Senior Dining Pharmacist Program November 2009

Senior Dining Pharmacist Program
Catholic Charities September 2013
Questions To Ask About Your Medications-Part Two
Does My Medication Contain Anything That Can Cause an Allergic
First, make sure your doctor and pharmacy know all your drug allergies.
Make sure to tell them what the allergic reaction was if you know or
remember. Ask your doctor and pharmacist if there is anything in your
medical history that would make you more likely to have an allergic reaction
to your medication. People with health conditions related to allergies, such as
asthma and hay fever, may be more likely to have an allergic reaction to
certain types of medication. Also, certain medications such as antibiotics are
more likely to cause allergic reactions.
What Foods, Drinks, or Activities Should I Avoid While Taking This
Certain foods and alcohol can interact with your medication. For example,
grapefruit interacts with medications used to treat high cholesterol, such as
Zocor® (simvastatin). Alcohol can increase the side effects of medications
used to treat anxiety, such as lorazepam, or narcotic pain pills by causing
excess drowsiness which may increase your risk of falls.
Some medications such those containing diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) may
make a person drowsy and increase the risk of car accidents so one should not
drive after taking this medication.
Is It Safe For Me to Take This Medication With My Other Medications,
Herbal Products, Vitamins, or Dietary Supplements?
Your medication may interact with other drugs and supplements causing an
adverse reaction or reducing their effectiveness. It is important to inform your
doctor and pharmacist about all of the medications, herbal products, and
supplements that you are taking so she can advise you about possible
For example, some medications taken with the cholesterol lowering
medications called statins, may increase your risk of muscle aches. Another
example is taking calcium tablets at the same time as your thyroid
medications may make the thyroid medication less effective. Calcium may
reduce how much thyroid medication is absorbed into your body.
Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your
physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medication condition. Professional opinions and interpretations
may vary. This program is not intended to take the place of your pharmacist.
Senior Dining Pharmacist Program September 2013
Rumor Vs Truth
Aspirin Can Prevent Cancer
There is an element of truth to this rumor but it is too early to recommend taking
aspirin for cancer prevention. There are some studies that have shown a decrease in
colorectal cancer and certain other cancers. New studies show that aspirin may
reduce the risk of cancer and death from cancer. This differs from two previous
large studies showing aspirin doesn’t prevent cancer. Interestingly, the two studies
not showing benefit were not included in the new analyses because of dosing
Aspirin is not recommended under current guidelines for cancer prevention.
Aspirin’s bleeding risks appear to outweigh the benefit when used purely for cancer
prevention. The current statistics are: it takes 247 patients taking aspirin for 6
years to prevent one cancer death BUT 72 serious bleeding incidents will occur.
Aspirin does make sense for those with cardiovascular disease and to prevent
cardiovascular disease. For cancer prevention, there are too many unknowns and it
remains unclear if the benefit of aspirin outweighs the risks.
Ginger Works for Arthritis Pain
Ginger has been turning up in some pain supplements. There is a theory that
Ginger works like an NSAID type medication (the ibuprofen class of drugs). Ginger
may be effective for osteoarthritis pain. Studies have found it does not work as well
as ibuprofen osteoarthritic pain and, if it works, it can take up to three months to
show an effect. Recommended doses vary, but one should try to use less than 2
grams per day. If one does not notice pain relief within 3 months, ginger should be
At recommended doses (less than 2 grams per day or less of ginger extract), the risk
of adverse effects is small. Some patients may experience heartburn, diarrhea, or
pepper-like irritation in their mouth. If you are taking drugs to inhibit platelets or
anticoagulants like aspirin, Plavix®, or warfarin, ginger should not be used since it
can increase your risk of bleeding when added to these medications. Ginger may
also reduce blood sugars. If you are taking diabetic medications, ginger should be
used with caution as it may reduce your blood sugars. Discuss Ginger use with your
physician before taking it. Generally, acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or a NSAID would
be your best bet for more rapid and effective pain relief.
Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your
physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medication condition. Professional opinions and interpretations
may vary. This program is not intended to be educational and not to take the place of your pharmacist or