Today, more than ever before, people are taking more medications—many take multiple medications. In fact, 31 different prescription drugs are taken by the average American over the age of 65 each year, according to Newsmax Health. This staggering statistic reveals why one of the biggest threats to human health is often from the medications we take.
The truth is that medications are powerful. When pills are taken in combination, damaging side effects can occur. Sadly, this is why so many people are injured and admitted to hospitals. Dr. Ellen Kamhi, author of The Natural Medicine Chest, told Newsmax Health that “An estimated five percent of hospital admissions—more than one million per year—are due to drug side effects.”
Preventing Harmful Drug Interactions
In order to reduce the damaging side effects that can occur when multiple medications are taken, there are three people who have a role in helping to prevent drug interactions from occurring:
- Your Doctor – Before leaving your doctor’s office with a new prescription, your doctor should review all of your medications and health conditions to see if you will be at risk for any adverse drug reactions or interactions.
- Your Pharmacist – Your pharmacist also has a role in your healthcare. For example, if you have all of your pills filled at a CVS pharmacy in Houston, the pharmacist on duty has an obligation to find out if you are taking other medications that could interact with the new medication being filled. If the pharmacist fails to make sure your drugs are compatible with each other, you can suffer dangerous drug side effects and could possibly have a CVS pharmacy claim for malpractice.
- You – It is important that you play a part in your own health. Find out about the medicines you take and keep a list of all the different medicines and health conditions you have. By doing this, you will be able to help prevent potential medication-related problems such as drug interactions. Also, you should start reading every label on prescription and over-the-counter drugs so that you learn about the possible drug interactions that could be critical to your health, such as:
- Drug-drug interactions – Taking two or more medications that could react with each other may cause you dangerous side effects.
- Drug-food/beverage interactions – Drinking alcohol or taking your medication with certain beverages or food may create a reaction that can cause harm.
- Drug-condition interactions – Taking a drug that creates a reaction due to an existing medical condition can be harmful to your health.
While doctors and pharmacists should do their jobs and warn you of potential drug interactions, sometimes they fail to do so. This is why it is important to learn about the medicines you take, read the labels, and ask questions if something doesn’t seem right. As pharmaceutical malpractice attorneys, we urge you to share this article on Facebook and spread the word about this serious health topic.