Sites That Help the Medicine Go Down
Surfing for data on drug interactions and how to buy from online pharmacies might make you feel better.
By MICHELLE MALTAIS LA Times
Although the Web could feed an acute case of hypochondria. Of course, what's online is supplemental and should not take the place of a
Has your doctor prescribed a new medication? You can check for potential
interactions with other drugs or even foods at http://www.drugchecker.drkoop.com. For example, if you take Cozaar, a blood pressure medication, you'll find that there's a "medium food interaction" with grapefruit juice, which the site says hinders metabolism of the drug.
Ordering and buying medication online is convenient but does require caution. The Food and Drug Administration
http://www.fda.gov/oc/buyonline/default.htm offers guidelines on
determining who's a reputable seller on the Web and how to detect fraud.
Along the same lines, you can go to
http://www.nabp.net/vipps/consumer/listall.asp, the National Assn. of Boards of Pharmacy's site. The NABP is a professional association representing the state boards of pharmacy in all 50 states. After you indicate whether you're looking for over-the-counter remedies, prescription medications or medical devices, the site brings up a list of online pharmacies.
You also can verify the licenses of bricks-and-mortar pharmacies in
California at http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov. By clicking on License
Verification, you can check the status of an establishment and find out
whether it has been the subject of disciplinary action.
If you are into having needles stuck all over your body, you can visit
http://www.cmbm.org/resources/links.html for links to acupuncture as well as other alternative-medicine sites. Links to specific types of alternative
approaches also are at http://health.yahoo.com/health/alternative_medicineThe Web also makes it easier to connect with clinical trials and experimental treatments. Check out Yahoo Health's section at
http://health.yahoo.com/health/clinical_trials. You can search by specific
condition or select the category of illness to get a list of links to related studies throughout the country.
At WebMD (http://my.webmd.com/clinical_trials), you'll find an international
listing of more than 7,500 clinical trials recruiting patients. It also lists
U.S. government-funded trials and drug treatments recently approved by the FDA.
Michelle Maltais is a broadcast producer and copy editor at The Times (LA).