Drugs and Supplements Interactions: Basic Things You Must Know


It is wise to take drugs when you are ill, or to take dietary supplements when you need to boost your health, but you must understand that interactions between your body and drugs or food supplements could be dangerous and even life-threatening.

Drugs interactions occur in the body when you take two or more drugs at the same time; and drug interactions could also occur with normal food and alcohol within the body to cause harm or bring good.

Drugs and Supplements Interactions

What is drugs interaction?

Drug interaction means the reactions that are generated within the human body as a result of two drugs interacting or reacting with each other. Drug interactions occur when a drug reacts to the presence of other drugs, dietary supplements, alcohol, and even food in the body. The levels of reactions depend largely on the age of the individual, underlying diseases, and lifestyles – and to this end, the reactions or interactions of some drugs can be good or deadly.

How do drug interactions occur in the body?

The way drugs interact with one another or with the human body differ from person to person – depending on individual’s food absorption rate, distribution, metabolism, and the excretion of the drug from within the body. In one word, the manner and rate in which the body processes the drug determines how they interact to affect the body for good or bad.

But then, a deadly drug reaction or interaction can occur if –

-An individual takes two or more drugs with similar properties – this heightens the effects in the body.

– An individual takes two or more drugs with contrary properties that disrupt the benefits of each other.

– An individual takes a drug that alters the presence of a normal body substance.

What are the factors that affect drugs interactions?

It is always difficult to determine the factors that predispose an individual to drugs interactions. And the reason for this is because drug interactions in some cases may take weeks before it occurs, and it may disappear just as quickly as it has occurred. Not taking your drugs regularly or taking it when you just feel like it might also make it difficult to determine factors that cause interactions.

However, largely speaking, some common factors that can cause drug interactions are –

–          Age

–          Genetic makeup

–          Fitness exercises

–          Underlying medical conditions

–          Current medications

–          Space of time between taking two or more drugs

You must however note that starting to take a new drug or medication places you at risk of drug interactions, and withdrawing from a regular prescribed medication could also place you at risk of drug interaction. But overall, adults in the age bracket of 57-85 are more prone to the risks of drug interactions.

What are the types of drug interactions?

–          Prescription drugs react with one another, and over-the-counter drugs do too.

–          Food or dietary supplements like Ginko biloba, Ginseng, St. John’s wort, etc. are good in themselves, but when combined with synthetic drugs the interactions might be adverse. Supplements often contain vitamins, amino acids, minerals, herbs and other botanicals, but this does not make them less reactive when combined with normal medications.

–          Drugs react to normal foods. Some food can make some drugs less effective, or slow down their rate of absorption. Some drugs can also make the body unable to derive the right amounts of nutrients from food, and this can affect appetite or nutrition.

Common drugs that often interact with the body or other drugs

–          Anti-depressants (SSRIs)

–          Blood pressure drugs (HCTZ)

–          Cholesterol medications (statins)

–          Others

How do we prevent or minimize drug interactions?

The burden of preventing drug interactions lies largely on you, the patient. You must therefore take the following steps to help yourself –

–          Always check and double-check for interactions when you buy prescription or OTC drugs.

–          Inform your doctor of current drugs or dietary supplement you are taking, so that they may take this into account when prescribing new or complementary medications for you.

–          Always ask your doctor if new prescriptions would interact because some doctors might overlook this fact. It is your health and body, so ensure to ask.

–          Obtain your medications from the same pharmacy or drugstore so as to increase the likelihood of seeing any interactions in the computer system.

–          Use online checkers or tools to check for interactions when you purchase new medications.

Can I file a lawsuit for drug interactions?

Of course you can hire a personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit if you suffer adversely from acute drug interactions. Drug reactions could cause grievous harm, including disfigurements and wrongful deaths, and it could bring on some terrible physical and mental pains; and do not forget that you could lose your job or wages and incur serious medical bills when you suffer terrible drug interactions.

Hiring a qualified personal injury lawyer might be in your best interest if you seek some form of judgment or financial compensations. But you must be certain you have a valid case at hand before proceeding to the courts over any drug interaction situations.

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