Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2000: Everything You Need to Know for Safe Drug Use


Which herbal and prescription medicine combinations could be potentially harmful? Is it advisable to get prescriptions from the Internet? Which medicines should be taken with vitamin and mineral supplements? Find out the answers to these and thousands of other pharmaceutical concerns in The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2001. This must-have edition provides more detailed and comprehensive information on the most important medicines in current use than any other reference...
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Which herbal and prescription medicine combinations could be potentially harmful? Is it advisable to get prescriptions from the Internet? Which medicines should be taken with vitamin and mineral supplements? Find out the answers to these and thousands of other pharmaceutical concerns in The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2001. This must-have edition provides more detailed and comprehensive information on the most important medicines in current use than any other reference source available to the general public.

The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2001 covers more than 2,000 brands organized into nearly 400 profiles, and includes: guidelines for safe and effective drug use, each drug's benefits and risks, possible drug interactions, extensive information on possible mild and serious adverse effects, and ways for both consumer and medical professionals to cut back on costs. Featured in this new edition are new medicines for impotence, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, pain management, osteoporosis, and more. Available without a prescription, this is a resource no one should be without.

"...includes detailed profiles of more than 300 drugs of major importance, and a 16 page, full-color insert for quick and easy drug identification. Cloth also available: R5269."

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Editorial Reviews

Charles B. Inlander
The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs is the best vehicle yet for consumers who want to be an active partner in their own health care. No home should be without a copy. —People's Medical Society)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062716132
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Series: Essential Guide Series
  • Edition description: 2000 ED
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 1216
  • Product dimensions: 6.49 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 2.29 (d)

Meet the Author

James J. Rybacki, Pharm.D. is the host and producer of ABOUT YOUR MEDICINES, a new nationally syndicated television program. Dr. Rybacki is also a national medical adviser to the American Heart Association PRT Compliance Action Program and an assistant professor at tile University of Maryland. He lives in

Maryland. James W. Long, M.D. was director of Health Services for the National Science Foundation and a member of the faculty of the George Washington School of Medicine.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: How to Use This Book

When you're ill, and finally make that decision to see your doctor, it's probably one of the worst times for you to think about the medicines you take or a new prescription. In short, a visit to your physician's office can be a disconcerting experience. In addition, the reality of "managed care" is that time has been contracted, patients are considered covered lives, and many doctors face severe time constraints. I think that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on medical errors will serve to increase awareness of systems problems in health care, but the reality will still remain that most patients will have the sense of their doctor needing-not wanting-to hurry out of the exam room to see the next patient. You may be left with a prescription for yourself or a loved one that no one told you anything-and certainly not everything-about.

I've rewritten this book to help cure Bad Med Syndrome (BMS-see Glossary) and to bring you current and important information to protect yourself and your family. I can help you become a partner in your health care and will always try to supplement the direction and guidance your doctor will offer about your medicines. This principle is also ascribed to on my web site ( via the Health On the Net Principles. Just like the site, the Guide seeks to augment, NOT to replace, the role of your doctor. Your new book is arranged into six sections. The first section offers insight into modern drug therapy and gives you helpful tips on preventing BMS. "True Breakthroughs in Medicines" will help identify new medicines that have gained FDA approval or that are the first new agents to treat an existing disease or condition. Section Two gives you detailed Drug Profiles covering more than 2,000 brand-name prescription drugs and nearly 400 widely used generic medicines. Selection of each drug is based on three criteria: the extent of its use, the urgency of the conditions it treats, and the volume and complexity of information essential to its proper use. You'll find that Profiles are arranged alphabetically by generic name. Read carefully to be sure you have the correct medicine.

Each Profile is presented in the same way and once you become familiar with the format, you'll be able to quickly find specific information on any drug. Unlike other imitators, each Essential Drug Profile contains up to 45 helpful categories of information. Let me introduce you to the other parts of your new book:

Herbal Medicines or Minerals

Because Herbal Medicines are so widely used, I developed a new section last year that included (where appropriate) important possible interactions between herbal and prescription medicines. This year I've broadened the data. You'll find that I'll tell you where combinations between herbs and prescription drugs may make sense, where they do not, and of course how to talk to your doctor before you move forward. This is a very dynamic area, and I'll update this section every year!

Year Introduced

At first glance, this may seem trivial, but remember, the longer the drug has been in general use, the more likely all of its actions are known and the less likely ongoing use will produce new problems. This will help identify those medicines that are more likely to be more fully understood both because they have been used for a longer time period and because they have also been widely used.

