Patients are often prescribed medications for different diagnoses that they may have. Having multiple diagnoses and or aliments is not uncommon. However, in this day and age of specialization, patients are required to see a different doctor for each diagnosis. This is not only time consuming for the patient, it is also very expensive.
Most specialists charge more than general practitioners. Each doctor will prescribe medication for the patient based on that one diagnosis. If there are three different doctors all prescribing medications for a particular ailment, then the patient is placed in a dangerous situation of having possible adverse side effects from interactions of medications.
The main point is that all of the doctors must know what medications their patient is taking and be able to explain to the patient the side effects and interactions. They should also keep in contact with the other specialists, in case one doctor notices a discrepancy in medication prescribed that could cause serious side effects.
Multiple drug therapy should be beneficial to the patient not harmful. Take the drug Ultram, this drug is a mild analgesic that is prescribed for muscle aches and pains. If this drug is taken in conjunction with certain psychotropic medications a possibly fatal physiological reaction can occur.
Certain blood pressure medications such a beta-blockers act on the beta-receptors of the heart to prevent the angiotensin enzyme cascade, thereby preventing angiotensin I from complexing into angiotensin II. Once angiotensin II is formed, the release of a very strong hormone called Vasopressin enters into the blood stream causing a dangerous rise in blood pressure.
These same beta-blockers can also act on the beta-receptors of the lungs as well, causing stimulation of the Para-sympathetic nervous system, (or competition with the sympathetic nervous system) which causes fluid to build up in the lungs. Normally this side effect is rare, however, if the patient has respiratory problems to begin with, then this side effect could be very detrimental.
Patients with congestive heart failure, emphysema or chronic bronchitis should tell their doctors that they could be sensitive to beta-blockers. Beta-blockers or Beta-Adrenergic Blocking Agents block the nerve impulse transmission to the beta-receptor of the sympathetic division of the Autonomic nervous system. These receptors are found in greater numbers at the postjunctional terminals of the nerve fibers that control the heart muscle and reduce muscle tone.
These drugs include atenolol, carteolol, metoprolol, nadolol, penbutolol, pindolol, propranolol, and timolol. These drugs block postsynaptic alpha 1 adrenergic receptors resulting in a dilation of arterioles and veins resulting in lowering the blood pressure.
One may think that the doctor should know this, and it should not be the patient's burden to have to inform the doctor. It seems, however, in today's society that they patient must be very well educated regarding their own health, and doctors should pay close attention.
The public is more educated now than ever, regarding medications side effects and its purposes. This may be due to the fact that more people of advanced ages are computer literate and are able to access the many health related sites.
Patients are subjected to an information overload regarding their medications. It is up to doctors to help their patients not feel overwhelmed. They can do this by keeping the lines of communication open between specialists and knowing each medication that the patient is taking. The extra time and effort will prevent untoward side effects and possible fatal drug interactions.
Patients are also encouraged to continue with their efforts in learning all that they can regarding the medications that they are taking and to ask their doctor any questions that they may have. New medications and strict medication regimes are the key to longevity. It is up to the doctor and patient to find the best combination to ensure a long, healthy and happy life.
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