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How Safe is My Medication Cocktail?

Kristin discovers that no one may be monitoring her drug interactions ... except her.

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As suspected, I've fallen in love with my pretty new turquoise iPhone.  My infatuation is a combination of the power of making the sleek white phone turquoise (my favorite color) and customizing it to my heart's content with all of the apps.  Confession:  the first night I had it, I hid under the covers downloading apps while my boyfriend slept.

App Count:  Boyfriend, 3.  Kristin, 25.

I discovered this Medscape app from WebMD (iTunes link) that enables you to check your medication interactions.  Recently my pain specialist and I have been toying with the idea of taking me off of my opioid pain patch and she suggested trying me on Cymbalta again.  I reminded her that I didn't like Cymbalta the first time because it made me sleepy and she suggested that it may not have been a side effect, but may in fact have been an interaction with one of my medications.  She then suggested we have my pharmacy research the interactions when the time comes for me to come off the pain patch and take Cymbalta again.  When the time comes?  I would rather know now if there's a risk, before I decide to alter my medications, thank you very much.

So, thanks to my cool Medscape app, I did a little investigating of my own.  It turns out that Cymbalta could have a "serious or life-threatening interaction" with one of my must-take-every-day narcolepsy medications.  I also discovered several other "significant" or "serious" interactions amongst my other medications that I will report back to my rheumatologist, pain specialist, and GI specialist.

This has me thinking:  Who is responsible for making sure my medication cocktail is safe?  Who is going to help me sort out side effects versus symptoms?  My doctors apparently aren't checking each and every medication (even though I give them my medication list at every visit).

This has me thinking:  Who is responsible for making sure my medication cocktail is safe?  Who is going to help me sort out side effects versus symptoms?  My doctors apparently aren't checking each and every medication (even though I give them my medication list at every visit).  My pain specialist said we would have to make a special request of the pharmacist to look into the interactions.

I've scared myself into taking responsibility for an aspect of my health care that I thought someone else was managing.  It just goes to show that only one person is in charge of your health care -- you.  It's always you.

And that's a tough pill to swallow when some of your pills are making you sick.

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