What about interactions with other drugs I'm taking?

Many medicines interact with other medicines. The chemical mix in one type may conflict with the mix in another and cause a reaction in your body. Some of these interactions are not very serious. But others can be extremely dangerous - even causing death. The more medicines you take, the higher the possibility that they will interact.

Even some foods can stop high blood pressure medicines from working the way they should. Some foods may even cause unwanted medicine reactions. For instance, grapefruit juice can make it hard for your liver to rid your body of certain blood pressure medicines. These medicines are called calcium channel blockers. This means that if you want to drink grapefruit juice, you should take it several hours before or several hours after your medicine.

People who have high blood pressure should not take some over-the-counter cold and flu medicines. Avoid those that contain decongestants because they can raise your blood pressure. When you have a cold, ask your pharmacist to help you pick an over-the-counter cold medicine that won't raise blood pressure.

This is why you need to always remind your doctors exactly what medicines you are already taking. You should do this especially when your doctor prescribes a new medicine. Tell your pharmacist too. Don't start taking any medicines unless your doctor recommends them. Tell them about everything you take and how much you take each day, including:

  • prescription medicines
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • herbs
  • vitamin and mineral supplements

Keep a list of all your medicines handy. That way you can add to it whenever you take something new or delete the types you no longer take. Make a copy for each of your doctors so that they can keep it in your file. To see the potential drug interactions for the medicine you take, find the name of your medicine in the list under what is the specific type of medicine I am taking?

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