Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Marla Ahlgrimm on Drug Safety for Women

Marla AhlgrimmMillions of women benefit from FDA-approved medications, says retired pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm. However, when these drugs are used incorrectly, they can be dangerous and even deadly. Here, Ahlgrimm opens up on a few questions you should ask your doctor before opening a new medicine.

Q: Should I talk to my doctor if I’m planning to become pregnant before starting a new prescription?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely. Although many drugs are safe for pregnant women, there are many that can cause issues including infertility, birth defects, and fetal death. Talk to your doctor about any potential issues or if you believe you’ve become pregnant while taking any medication.

Q: What is the best way to prevent harmful interactions between medicines?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Keep a thorough list of any medications that you’re taking, including time of day and dosage. Discuss this with your pharmacist any time you pick up a new medicine. Some medication combinations may be dangerous and may negatively affect one another.

Q: Do men and women react the same to all medicines?

Marla Ahlgrimm: For the most part, men and women can take prescription and over-the-counter medication without any special circumstances related to sex. However, there are a few medicines that are metabolized differently in the female body. Ambien is one of these. In 2014, the FDA marked Ambien as the first prescription medication to be prescribed differently based on sex alone. Aspirin is another area where men and women differ. It is long been believed that low-dose aspirin may lower a person’s risk of heart attacks but new evidence suggests that it does not lower a woman’s risk in the same ways as it would a similarly healthy man.

Q: What should I do with outdated medicine?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Expired or unused medication can be returned to most local pharmacies for disposal. Never pour pills or liquid medicine into the sink or toilet is they can contaminate your public water source.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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