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By Lauren McCoy

BATON ROUGE, LA – Whether it’s for pain or anxiety or you are just feeling sick, there are a lot of different reasons for taking medication.

“When it comes down to any medication, every medication has a side effect. When it comes down to prescription and when it comes down to over the counter medication,” said Dr. Codey Fontenot, an internist at the Baton Rouge Clinic.

How do you know if you are staying safe? In this week’s Women’s Wellness, I’m catching up with Dr. Fontenot to find out.

“Every medication I’m about to list, you should not be taking them at the same time or even near each other, and that includes pain medications that some people for chronic lower back pain and that type of stuff. That is opiates, hydrocodon, oxycodon, all of those medications, that should not be mixed in with muscle relaxers, and anti-anxiety medication that you take as needed, like Xanex,” explained Dr. Fontenot.

If you do not watch out, things can turn deadly. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the number of deaths associated with overdosing on prescription drugs continues to rise, but Dr. Fontenot said, prescription pills aren’t the only ones you need to pay attention to.

“Most doctors have their own opinions, but to me, over-the-counter medicines are easier for patients to take too much of because they don’t think of the side effects of what could happen,” said Dr. Fontenot.

What about risks for women, specifically?

“Estrogen, anything after a certain age, you might want to talk to your OB-GYN or your primary care doctor about taking that medication, long term, because it can cause side effects and increase your risks of certain cancers,” explained Dr. Fontenot.

So, how do you make sure your taking what you’re supposed to?

“I would always tell your doctor all the medications you’re taking, that’s including over-the-counter medication, herbal medications, even prescription medications from another doctor, and read the instructions if you take something over the counter,” concluded Dr. Fontenot.

Dr. Fontenot also reminds you not to drink alcohol when taking certain medications and always talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

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