Be Informed About The Medications You Take

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The recent withdrawal of the prescription drugs Vioxx and Bextra have arthritis patients concerned about their health, lawyers busy with lawsuits, and Congress poring over thousands of pages of documents obtained from the manufacturer. The drugs, part of a family of medications known as COX-2 inhibitors, have recently been shown to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes among users who take the drugs for long periods of time. These findings have more and more people starting to pay more attention to the drugs that are prescribed for them.

Many people, when ill, see their doctor and ask them to prescribe something that will make them feel better. When appropriate, their physicians will do so, and the patients typically run down to their pharmacy to get that prescription filled. They then take their medication as prescribed, usually without giving it much thought. This is probably not wise, especially in view of the recent findings with Bextra and Vioxx. Patients would be well advised to become more informed about the medications prescribed for them. Here are some things you can do to be more informed about the medicines you take:

  • Ask your doctor questions. Make sure he or she knows about any allergies you might have to particular medications. Ask if there is anything important you should know about the drug, its use, or its side effects.
  • Ask your pharmacist if there is anything you should know before taking the medication. Does it interact with other medications? Are there any known risks associated with taking that particular drug?
  • Read any documentation that comes with your prescription. Many pharmacies include lengthy information sheets that discuss the drug, side effects, prescribing information and more. That information is useful. Read it.
  • Go online and find the manufacturer's Website. Many drug companies establish Websites devoted to particular medications. There you can find detailed information covering just about anything you'd care to know about the drug, including the results of test studies and the likelihood of particular side effects.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has some fairly strict standards regarding prescription medications that are brought to market. It is unlikely that any medications currently offered for sale are patently unsafe. Still, one can always benefit from staying informed. The more you know, the safer you are. If your doctor prescribes a medication for you, learn about it. It can only help.

    ?Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including, a site devoted to the withdrawn drug Bextra and, a site devoted to structured settlements.

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