explored, if you do choose to use it, be sure to learn all you can and check with your doctor before taking it. There is some scientific evidence that St. John’s wort is helpful in treating mild to moderate depression. However, two large studies, one sponsored by the National Center for

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), showed that the herb was no more effective than placebo in treating major depression of moderate severity. NCCAM is currently studying the use of St. John’s wort in a wider spectrum of mood disorders, including minor depression. If used appropriately, CAM might boost your sense of control over your health, and that can be essential for wellness. Proponents of complementary and alternative treatments claim that these nondrug interventions could allow you to take less medication, have fewer laboratory tests and surgeries, and be an active participant in your own care. However, if used haphazardly, some complementary and alternative medicines are toxic, and some can interact with other medications you are taking.

As some have learned the hard way, taking the wrong dietary supplement and having an adverse reaction can add to your laundry list of health problems.Further studies with this herbal treatment for depression are currently conducted, but it may take years before a final verdict can be made on St. John´s wort. The exact mode of action of this herbal treatment for depression is not fully understood, although there is some evidence that it acts on serotonin production or -activity. Despite open questions and demonstrated limitations, St. John´s wort currently stands as the only one of the herbs for depression with a clinically demonstrated positive effect at least in mild cases of depression.

Online Pharmacies: Revolutionizing The World Of Prescription Drugs

Internet pharmacy or online pharmacy usually refers to a registered pharmacy that has a retail outlet and also offers to sell or supply medicines and/or other professional medical services over the Internet. Customers can order drugs and medical products online being connected to the Internet or even visit the store in person. An international or mail-order pharmacy may or may not have a physically existing brick-and-mortar store. High drug prices have produced alluring incentives for consumers to look for alternative resources to fill their prescriptions.

Essentially, there are three types of Internet pharmacies:

1) Pharmacies that only supply drugs for prescriptions written by a patient’s physician;

2) Pharmacies that charge for a physician, and the drug is provided after the patient completes a simple questionnaire and then the cyber-doctor writes a prescription; and

3) Pharmacies dispensing prescription drugs without a physician’s prescription.

A recent study finds that sale of drugs through cross-border Internet pharmacies to consumers in many countries has seen a significant and rapid growth. Convenience and cost saving have been the top reasons for online prescription-drug purchasing. Internet pharmacies offer a host of benefits. They are convenient and allow customers to avoid nuisances such as going out in bad weather, parking hassles, standing in line, and the inevitable wait for the prescription to be filled. Many Internet pharmacies offer fast shipping of drugs, allowing customers to avoid the delay of regular mail.

Some Internet pharmacies offer lower prices on medications than those charged by traditional pharmacies, as they do not have to bear the fixed costs such as property leases, maintenance, and property taxes. Another major advantage is that the Internet pharmacies can offer privacy that is often lacking in a traditional pharmacy. Many patients feel uncomfortable in purchasing some drugs and asking a pharmacist questions in front of other customers.

The customer or patient is entitled to expect the same quality of pharmaceutical care irrespective of whether the service is provided online or face-to-face on the pharmacy premises. To ensure public protection and confidence in the profession many Internet pharmacies have a licensed pharmacist available 24 hours a day to answer questions by phone or by e-mail. Eventually the most helpful benefit associated with online pharmacies is that they offer perks not found in traditional pharmacies, such as e-mail alerts when the prescription is due for a refill and more. Consumers frequently utilize the Internet to obtain health information and products, and Internet pharmacies join a wide variety of healthcare-related websites to provide authentic information related to the drugs they supply.

Online Canadian drug pharmacies have emerged as the leaders in the industry. Internet pharmacies in Canada are enjoying a booming business selling prescription drugs to consumers in U.S. and other leading nations taking the advantage of strict drug patents in these nations. Canadian Internet pharmacies offer substantial savings to American consumers, particularly those with chronic conditions — such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol — requiring regular, predictable doses of medicine over long periods.

The Internet has revolutionized the way in which ordinary people conduct their everyday business. A significant number of people currently utilize the Internet as a health resource, and it is likely that this trend will continue. The Canadian online pharmacies are proving greatly advantageous to the modern healthcare system.

A vast majority of online purchasers of prescription drugs through Canadian pharmacies have reported satisfaction both in terms of quality and speed of delivery.