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Health Watch3

OptumRx

Jaclyn Latteri – Pharmacy Site Director

OptumRx manages prescription drug benefits for over 65 million people. OptumRx and its specialty pharmacy, BriovaRx, help people avoid the harmful interactions that can occur when taking multiple prescription drugs, over the-counter medications, vitamins or herbal supplements.

Using prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins or supplements at the same time can be dangerous. Adverse drug reactions are a serious public health issue that at many times can be avoided.

Take for example, patients using blood thinner medications. If they are using antibiotics or anti-inflammatories at the same time, it can increase the risk of a bleed. Consuming alcohol with pain medications or prescription medications such as Xanax or Valium can increase the risk of overdose and can even lead to death.

People do not think of natural supplements as a drug but they are chemicals. Take caf-feine for example. When your doctor prescribes you a medication, caffeine can have un-intended side effects on that drug. It can also impact how your body breaks down the medication.

There are many steps people can take to manage their medications. Create a list of the medications and supplements you are taking and ask your doctor if it is safe to take all of these things together. Ask about side effects, the correct time and sequence to take each medication and supplement, and what drugs should be taken with or without food.

* Share information. Let all your health care professionals know what you are tak-ing, including pharmacists, nurses and your doctors. Do not be embarrassed and hold back information.

* Stay organized. Use a dosage schedule and pill box to ensure that medications are taken in the right amount at the right time of day or night.

* Review your medications on a regular basis with your doctor to ensure they are still needed.

Your doctor and your pharmacist are always your best resources. Tell them about the prescriptions, vitamins and supplements that you are taking and ask for their feedback.

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