Millions 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Q: What should I do with outdated medicine?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.