The Dr. Oz Show
Air date: December 22, 2011
Deadly Drug Interactions: Are Your Meds Putting You at Risk?
- Three mistakes people make at the pharmacy
- Can a hormone sent from the bones be contributing to weight gain?
- Seaweed: the ultimate longevity food
- Healthier pancakes from a top chef
Can mixing your medications kill you? 1.3 million people are at risk of death by mixing medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed. What is meant to treat an illness is killing more people each year in the U.S. than traffic accidents. The more medications you take, the greater your risk of harm.
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Taking antacids together with antibiotics will weaken the antibiotics. Cheese and processed meats eaten while taking anti-depressants can create a dangerous combination.
Dr. Oz asked his audience to bring in their pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications and place them in a brown bag to be studied.
The most prevalent medication in the audience's brown bags was anti-depressants. Twenty-seven million people nationwide take anti-depressant, they are the most commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals.
Mixing anti-depressants with over-the-counter pain medications may effect the heart and may cause serotonin syndrome. Dr. Oz illustrated serotonin syndrome with the game Boggle to show how the brain controls words and information. When you take a serotonin-effecting pharmaceutical, he says, and mix it with pain relievers, those words get mixed up. Surprisingly, 85% of doctors do not know how to diagnose serotonin syndrome.
Anti-histamines are commonly used but taking them while taking prescription anti-depressants can prolong the effects of each medications and may cause the user to fall asleep while driving. Supplements, too, can cause interactions. St. John's Wort can cause heighten the effects of anti-depressant medications.
Denise, from the audience, shared that has been taking blood pressure medications for three years and the only information she was told was to stay away from sunlight. She didn't know why and neither did Dr Oz.
Dr. Oz explained that blood pressure and heart issues go together. Normally, electrolytes make it possible for the heart to relax after a strong contraction but with a mix of the wrong medications, the heart cannot relax as it should instead an irregular rhythm may develop which can be serious. Diuretics removes not only water but also electrolytes – including potassium. The heart needs potassium to relax.
Decongestants reduces the efficacy of diuretics.
Licorice glycerin combined with a diuretic can cause muscle to seize and freeze. Imagine if your lungs froze up?
Cholesterol lowering medications come with many warnings. The audience member brought up on stage for this segment couldn't remember the side-effects associated with the statin she was prescribed.
Medications for fungal and yeast infections mixed with statins can lead to muscle damage. A common side-effect of statins is muscle soreness. B-Complex vitamins and grapefruit juice can interact with statins contributing to muscle damage.
The kidneys filter medications and muscle damage from statins can lead to toxic injury to the kidneys. Pieces of damaged muscle can rip through the kidneys and they can not longer filter.
Dr. Oz says that we have to own the responsibility to know about what we are taking, understand the effect of prescribed and over-the-counter medications, learn how pharmaceuticals may interact with over-the-counter medications and food.
Three Mistakes People Make at the Pharmacy
Over 51.5 million errors in filling prescriptions happen each year in the U.S. Nancy Nkansah, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor of Pharmacy at UCSF School of Pharmacy shares with Dr. Oz that the most important thing to do regarding filling a prescription is to have it filled, at least once, at a local pharmacist. With the increase in online pharmacies, people are not using a local pharmacist as much. A local pharmacist is able to keep all your medications on file.
Drs. Nkansah and Oz recommend utilizing your local pharmacist who, by law, are available to provide free information regarding health concerns as well as medications and their potential side-effects and interactions.
Pharmacy Mistake #1 – Going to the Pharmacy at the beginning of the month
The first week of the month is the busiest for pharmacies. Error rates at pharmacies go up by 25% at this time. Instead go near the middle of the month or second week of the month.
Mid-day is busiest time of day at a pharmacy. Instead go in the morning and at the end of the day. Dr. Oz says the best time to go is 20 minutes after the pharmacy opens or 20 minutes before the pharmacy closes.
Pharmacy Mistake #2 – Not asking for side-effects
Doctors are busy and may not explain what prescribed medications are for and often do not discuss side-effects. [Isn't this a huge failing of the medical industry. Why aren't doctors telling their patients what a medication is being prescribed for and discussing the possible interactions. To me, this is another sign of doctors and patients not establishing or maintaining and open conversation about health.]
Dr. Nkansah recommends asking your pharmacist what the medication is for, how it works and to discuss at least one side-effect.
