Medication Management

Over-medication or medication interaction occurs when more than one drug is taken and one interferes with the other. This may take the form of either impairing or enhancing the normal breakdown of a drug by enzymes in the body. As a result, one drug may cause another to be ineffective. Conversely, the action of one drug may lead to high and even toxic levels of another. The result can be serious and even life-threatening. Drug interactions may also result by taking over-the-counter (OTC) medication along with another drug prescribed by your doctor.


To prevent over-medication and/or medication interaction, the Mayo Clinic suggests:


  • Be sure you know what medications you are taking and the reason for each.
  • Inform your physician and pharmacist of all medications you take, whether they are by prescription or Over-the-counter (OTC).
  • Be sure any medical specialists (i.e. diabetic, cardiac) are informed about all your medications.
  • Do not add an OTC drug without checking for potential interactions.
  • If possible, have all your prescription drugs filled by one pharmacy, where information is kept that will enable the pharmacy staff to check for any possible drug interactions when a new medication is prescribed.
  • Always read the printed material that you should receive when a prescription is filled or refilled. Do not assume the instructions on refills will not change; as new interactions and problems are recognized, the printed information may change.

And if you are uncertain about any aspect of a medication you are taking, consult you physician or pharmacist. You owe it to yourself.


(Originally published in the Newsletter dated May 8, 2007)

Reviewed April 2017

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