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Harmful Effects of Medicines on the Adult Digestive System
Part 1: Overview
 More of this Feature
• Part 2: The Esophagus
• Part 3: The Stomach
• Part 4: The Intestine
• Part 5: The Liver
• Part 6: Glossary of Medicines

Many medicines taken by mouth may affect the digestive system. These medicines include prescription (those ordered by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacist) and nonprescription or over-the-counter (OTC) products. A glossary at the end of this fact sheet describes some common prescription and nonprescription medicines discussed below that may affect the digestive system.

Although these medicines usually are safe and effective, harmful effects may occur in some people. OTC's typically do not cause serious side effects when taken as directed on the product's label. It is important to read the label to find out the ingredients, side effects, warnings, and when to consult a doctor.

Always talk with your doctor before taking a medicine for the first time and before adding any new medicines to those you already are taking. Tell the doctor about all other medicines (prescription and OTC's) you are taking. Certain medicines taken together may interact and cause harmful side effects. In addition, tell the doctor about any allergies or sensitivities to foods and medicines and about any medical conditions you may have such as diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disease.

Be sure that you understand all directions for taking the medicine, including dose and schedule, possible interactions with food, alcohol, and other medicines, side effects, and warnings. If you are an older adult read all directions carefully and ask your doctor questions about the medicine. As you get older, you may be more susceptible to drug interactions that cause side effects.

People with a food intolerance such as gluten intolerance should make sure their medicines do not contain fillers or additives with gluten. Check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your medicines. Follow the doctor's orders carefully, and immediately report any unusual symptoms or the warning signs described on the following pages.

Next page > The Esophagus > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Back to Digestive Basics Index

Information taken from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

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