In the know: Avoid patient drug interactions

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, March 29, 2010

 Your patient may be taking multiple medications. Each of those medications could have active metabolites that interact with the other drugs and their metabolites. Your patient may also be eating a wide range of foods, taking a few over-the-counter medications, and supplementing with alternative remedies.

Don't panic. Remember these important steps:

  1. Anytime you start a patient on a new medication—or stop a current medication—you need to carefully scrutinize his or her list of current meds to look for potential interactions. As a nurse, you share this responsibility with physicians and pharmacists.
  2. Always urge your patients to forthrightly disclose everything they are taking, and teach them why they should.
  3. Always encourage patients to use a single pharmacy where they can establish a professional relationship with the pharmacist, who also will vigilantly monitor interaction risk with prescribed and over-the-counter medications using computerized drug information databases.

For more tips, check out HCPro's book, Stressed Out About Pharmacology.

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