The Pharmacist: Your Sure Guide to Proper Medication Use

“Pharmacist, I feel a throbbing headache and it seems to be affecting my eyes, I feel so weak, I feel like throwing up…” The patient said as I gave him a chair to sit down. I noticed how he was sweating profusely even with the air conditioner on full blast.

I decided to ask him a few questions

“Are you diabetic or hypertensive?”

“Are you on any medications?”

“What have you eaten in the past 24 hours?”

The patient looked at me with his hands on his head and said he was neither hypertensive or diabetic but he took the Flagyl (metronidazole) his friend gave to him because he was feeling a little discomfort in his stomach and they had to attend a party.

It began to make sense to me. So, I asked him what he had to drink at his friend’s party and he said he drank only a bottle of beer before leaving the party.

I want to tell you about a phenomenon called Disulfiram reaction

Disulfiram-Like Reaction

Disulfiram is an oral drug used for treating alcoholism (uncontrolled intake of alcohol) because it causes unpleasant symptoms when alcohol is consumed. These unpleasant symptoms include headache, palpitations, nausea, chest pain etc.

Drugs that cause this type of reaction include: Flagyl (Metronidazole), Septrin (Sulfamethoxazole + Trimetoprim) and many more. So, taking these drugs and taking alcohol is just an invitation to “trouble”.

Reasons to inform Your Pharmacist Before Taking a Medicine

Many people view a pharmacist as someone who simply dispenses drugs but that is far from the truth.

Asides the other duties of a pharmacist such as compounding and preparation of drugs, a pharmacist is a trained health care professional that advises on the safe and effective use of medicines.

A pharmacist educates on the effects (therapeutic and side effect) and mode of action of a drug (what the body does the drug and what the drug does to the body).

A pharmacist warns about drug interactions with food, other drugs and other substances.

The pharmacist tells you if taking drug A + drug B will give

An additive effect – 2 + 2 = 4

A synergistic effect – 2 + 2 = 8

An antagonistic effect – 2 + 2 = 1 (in this case it might be necessary to take another drug).

It’s a common belief that all drugs should be taken after a meal. But the pharmacist tells you if the drug(s) should be taken before a meal, during meal or after meal.

He/she goes ahead to mention the kinds of food the drug should be taken with (e.g. fatty or non-fatty meals).

The pharmacist also provides information on the dosage interval of a drug e.g. “one tablet daily (every 24 hours) or one tablet every twelve hours for three days.

You need to pay attention to the number of days you’re expected to take the medicine.

The Pharmacist even tells you the extra actions (example lifestyle changes) you can take to ensure that you get the best of your medications.

Before you take that drug, speak to your pharmacist. You will be glad you did.

Say NO to self-medication.

Your Pharmacist

Oyibo-Ebije Anthonia Nkechi