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Adverse side effects while taking medications may not always be caused by just one medication, but by an interaction between two or more medications being taken.

Interactions can occur at various levels in the metabolic process, a field which is complex and very specialized.

Information on drug/drug or drug/food interactions is provided to doctors by the drug manufacturers, medical journals and medical conferences.

Pharmacists also receive information on interactions from similar sources, plus some pharmacists subscribe to online services to alert them of potential drug interactions for their clients, as long as all the client's medications are known to that pharmacy.

The fact that drug interactions occur is not necessarily a problem, because the physician may have sound clinical reasons for prescribing a certain combination of medications, in which case dosages might need to be adjusted to compensate for any interaction. However, being aware of potential interactions can sometimes offer insights into why certain adverse reactions might be occurring.

In some cases certain foods, drinks, herbal preparations, even some over the counter medications need to be avoided due to potential interaction.

There are a number of online drug interaction checkers where one's drugs can be listed and the service will report on potential interactions.

Some examples of reliable online drug interaction checkers are: Interaction Checker

Drug Digest Interaction Checker Click on "Check Interactions"

Medscape Drug Interaction Checker

More on this topic on the Board of Pharmacy California: Medication Safety and Drug Interaction Checker Websites

Before making any changes to your medications, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
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