The Gift of Keeping a Current Personal Medication Record

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As millions of Americans prepare to travel near and far to celebrate the holidays with loved ones, there’s one item that’s essential to always take with you – a current personal medical record.

Illness and injury that require a visit to an urgent care is never an expected event. But when you need to seek urgent care, having a current personal medication record is the best gift you can give your urgent care provider – and yourself – to receive the best care possible. Dangerous drug-to-drug and food-to-drug interactions, and medication side effects mistaken for symptoms are key concerns of medical providers. Here are just a few examples.

Drug-to-Drug Interactions

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a commonly prescribed class of medication for depression. SSRIs help to boost mood by elevating serotonin in the brain. Brand name SSRIs include Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil and others. If SSRIs are taken with prescription pain medication, it may cause a potentially deadly side effect. Over the counter medications such as antihistamines, and herbal supplements like St. John’s Wart can also cause dangerous interactions with SSRIs. It is very important to tell all your health care providers if you are taking antidepressants.

Food-to-Drug Interactions

Eating foods high in Vitamin K, such as large quantities of leafy green vegetables, when taking a blood thinner like Coumadin or warfarin can cause the medication to become less effective. Another example is grapefruit juice should never be taken while on antidepressant, cholesterol-lowering, high blood pressure, seizure, and transplant medications. Doing so can cause extremely high blood levels of those medications, causing potentially life-threatening side effects.

Medication Side Effects Mistaken for Symptoms

Chronic cough is a common side effect in those taking ACE inhibitors, a type of medication used to treat high blood pressure and patients after a heart attack. If ACE inhibitor use is not disclosed and cough mistaken for a cold symptom, treating with an over-the-counter cough remedy containing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (like Aleve and Motrin) and aspirin may cause the body to retain salt and water, and decrease the effect of an ACE inhibitor.

Download, print and complete your personal medication record, compliments of Michigan Urgent Care, and carry it with you at all times. A comprehensive list of medications should include all prescription medications, herbals, vitamins, nutritional supplements, over-the-counter drugs, While over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements are not currently considered by many clinicians to be medications, they are important to include since interactions can occur with prescribed medications.

Best wishes to all for healthy and happy holidays!

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