The Internet has changed the way we live, work and shop. The growth of the Internet has made it possible to compare prices and buy products without ever leaving home. But when it comes to buying medicine online, it is important to be very careful. Some websites sell medicine that may not be safe to use and could put your health at risk.
Some websites that sell medicine can be not state-licensed pharmacies or aren't pharmacies at all; or may give a diagnosis that is not correct and sell medicine that is not right for you or your condition; or won't protect your personal information.
Buying your medicine online can be easy. Just make sure you do it safely.
There are more opportunities today than ever before to learn about your health and to take better care of yourself. It is also more important than ever to know about the medicines you take.
Reading the label every time you use a nonprescription or prescription drug and taking the time to learn about drug interactions may be critical to your health. You can reduce the risk of potentially harmful drug interactions and side effects with a little bit of knowledge and common sense.
Early in a drug's development, companies conduct research to detect or predict potential interactions between drugs. Experts evaluate the drug-interaction studies as part of assessing a drug's safety.
This phase of research in test tubes, known as in vitro studies, allows researchers to perform drug-interaction studies in labs by testing a drug with other drugs that have the same route. This has made the research faster and more accurate. If two drugs go through the same enzyme, the presence of one drug can prevent the metabolism of the other. So this allows you to look at the worst-case scenarios and ask: 'What if we put this drug with that one, knowing that they have the same route?'"
Not everything that happens in a test tube will become meaningful in humans, though. Results from these test-tube studies can tell us whether need to do further testing in people to find out if an interaction is clinically significant.
Health professionals also use computer systems with drug-interaction screening software, electronic prescribing, and other technology. Mark Langdorf, M.D., chair of the department of emergency medicine at the University of California, Irvine, says, "In a busy emergency room, you have to quickly find out what a patient is taking and how those drugs could interact with other treatments."
So rather than asking patients what medications they take, doctors should make the questions specific: "Are you taking any over-the-counter medication? Are you taking any herbal treatments or vitamins?"
But it is good way -- consumers remind doctors of everything they take when they are prescribed a new medication. So a patient might say: "Now remember, I'm also taking birth control pills. Is there a risk of interaction with this new medicine?"
Drug interactions with other drugs includes both prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil (amitriptyline) and Pamelor (nortriptyline) can interfere with blood pressure-lowering Catapres (clonidine). Taking the antibiotic Cipro (ciprofloxacin) with antacids lowers Cipro's effectiveness.
Some antibiotics, such as rifampin, can lower the effectiveness of birth control pills. Sildenafil, the active ingredient in the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, should not be taken with nitrates for heart treatment because of the potential for dangerously low blood pressure.
Drug interactions with dietary supplements includes herbs and vitamins, which can interact with drug-metabolizing enzymes. St. John's wort is an herb commonly used by people with cancer to improve mood, but research has shown it interferes with the metabolism of irinotecan, a standard chemotherapy treatment. Vitamin K (in dietary supplements or food) produces blood-clotting substances that may reduce the effectiveness of blood-thinning medicines like warfarin.
Examples of food with tyramine are cheese and soy sauce. Grapefruit juice should not be taken with certain blood pressure-lowering drugs or cyclosporine for the prevention of organ transplant rejection. Alcohol should not be taken with pain relievers such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen because of the increased risk of liver damage or stomach bleeding.
Before using any medicine--as with many things that you do every day--you should think through the benefits and the risks in order to make the best choice for you.
For example, every time you get into a car, there are risks---the possibility that unwanted or unexpected things could happen. You could have an accident, causing costly damage to your car, or injury to yourself or a loved one. But there are also benefits to riding in a car: you can travel farther and faster than walking, bring home more groceries from the store, and travel in cold or wet weather in greater comfort.
To obtain the benefits of riding in a car, you think through the risks. You consider the condition of your car and the road, for instance, before deciding to make that trip to the store.
The benefit and risk decision is sometimes difficult to make. The best choice depends on your particular situation. You must decide what risks you can and will accept in order to get the benefits you want.
In many situations, the expert advice of your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professionals can help you make the decision.
Important: think it through and work together with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional to better manage the benefits and risks of your medicines.
Important things is tell to your doctor about any allergies or sensitivities that you may have. Tell about anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take them.
You always have to pay attention to how you are feeling; note any changes. Write down the changes so that you can remember to tell your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional.
You have to know what to do if you experience side effects and when to notify your doctor, and know when you should notice an improvement and when to report back.