When she feels the symptoms of a migraine coming on, the woman takes an over-the-counter pain reliever instead of her prescription.
That's the wrong approach, said Michael Barton, a pharmacist at LDS Hospital who took calls along with pharmacist Cindy Nielson Saturday during the Intermountain Health Care/Deseret News Healthcare Hotline.Barton told the woman she shouldn't wait until she has a full-blown migraine to take her Midrin. The over-the-counter medication she is taking may actually reduce the effectiveness of her pre-scrip-tion.
Instead, she should take the Midrin when the symptoms first start to appear.
Those kinds of questions are important ones to ask because people need to be smart consumers, said Nielson, who works in the hospital's cardiology unit.
Nielson says it's important that patients tell their physicians about all the prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies they are consuming. Then they should develop a continuous relationship with one pharmacist, who can inform them about side effects and drug interactions.
Barton and Nielsen answered about 20 calls Saturday from people throughout the state about prescriptions and other pharmacy-related topics during the two-hour hotline.
On female caller had stopped taking her Prozac pill every day. Because she was feeling so well, she began taking it only every other day.
"That's a common thing that happens with people with depression," Barton said. "They feel better and they want to stop taking their medications."
The woman said she had begun to feel depressed and had trouble sleeping at night. As in many cases when there are questions about drug selection, Barton suggested the woman visit with her doctor.
Other callers expressed concern about taking multiple prescriptions simultaneously. Interactions do occur and are one of the reasons patients need to disclose all medications to doctors and pharmacists, Nielson said. For example, over-the-counter antacids, like Maalox, can interfere with certain prescribed drugs and make them ineffective. By timing when the medicines are taken, that problem can be avoided, Nielson said.