Drug Class

Drug classes are like families-in fact, some of the Profiles giving information about medicines from the same class have been arranged into Medication Family Profiles. Many actions, reactions, and interactions with other drugs are often shared by drugs of the same class. For example, if you are allergic to one cephalosporin, you most likely will be allergic to a second cephalosporin. By the same logic, if a medicine in a certain class has not helped you, it is likely that a second one from the same class will do you little good.

Prescription Required

Just because a medicine does not require a prescription (over-the-counter) does not mean the medicine is weak or that it is free from possible drug interactions. Remember, over the last 15 years there has been a great shift in medicines from prescription to nonprescription. Current examples include medicines for yeast infections, patches and gum to help you stop smoking, as well as ulcer medicines (histamine H2 blockers) that can also be used to prevent or treat heartburn. Virtually all of these medicines were previously available only by prescription. Always mention nonprescription medicine use when asked about the "medicines" you take.

Controlled Drug

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 assigned medicines with a potential for abuse to a specific schedule in the United States. A Canadian schedule is also given when applicable. A description of the schedules of controlled drugs is found at the back of your guide.

Available for Purchase by Generic Name

In general, costs can be greatly reduced by buying a generic equivalent of a brand-name product. The key word is "equivalent." It is important to make sure that "bioavailability and bioequivalence"-the comparative composition, quality and effectiveness of the generic versus the brandname drug product-is the same if a substitution is made. Further discussion of bioavailability and bioequivalence will be found in the Glossary, Section Five.

Brand Names

I realize that generic or chemical names of medicines can be complicated, so brand names are given to help. Brand names are listed for the United States and for Canada (a.). A combination drug (one with more than one active ingredient) is identified by [CD] following the brand name. Be careful! In some cases a name used in both the United States and Canada will represent entirely different generic drugs (in a single drug product) or a significantly different mixture of generic medicines. If you travel between the two countries, make sure that the brand-name drug contains the same generic medicine(s).

Benefits Versus Risks

Summarizes the possible pros and cons for each drug. Capital letters emphasize the drug's principal benefits and risks, while lowercase letters are used for less critical benefits and risks. One look reveals the "comparative weights" of the two columns and gives a first impression about how a drug's benefits relate to its potential risks. This is meant to help you become more circumspect in your use of medicines and is not to be the sole basis for deciding whether to use a drug. Failure to individualize drug selection and dose, and to check, encourage and follow up on how well people take their medicines (adherence) is probably the greatest weakness in current drug therapy...

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Table of Contents

Author's Note for the 2001 Edition v
Points for the Patient ix
Points for the Pharmacist xvii
Points for the Physician xxiii
Section 1
1. How to Use This Book 1
2. Guidelines for Safe and Effective Drug Use or How to Prevent Bad Med Syndrome 13
Medicines and Pharmacy on the Internet 13
Do Not 14
Do 15
Preventing Adverse Drug Reactions 17
Drugs and the Elderly 20
Measuring Drug Levels in Blood (Therapeutic Drug Monitoring) 22
3. True Breakthroughs in Medicines 25
Section 2 Drug Profiles 29
Section 3 The Leading Edge 1149
Section 4 Drug Classes 1155
Section 5 A Glossary of Drug-Related Terms 1175
Section 6 Tables of Drug Information 1193
1. Drugs That May Adversely Affect the Fetus and Newborn Infant 1195
2. Drugs That May Increase Sensitivity to the Sun (Photosensitivity) 1196
3. Drugs That May Adversely Affect Behavior 1197
4. Drugs That May Adversely Affect Vision 1199
5. Drugs That May Cause Blood Cell Dysfunction or Damage 1202
6. Drugs That May Cause Heart Dysfunction or Damage 1204
7. Drugs That May Cause Lung Dysfunction or Damage 1205
8. Drugs That May Cause Liver Dysfunction or Damage 1207
9. Drugs That May Cause Kidney Dysfunction or Damage 1209
10. Drugs That May Cause Nerve Dysfunction or Damage 1211
11. Drugs That May Adversely Affect Sexuality 1212
12. Drugs That May Interact with Alcohol 1218
13. High-Potassium Foods 1222
14. Your Personal Drug Profile 1223
15. The Medication Map 1225
16. Medicines Removed from the Market 1226
17. Helpful, Balanced, and Objective Web Sites 1227
Sources 1229
Index 1237
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