• The Hammonton Gazette

Strategies to address drug interaction side effects


Medications can produce various side effects. If side effects appear, people should contact their physicians to develop a safe, effective plan to address them. (Courtesy Photo)

Medications are utilized in various ways. Some people take medication to treat issues like headaches or the common cold, while medicine also may be used to treat serious diseases like cancer or heart disease.


Each medicine is different, but all share one common trait: the potential to produce side effects.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that the side effects of medications can range from relatively harmful nuisances like a runny nose to potentially life-threatening issues like an increased risk for heart attack. When taking prescription medications or even over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, it’s imperative that people discuss the side effects of such medicines with their physicians. Such discussions are especially important for people who are already taking other medications, as the American Academy of Family Physicians notes that adverse drug reactions are more likely to affect people who take more than three medicines per day.


People who suspect they’re experiencing side effects from medications should contact their physicians immediately. Physicians may recommend a host of strategies to treat these common side effects.


• Constipation: The health care experts at Michigan Medicine note that drinking plenty of fluids and exercising can help people overcome constipation. Doctors also may recommend incorporating more bran and whole grains into your diet. Consuming fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, including apples, beans, broccoli and prunes, also may help people overcome constipation.


• Diarrhea: The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that nearly all medicines can cause diarrhea. Foods like applesauce and rice are unlikely to lead to upset stomach, and these can be consumed when people are experiencing diarrhea. Avoiding spicy foods and foods that are high in fat also can help people overcome diarrhea.


• Headaches: Michigan Medicine indicates that headaches might appear as the body adjusts to a new medicine. As the body acclimates, headaches might lessen in severity and ultimately disappear. In the meantime, people can speak to their physicians about the safety of taking additional medicine to treat their headaches.


• Loss of appetite: The online medical resource Healthline notes that various drugs, including sleeping pills, antibiotics, blood pressure medications and diuretics, have been known to cause loss of appetite. Eating healthy snacks between meals and choosing protein-rich foods at mealtime may ensure people get enough calories, vitamins and minerals each day, even if they’re not eating as much as they used to.


• Nervousness: A feeling of nervousness or of being on edge is another potential side effect of certain medications. This may occur as the body adjusts to a new medicine. However, patients may want to discuss lower doses or even alternative medicines with their physicians.