Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2004: Everything You Need To Know For Safe Drug Use

Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2004: Everything You Need To Know For Safe Drug Use

by James J Rybacki, James W. Long

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060554101
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/02/2003
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 1424
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 2.20(d)

About the Author

James J. Rybacki, Pharm.D., is president of The Clearwater Group, an international therapeutic, professional, education, research, and management concern; a clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland; and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association's "Get with the Guidelines" program. He lives in Maryland.

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The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2004
Everything You Need To Know For Safe Drug Use

Chapter One

How to Use This Book

When you're sick 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 now or even that new prescription. A visit to your physician's office can be a disconcerting experience. The reality of health care is that time has been contracted, patients may only be considered covered lives, and health care providers 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.

Becoming a powerful patient means being well informed about the medicines you take and the goals of treatment. 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, this 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 becoming a powerful patient. "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. This section can really build up your medicine muscles (perhaps "brain" might be a better choice) and give you a basis for being a powerful patient.

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 that included (where appropriate) important possible interactions between herbal and prescription medicines. Please remember that herbal products are not regulated by the FDA as medicines. They fall under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. Powerful patients then understand that this may mean that specific products have not been well studied -- others rely on borrowed science -- and certainly that these products can interact with prescription medicines. For example, ephedra (see has had a new warning label proposed, and found the American Heart Association recommending that it be removed from nonprescription products. Accordingly, I've broadened the data in your new Guide. 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! There may also be information at that can help.

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 you 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 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 member of the cephalosporin family, 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. Pay close attention to this aspect of medicines, since this is an area that often leads to problems or lack of results.

Prescription Required

Just because a medicine does not require a prescription (over-the-counter) does not mean the medicine is weak or 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.

The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2004
Everything You Need To Know For Safe Drug Use
. Copyright © by James Rybacki. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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