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March 20, 2006

Medication Table - Suggested Directions
M.J. McKeown, MD, FACOG, FACS and Alexandra Andrews

There are three general areas of interaction of commonly used herbal, drug, food, supplement products; first, Direct Interactions ... intrinsic pharmacological effects; second, Pharmacodynamic Interactions ... alteration of the action of conventional medications at effector sites; third, Pharmacokinetic Interactions ... alteration of absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of conventional medications.

Many doctors are unaware of the interactions between various prescribed drugs. It is estimated that more people die each year because of adverse drug interactions than from car accidents. Many FDA advisers deciding safety and efficacy of medicines are on the payroll of drug companies. This fianancial conflict cannot be of service to the consumer. In addition, pharmaceutical companies may invent data about use or safety of their drugs, for instance Vioxx (rofecoxib) and Neurontin (gabapentin).

With little regulation or usage advice many consumers follow the ancient idea that if a little is good then more must be better. Herbs that are safe in recommended dosage amounts can become toxic and even lethal in larger amounts. An additional danger is related to the source of the herbals or supplements. Adverse reactions occur in greater degree in products imported from outside North America or Europe. Consumers also need to be cognizant of the sources of herbals and supplements and if they have any plant or pollen allergies related to any of these sources they should not use the products.

Recent studies indicate that a large percentage of patients did not inform their physicians about herbal or dietary supplement use. Accumulating evidence shows that this lack of communication can lead to potentially lethal interactions. Currently there is incomplete investigations into the interactions of supplements, herbs, foods and over the counter drugs with controlled prescription medications.

We propose the need for a the following sample medication table. This can be used to further communication between medical professional and patient.

Suggested Directions To Use Medication Table
General Comment:
This simple table is a place for you to list all the medications, herbals and food and vitamin supplements you use. That includes all prescription medications from your health care provider.
1. Medication:
Print in here the name of the prescription medication, over the counter medications, herbal, vitamin or food supplement.
2. Desired Effect:
Print in a description of what you expect the prescription medication, over the counter medications, herbal, vitamin or food supplement to do.
3. Effect Noticed:
Print in here any effect you think happened from the prescription medication, over the counter, herbal, vitamin or food supplement you take.
4. Possible Complications Noted:
Print here any possible bad effect from the prescription medication, over the counter medication, herbal, vitamin or food supplement you take.
5. Possible Medication Interaction:
Print in here any possible interactions you learn of between your prescription medications, over the counter medications, herbals, vitamins or food supplements.
Medication Desired Effect Effect Noticed Possible Complications Noted Possible Medication Interactions

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