Pharmacy Mistake #3 – Not checking medications before leaving the pharmacy
Dr. Nkansah encourages viewers to check medications before leaving the pharmacy especially when picking up a refill. Always open the bottles and look at the pills before leaving. [I would add, read the medication label before leaving the pharmacy.]
Both Dr. Oz and Dr. Nkansah encourage viewers to make a list of all medications and keep it in your wallet, include all over-the-counter medications and supplements along with the dosage and how often they are taken. Keep this list handy in case of emergency and to utilize when you see your doctor [or pick-up a prescription] to discuss possible side-effects. You are the only one who will know what you're taking.
Dr. Oz wants viewers to utilize the Drug Interaction Checker on his website to begin looking into possible interactions with pharmaceuticals.
[Dr. Nkansah appeared on The Dr. Oz Show in January 2011 for a segment on the top most misused over-the-counter. See the segment on UCSF's website, here.]
Are Your Bones Making You Fat?
Debbie is Dr. Oz's assistant for this segment. She eats out often and struggles with gaining weight from eating out regularly.
My bones are big, that's why I'm overweight. Plausible? Or an excuse?
Our bones are filled with marrow. Red blood cells are formed in the marrow and that is where fat is stored. Fat cells secrete a hormone called leptin that tells the brain we don't need to eat anymore.
If you're at a healthy weight, the leptin release and response system is working properly. Eat when you're hungry and stop when your satisfied.
When the weight starts tipping the cells more fat is stored in the marrow of the bone. That extra fat in the bones causing a miscommunication between the leptin system and the brain – the brain does not hear the message to stop eating.
Taking off some weight can allow the brain to better understand those messages sent from the leptin system. Beginning to lose weight can provide benefit all organs which improves overall functioning and can lead to feeling better.
Dr. Oz recommends making a snack pack of pumpkin seeds cashews and dried figs to provide Vitamin K2 and potassium to support healthy bones.
Miracle Food From The Ocean
Dr. Oz says that mineral rich greens from the sea may be linked to supporting the body through cancer. Antiaging expert, Maoshing Ni, doctor of Chinese medicine, says that seaweed is the ultimate longevity and food.
The island of Okinowa is known for its centenarians and it's believed that their intake of seaweed is contributing to their long life. Seaweed is not only an Asian food, in Ireland and Scotland they make it into flat bread.
Nori is valuable to the skin. One sheet of nori has more omega-3 than two whole avocados. Find nori in health food stores and grocery stores in sheets or in small snack sizes. Nori also supports healthy inflammation levels.
[Annie Chun's has a fabulous seaweed snack. Little sheets of seaweed with a little salt and toasted sesame oil, yum! My kids gobble them up. My kids will also eat sheets of nori straight up.]
Dr. Ni prepared a Nori Vegetable Roll that looked amazing. [My kids and I will make big batches of sushi with avocado, carrots, and shrimp.]
- 1 sheet of Nori
- Brown Rice
- Carrots (shredded)
- Celery (shredded)
Cover the sheet with brown rice, layer with the shredded carrots, celery and avocado. Roll up and dip into sesame oil or water.
Wakame is known as the women's seaweed because it helps the body cope with bloating. Wakame contains calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin B6 which is a diuretic and effective for bloating.
Dr Ni recommends enjoying wakame with cucumber and vinaigrette dressing. [I keep a bag of wakame in the cupboard and add it to miso soup. Delicious.]
Kombu, often called a Chinese herb, is commonly utilized weight loss programs. Kombu is packed full of iodine which supports thyroid function and has an enzyme that supports metabolism. Fiber in kombu helps you to fill full.
Dr. Ni made a batch of Dashi, a broth from kombu. Put four cups of water in a pot over low heat and add an 8-inch strip of kombu, cut in half. Soak the kombu in water for 30 minutes.
Eat Yourself Thin
Chef Sam Talbot's, Executive Chef of Imperial No. Nine and author of The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries, joined Dr. Oz to share his recipe for Lemon Ricotta Healthy Hotcakes.
Chef Talbot began cooking at age 12 when he was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes. He was inspired to learn how to cook to better understand how to incorporate healthy and flavorful foods into this diet.
Using whole wheat flour, stevia and agave these hotcakes are healthier and half the carbohydrates than many traditional hotcakes.
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