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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How to avoid dangerous drug interactions

By Harvard Health Letters





JewishWorldReview.com | Every day, you may go through a ritual, swallowing one or more drugs to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones, prevent a heart attack or stroke, relieve pain, or slow the progression of other health conditions. Many older adults take five or more different prescription drugs a day.

Drugs are intended to treat medical conditions and help you feel better, but they can also have side effects and interactions. An estimated 100,000 Americans ages 65 and older are hospitalized each year for adverse drug reactions, according to a 2011 study in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

A more recent study in PLoS One found that about one out of every five drugs prescribed to seniors is inappropriate--it's prescribed even though it is likely to cause side effects and another drug is potentially just as effective or more effective.

"So it's important for people to be aware," says Dr. Suzanne Salamon, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate chief for clinical geriatrics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass.

DANGEROUS DRUGS

Any drug can have side effects or interact with other medications you're taking--even over-the-counter drugs and supplements. For example, aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can slow the rate at which your body removes immune-suppressing drugs like cyclosporine and heart medicines such as digoxin.

Mixing vitamin E with warfarin can cause excess bleeding. The risk of interactions is compounded when you go to several specialists, and each one prescribes a different drug (or drugs), without knowing what else you're taking.

In addition, as we age, our bodies metabolize medications at a slower rate.

"The drug hangs around in your body longer. It accumulates in your body," Dr. Salamon explains. So the effects from your first pill can stay with you even after you've taken the next dose.


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Several drugs require particular care when used in older adults. In the NEJMstudy, these were the drugs most likely to cause hospitalization:

1. Digoxin, a drug used to treat heart failure

2. Blood sugar-lowering drugs and insulin for diabetes

3. Opioid pain relievers

4. Warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner.

PREVENTING HARMFUL EFFECTS

How can you avoid drug interactions and side effects when you're taking so many different pills?

First, make sure your doctor knows exactly what you're taking, Dr. Salamon says. "My advice is to put your pills in a bag and bring them into the doctor's office," she notes. Let your primary care provider review all the drugs you're taking, including over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and medicines that were prescribed by other doctors.

Your doctor might find that some of the drugs you've been taking for years are potentially harmful, could interact with one another, or are entirely unnecessary.

"People will stay on pills for years and years because they were started for a particular condition and no one told them to get off," according to Dr. Salamon.



Here are 10 other ways to prevent medicine mishaps:

1. Every time you get a new prescription, ask your doctor what side effects it can cause and what to do if you experience those side effects. Don't rely solely on package inserts, which are often difficult to understand. 2. Ask how this new drug might interact with your other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and foods.

3. Have your doctor write down the directions for any new or updated prescriptions. Keep those instructions at home as a reference.

4. Ask your doctor to start you on a new medication at the lowest possible effective dose, to minimize the potential for side effects. If the drug doesn't work, your doctor can slowly increase the dose.

5. Keep a list of your medicines and doses with you. Make a new list each time a medicine is started or stopped or the dose changes.

6. Make sure you know how and when to take your pills. Should you take them in the morning or at night? Do you have to take them at mealtimes or without food? Should your medicines be taken together or separately?

7. If you have a complicated medicine regimen, ask your doctor to help you simplify it.

8. To keep your medicines organized, use a pillbox. Some electronic pill dispensers will remind you of when to take your pills.

9. Return to your doctor's office periodically for medicine checks, especially if you're taking drugs prone to causing side effects, such as warfarin. And if you do develop side effects, call your doctor for advice before stopping the drug.

10. To find out whether any of the medicines you're taking can interact, visit http://reference.medscape.com/drug-interactionchecker. -- Harvard Women's Health Watch

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© 2013, PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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