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Multiple Health Conditions (Comorbidity)

Drugs 101 When You Have More Than One Health Condition

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  • Be sure that each doctor you see is aware of all medications, herb and supplements you take prior to prescribing a new medication and when considering side effects. This is easier to do if you keep a List of Medications, keep it up-to-date, and carry it with you all the time.  
  • If a doctor recommends a change in a drug schedule or prescribes a new drug: 
    • Contact your other doctor(s) prior to making the change. This is particularly important if the change is to one of the drugs prescribed by another doctor. 
    • Inform your other doctor(s) (by telephone, fax or email) of the suggestion and give them a chance to object before making the change. 

Having more than one health condition makes it particularly important to approach your health care as an educated consumer. For instance, consider the following tips (which are explained more fully in Drugs 101: An Overview  

  • Decide on your objectives before agreeing to take a drug.
  • Only take a drug with "Informed Consent." No medicine is without risk, whether it is prescribed by a health care provider or available over-the-counter. In fact, adverse drug reactions from "properly" prescribed drugs are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It is advisable to weigh the risks of each drug against the risk of not taking it.
  • Do your part to avoid medication errors.(For instance, check that the medicine you receive from the pharmacist looks the same as you expect it to.)
  • Avoid overmedication.
  • Always carry an up-to-date list of your medicines with you to show doctors during appointments and in case of emergency. Include over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements even though they are available without a prescription.
  • When cost is an issue, think about the money.
  • Buy drugs in the place that's best for you.
  • You may be able to get the drugs you need even if you can't afford them or even if they are not FDA approved.

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