Honesty is the best policy when it comes to getting good healthcare. This is especially important when it comes to communicating to your healthcare practitioner about medications, including supplements, you are taking. Dishonesty, or merely hiding the truth because of embarrassment, can be deadly.
"Information about what medications — both prescription and non-prescription — you are taking is a critical part of your medical history and should always be provided to your doctor," says Abi Olulade, M.D., a board-certified family medicine doctor with Sharp HealthCare. "You should always keep a list of these with you as well, and you may even want to take a picture of the ingredient and dosing list. Medications are made up of chemicals that can interact and react with one another and this can lead to harmful and unwanted side effects.
Olulade tells Best Life: "Lying to us makes our jobs so much harder and can even lead to a wrong diagnosis because we didn't know we had to factor in the effects of a medication that you are taking."
Olulade says that patients can suffer symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and rashes that can be triggered by drug interactions.
Joseph Mosquera, M.D., a medical expert with RxSaver, tells Newsmax that lying about medications can lead to even more serious consequences. He says many of the most common medications can produce "life-threatening" interactions when not appropriately used, including blood thinners, antidepressants, sexual enhancers, anxiety medications, sleeping pills, and opioid pain medications.
“It is so important to be honest with your doctor about your consistency when taking medications,” says Mosquera. “This is due to the possibility of serious interactions that could be deadly.”
Over-the-counter supplements are often not discussed during your medical visit, and even these can trigger problems when taken with prescription medications. A common example is St John’s Wort used for depression used in conjunction with birth control pills. It can reduce the effectiveness of the pills and cause an unwanted pregnancy. A frank discussion of the abuse of addictive medications, ADHD meds, sleeping pills, and sedatives is something patients often hide from their doctors and must be addressed to ensure safety and wellbeing.
Mosquera says that shamefulness, embarrassment, and poor communication with your provider are common issues that can lead to harmful lies.
“You don’t want to land up in the ER because you were afraid to tell the truth,” he says. “A good doctor will be fully understanding of your fears and encourage you to openly communicate and volunteer the information that will help you both navigate the road to good health.”
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