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Dangerous drug combinations

Combinations of medications, including over the counter drugs, can cause dangerous reactions, a new study reports.

The drug combination study

The researchers interviewed 2,976 American adults aged between 57 to 85 years, between June 2005 and March 2006 about which medications they routinely used.

The researchers reported that over half the adults were using five or more prescription or non prescription drugs, and one in 25 was taking potentially dangerous combinations.

What you can do

While researching this topic, I came across a youtube video from a medical student who talks about a loved one’s potential dangerous combination:

In the comments of the video, he talks about using paid services like epocrates, micromedex to check for dangerous combinations. It appears that epocrates now has a free web tool you can use. In addition, he recommends: “Medlineplus and webmd are free websites that will give you warnings to dangerous drug combinations.”.

Researcher’s comments

The most common potentially dangerous drug interactions were:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner, when taken with aspirin or garlic can result in bleeding.
  • Lisinopril, a blood pressure drug, when taken with potassium can cause abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Statins, a cholesterol lowering drug, when taken with over the counter niacin, a vitamin B can increase the risk of muscle damage.

Lead author of the study, Dima Qato from the University of Chicago said, “Patients need to know that while medications are often beneficial, they’re not always safe. If they need to self-medicate with over-the-counter or dietary supplements, they should definitely consult with their physicians or pharmacists.

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About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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