It's back to school time so it's the perfect time to talk about "brown bagging" it. However, instead of brown bagging your lunch we mean brown bagging your medications for review.
What is a brown bag medication review?
Fill a bag with all the prescription medications, supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter medications that you take even if they are only occasionally used. Take the bag to your pharmacist for a brown bag medication review. Schedule an appointment first, since it may take take 30 minutes or more. The pharmacist will review your entire collection to improve your knowledge and usage of your medicines, identify clinical problems, and identify the drug groups most likely to cause problems.
Conducting a brown bag comprehensive medication review regularly can significantly protect your health. Most medications when taken on their own are fine but a cocktail of different medications can be counter productive or very harmful. For example, medications for urinary incontinence (which block the cholinergic system) should not be used together with medications for Alzheimer’s disease (which stimulate the cholinergic system).
One prominent 'brown bag" study found the following for the participants:
- 12% were in danger of experiencing life-threatening situations.
- Nearly 70% had issues that needed to be addressed through changing their medication or how they used it.
- Only 31% understood their medications, were using them correctly, and were not taking medications that may adversely interact with one another.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 100,000 Americans die from reactions to prescription drugs each year, making this the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.
Medication management, which includes regular brown bag reviews, is extremely important. In fact, the Affordable Care Act now specifies that an annual Comprehensive Medication Review (CMR) is provided as part of all Medicare Part D programs.
So, it's time to brown bag it and we're not talking a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you or someone you know have not had a recent comprehensive medication review by your pharmacist we encourage you to schedule an appointment today. Furthermore, make sure every doctor you see knows every medication and supplement you are taking. Not only do medications and supplements interact with each other, they also interact with many foods and drinks.
Now, what's for lunch?