Amy Winehouse is Hospitalized, Again

Singer Amy Winehouse was hospitalized this week. This is one of several hospitalizations for the British singer in recent years- including those for drug and alcohol dependence, and in October 2009 for complications of breast implant surgery. This time the reason seems to be related to an adverse drug interaction.  According to her reps: “Amy took over-the-counter stuff for a cold but it didn’t agree with medication she takes for her on-going recovery. She felt rubbish when she woke on Sunday morning. A doctor came to her house and advised her to go to the hospital to make sure she was all right. She was due to stay the night.”

The take-home lesson from this is- if you are on any prescription medications:

* Consult with your physician if you want to take over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements.
* Get all your medications from the same pharmacy- This allows them to use their computerized alerts that can help you avoid adverse drug interactions.
* Look at the drug information inserts that came with your prescription, many will list what medications adversely interact with the medication.
* Use online drug interaction checkers at one of several available websites:

Note: Adverse drug interactions not only include those that can make you feel sick, but also includes interactions that can decrease the effectiveness of the medications you are taking. For instance, some antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, so you may want to take extra precautions if you are on birth control pills and get put on an antibiotic.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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