Why You Need to Monitor Your Breast Cancer Medications

In Breast Cancer, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

Almost every breast cancer survivor has a number of medications that they take on a daily basis. Often, only a single doctor has prescribed them, but if prescribed by multiple doctors, hopefully the most recent one has taken the time to review a list of all of the others already being taken by the individual. To most people, this is all that they need to know. They believe that as long as their doctors have reviewed what they are taking and approve the combination, everything is fine. However, if this is what you believe, you might want to think again.

We must always be proactive when it comes to monitoring our medications and thoughtful when it comes to what we choose to use in combination with them.Barbara Jacoby

Every single medication has side effects. When you receive a prescription, you must take the time to read and understand what those side effects are and to heed the warnings provided. For instance, because of one of the prescriptions that I am taking, I may not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. Of course when I first read that I was shocked and surprised as grapefruit juice is suppose to be so good for you and is actually suppose to be helpful in weight loss but had I not read and followed that instruction, I would have placed myself and my health in jeopardy.

Now while your medications, in combination with one another, have been reviewed and cleared by your doctors, you may never give a single thought to what reactions may take place with over the counter medications that you might add. If you have a headache, you may reach for the usual aspirin or other medication that you habitually use without ever considering how it will interact with your prescribed medications. When you get a cold or cough or the flu, you may simply reach for the first product that you believe will relieve your symptoms. This is done without so much as a single thought about how that product may be affected or changed by other medication and how their interaction may adversely affect you.

Therefore, I strongly suggest that before you make any such selections that you contact your doctor and ask him/her what they recommend for this particular ailment as they have easy access to your medications list and can check to see the various interactions that might be created with a certain over the counter medication that you are considering. This also applies to herbal or other natural remedies that may be recommended by a holistic practitioner. Or if you are already in a drugstore or pharmacy, consult with the pharmacist on duty. Be sure to let them know all of the medications that you are currently taking so that they may assess what remedy would be best for you.

And speaking of drugstores and pharmacies, when you get home after picking up the refills of your medications or when they are delivered to you, you should carefully check each one of them to see that they are correct. Check the label to make sure that it shows the correct name of your medication. Open the bottle to check the medication itself to be sure that it looks like that which you are currently taking. And if you find any discrepancies, contact your pharmacy immediately to discuss the matter. I know that at one time the color of a medication that I had been taking was different so I contacted the pharmacy to confirm that it was the right one. I learned that it was, in fact, correct and the color change occurred because the pharmacy was using a different supplier for that same medication.

While in this case there was a perfectly logical reason for a difference, it could have been that somehow the wrong medication had accidentally gotten into my bottle. Had something like that actually occurred, it could have resulted in a life threatening if not deadly outcome. Therefore, we must always be proactive when it comes to monitoring our medications and thoughtful when it comes to what we choose to use in combination with them. It could be a matter of life and death in an area that has nothing to do with breast cancer or any other medical situation with which you may be dealing.