Coordination of Prescriptions – A Cautionary Tale

by Mary S on August 15, 2012

I was back home recently and had the opportunity to review my Mother’s medication routine with her and my brother.  We noticed that Mom was being prescribed Plavix to help prevent clotting, strokes and heart attacks. My brother, reading up on the drug, found that Plavix can be rendered much less effective when taken with Prilosec, a drug to reduce stomach acid.  The FDA warned against taking Plavix and Prilosec in 2009, and again 2010.  We had that in mind as we looked through the rest of Mom’s medications.  She wasn’t taking Prilosec so that didn’t look to be a problem.

Later in the day, I was at the computer updating Mom’s master list of drugs when I saw a recent addition to her drug regime called Omeprazole which was prescribed by one of her other doctors.  When I looked it up online, I found that it was a generic form of Prilosec! A quick round of calls to the doctor’s office to discuss the drugs she was taking led to the doctor taking Mom off Plavix.

This story has a happy and benign ending.  Mom didn’t have any adverse reactions to the drugs. But it could have easily gone another way.  The cause here was two different doctors treating Mom for two different issues and both prescribing drugs which may or may not interact with each other.  The doctors weren’t talking to each other, and the drug regime wasn’t coordinated.  It brings home the importance of having a medical professional review the whole landscape of drugs being taken to ensure that there are no adverse interactions. (I blogged about medication reviews last month.)  In addition, it’s good to keep track of both the generic and brand names of the medications so you recognize what’s relevant to you no matter how they’re mentioned.

Until Next Time,
–Mary

 

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