Understanding how your medications could interact and how to best manage your prescriptions to avoid any negative interactions can be difficult, but the coordinated care model at The Iowa Clinic makes it easy.
by Featured Provider Benjamin Monson on Monday, April 4, 2022
For those with multiple medications across more than one prescribing doctor, it can be difficult to keep track of all the possible side effects and interactions you may be looking at. However, managing your list of medications and keeping your healthcare providers up to date on what you take and why is an incredibly important part of being your healthiest self. Let’s talk about the best ways to manage your medications and how to avoid dangerous interactions.
How Do You Manage Your Medications?
It might sound simple, but as Benjamin Monson, MD, Internal Medicine at The Iowa Clinic notes, one of the most important things a patient can do to help manage their health via medication is to have a complete list of everything they are taking.
“You’d be surprised how often that’s not the case. Especially if it’s your first visit with a new provider, having a list is a major help. Without it, it can sometimes take several days for us to obtain records from your previous providers,” Dr. Monson said.
As for what goes on that list? It’s best to include everything you take daily as well as things you may take occasionally. Things like high blood pressure medications and antidepressants should absolutely be listed, as well as any supplements or vitamins you may take. Over the counter medications should be included as well.
“Sometimes patients don’t think that over the counter medications make that big of a difference, but really, they should be considered just as important as any medication a care provider has prescribed you. No matter what you’re taking, they all have ingredients that could potentially have side effects or interact differently with a potential prescription, so there’s nothing too small to list,” Dr. Monson said.
Danger of Not Managing Your Medication Well
Unfortunately, not all medications play well together. If your healthcare providers are not aware of all the medications you are taking, they can’t prescribe the right thing to avoid potentially dangerous interactions.
“Often there are alternative medications that we can prescribe that will address the same health issues but would avoid interactions with your current medication, but we don’t know that if we aren’t aware of what you’re currently taking,” Dr. Monson notes.
Though negative interactions aren’t always common, the danger they present can be serious and real. Some medications may interact with only minor negative side effects, but others can disrupt your life or even result in potentially life-threatening interactions.
How Coordinated Care Makes Managing Your Medication Easy
For patients with multiple medications, this can seem like an overwhelming thing to account for, especially if you were prescribed these medications across multiple providers. That’s where The Iowa Clinic’s Coordinated Care model makes a major difference.
“At The Iowa Clinic all of your doctors and specialists utilize the same electronic medical record, allowing real time access to care received in other offices within The Iowa Clinic and the ability to communicate directly among doctors regarding your care,” Dr. Monson said.
This unique approach to healthcare provides unmatched communication across departments, making your life easier. Paired with the online portal that patients have 24/7 access to, the process of managing medication is simple and straightforward. Plus, the online portal gives you quick access to your care providers without requiring an appointment, which makes communicating about your care easier than ever.
“Really, we want to encourage patients to use the portal to communicate with us. If you’re considering adding a new supplement or vitamin, you can send a message through the app and get a pretty quick response,” Dr. Monson said. “It’s not the kind of thing you necessarily need to make an appointment for, but any time you have prescription medications combined with over the counter medications, it never hurts to check. We always recommend talking with your primary care provider before starting any new vitamins or supplements and being aware of possible interactions is a big part of that. The health portal makes communication that much easier.”
At the end of the day, managing multiple medications may not be the simplest process, but it’s critically important for your overall health, and the tools The Iowa Clinic has in place makes managing them safely and efficiently easier than ever. Make an appointment with an Iowa Clinic provider today.