Understanding drug interactions is something your pharmacist, like other medical professionals, owes as part of their a duty of care to their patients. Ensuring that a drug is properly filled and dispensed is only part of their duties. Typically, pharmacists are expected to consult with prescribing physicians and counsel patients. One sometimes overlooked duty is the need to avoid drug interactions. There are six major types of drug interactions listed below. Your pharmacist must pay attention to all of them. If your pharmacist fails to do so causing you or a loved one injury, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you recover for the damages suffered.
#1. Drug-to-Drug Interactions Matter
Prescription drugs are supposed to help, not hurt. However, mixing certain drugs can affect the healing powers of one or both. Your pharmacist must be aware of whether mixing certain drugs impacts the patient in a positive or negative way.
For example, mixing blood thinners like warfarin with drugs like antifungal medications can cause serious bleeding problems. Taking a sedative and an antihistamine together can cause patients to become dangerously drowsy.
#2. Drugs Interacting with Nonprescription Treatments
Many of us take over-the-counter supplements, vitamins, and medications. It’s essential to keep your physician informed as to what OTC treatments you regularly use. Pharmacists also must be aware of potential drug interactions between OTC and prescription meds.
One common OTC medicine – ibuprofen – can reduce the effectiveness of other drugs. Sometimes drug interaction occurs when ibuprofen is taken with a diuretic. OTC drug labels often caution used about taking the drug with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), which are prescribed for depression and other medical conditions.
#3. Drugs and Food Sometimes Trigger Serious Drug Interactions
Your pharmacist might warn you about eating certain foods while taking a medication. One example involves a popular breakfast food – grapefruit.
Drinking grapefruit juice while taking statin drugs that reduce cholesterol can cause serious damage to your liver or kidneys. Pharmacists should warn patients about potential food-drug interactions. Always ask if you are unsure.
#4. Drug and Alcohol Don’t Always Mix
Many medications absolutely should not be taken while consuming alcoholic beverages. The combination can cause unintended drug interactions and affect your ability to function.
Pharmacists can alert patients to the dangers of drug interactions with alcohol through counseling and drug label warnings.
#5. Drug-to-Disease Reactions Can Occur
Here, again, we expect drugs to help treat or control disease. But the opposite can happen when prescribers and physicians don’t pay attention.
For example, steroids can increase blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Also, decongestants can raise blood pressure, which could be hazardous for people who already suffer from high blood pressure.
#6. Drug Interactions Can Affect Laboratory Tests
Doctors, pharmacists, and lab techs should also be aware of how certain drugs affect your lab tests. But such interactions might not just affect the results. Also, medical treatment based on erroneous lab tests could result in misdiagnosis or underdiagnosis.
Have You Been Harmed by Preventable Drug Interactions?
If you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you need help from top-rated, hard-working representation. At Shapiro | Delgado, our attorneys put their injury law experience to work for you. And we handle cases on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do.
We represent clients throughout Florida, including Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, and surrounding communities.
To set up a free personal consultation, call 941-954-4000 or use our convenient online contact form.
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