Drug Interaction

Tips for avoiding dangerous drug interactions

The medicine you take can interact with other drugs and even some foods and drinks. Drug interactions can make your medicine less effective, cause unexpected  side effects or be harmful to your health.1

Prescription drugs can interact with:

  • Other prescriptions
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines
  • Vitamins and herbal supplements
  • Foods and drinks

To help prevent drug interactions, know as much as you can about the drugs you take and communicate openly with your doctors and pharmacists.

How to avoid drug interactions

The following tips are helpful for avoiding dangerous drug interactions:

  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and herbal supplements, and any samples you may have from other doctors. To help you get started, fill out My Medicine List (link opens in new window) (US Spanish) (link opens in new window) (Puerto Rico Spanish) (link opens in new window)
  • Ask your doctor what you need to avoid with your medication. Ask about food, beverages, dietary supplements and other drugs.2
  • Ask questions at the pharmacy. The pharmacist can clarify your doctor's instructions and may offer additional information that could help you avoid a potentially dangerous drug interaction.
  • Know all you can about the medications you take, including their brand and generic names, why you take them and any special instructions (for example, take with food or on an empty stomach).
  • Keep medications in their original containers so you can easily identify them.3

Drug Interaction Checker

If you are taking more than one medicine or need to know if certain foods will interact with your medication,  this tool will check for interactions. Don't stop taking any medicine(s) without talking to your doctor first.

To use the Drug Interaction Checker, visit the Drug Dictionary.

Sources:

1. “Drug Interactions: What You Should Know,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, last accessed October 24, 2017, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/ucm163354.htm (link opens in new window).

2. “Avoiding Drug Interactions,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, last accessed October 24, 2017, https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm096386.htm#tips (link opens in new window).

3. “Avoiding Drug Interactions.”

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