Nkansah gives key tips for preventing drug interactions on Dr. Oz

Appearing on a segment of The Dr. Oz Show, Nancy Nkansah, PharmD, gave millions of TV viewers key tips on avoiding drug interactions as well as errors in the filling of their medications.

Nkansah, a faculty member in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF School of Pharmacy, noted that:

  • Even people who get medicines via mail order should fill each prescription with a local pharmacy at least once—that way the information will all be in the system for drug interaction screening. Also, they will have a community pharmacist to talk to if problems arise.
  • If possible, avoid filling prescriptions during the pharmacy’s busiest times—around noon or at the beginning of the month. The hectic atmosphere of the latter has been found to increase medication errors by as much as 25 percent, Nkansah told Oz.
  • People should “ask for at least one side effect” when picking up a prescription medication, she said: The better to be on the alert if a problem develops.
  • When picking up a prescription refill, open the bottles and check that the pills look familiar.

Asked by Oz, what people could do immediately to protect themselves against potentially dangerous drug interactions, Nkansah recommended that people write a list that includes not only all their prescription medications but also all over-the-counter drugs and supplements, including dosages and how often they are being taken.

“Keep that in your wallet, right next to your ID,” Nkansah told Oz’s audience. “That way, if there’s an emergency, we know what you’re on. Or when you go to see your doctor, he or she has an additional reminder of what you’re taking.”


Prescription Safety (Originally broadcast on December 22, 2011. That episode also contained a segment on Deadly Drug Interactions)

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.