Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
If you’re like most Americans, you probably take at least one prescription drug. According to data from the CDC, least 15 percent of us regularly take three or more medications every day. Unfortunately, these drugs will often interact with each other—and the more medications you take, the greater the risk for harmful drug interactions. Drug interactions occur when another medication, a food, or even a medical condition interferes with the intended effect of your prescription. These interactions can lessen or intensify the drug’s effects or cause harmful side effects. Pharmacists should always check for three different types of dangerous drug interactions: Drug/Drug. Interactions between prescription medications are common, but over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbal supplements or illegal drugs can also cause harm. Many patients will assume that it is always safe to take a pain reliever or vitamin, so they don’t need to tell the pharmacist that they regularly take these “harmless” drugs. Unfortunately, these medications can be just as high-risk as prescription medications, so it is vital that pharmacists complete a full medication history before any new prescriptions are given to a patient. Drug/Food. In addition to your drug history, your pharmacist should have information about your diet and be able to warn you when foods can interact with a medication. Many people are not aware that everyday foods can drastically affect a medication regimen. For example, grapefruit juice can make the effects of some medications more potent, dairy products can reduce the strength of some antibiotics, and black tea can reduce calcium absorption. Drug/Condition. Pharmacists must alert you if you have an existing medical condition that could potentially interact with your new prescription. Asthma, high blood pressure or anemia can all cause adverse reactions with certain medications. As experienced pharmacy error lawyers, we know that patients are not always aware of the side effects their medications can cause. Pharmacists have a duty to educate themselves about possible drug interactions - and to inform their customers before they administer a new product. If someone you love has suffered due to pharmacist malpractice, our board-certified dangerous drug lawyers can help. Call Kennedy Hodges today at 888-526-7616 for a free consultation on your case. Not sure if you have a case? Fill out the form on this page to receive a FREE copy of our book, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Error.