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The Risk of Drug Interactions and Side Effects

Did you know that in the United States alone, nearly 3 billion prescriptions are filled for medicines each year? More than 300,000 over-the-counter medicines are also available and Americans spend $14 billion per year on alternative medicines, dietary supplements, and vitamins. With the increasing use of all of these products -- often together -- the risk of drug interactions and side effects increases. To help inform consumers about the risks of drug interactions, the Council on Family Health and the Food and Drug Administration have produced a guide called "Drug Interactions: What You Should Know".

The most important thing you can do is carefully read the labels of any products you take. Also, ask your doctor or pharmacist about how any new medicine (prescription or otherwise) will interact with medicines you are already taking. To get a free copy of this booklet, write to: Federal Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009 or go to www.pueblo.gsa.gov and request item #600G.

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Created: 1/18/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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