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Mixing Medications and Adverse Reactions

One of the most common forms of medical malpractice involves medication errors. Statistics indicate that pharmaceutical departments filled more than 4 million prescriptions for medications in the United States in 2014 alone. With the large number of different medications given to patients both in pharmacies and in hospitals, it is not surprising that errors are made on a regular basis. However, because of the severe risks of injury involved with medication errors, medical and pharmaceutical professionals are expected to take adequate care whenever prescribing or distributing medicine.

Questioning patients on current medications

Before doctors write a particular prescription for a patient, they should thoroughly question the patient about their medical history. This includes any possible allergies to medications, any health conditions, as well as any and all medications they are currently taking, including over-the-counter medicines. Additionally, pharmacists should check the medications you are currently on to identify any possible issues prior to filling a prescription.

Mixing medications that should not be mixed can cause many types of adverse reactions in patients, some of which may result in the need for extensive medical treatment. Adverse reactions can occur if two medications have similar active ingredients or properties as this may magnify the effects of the medications and may even lead to an overdose. Conversely, if two medications have opposite properties, they can cancel one another out and the patient does not receive the necessary benefits. Finally, combinations of certain drugs can dangerously alter nutrient and substance levels that naturally occur in the body. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that about 2 million adverse drug reactions occur every year leading to approximately 100,000 deaths.

Common dangerous drug interactions

While a wide variety of drug interactions are possible, certain medications have a higher risk for adverse interactions. The following are three common medications that can have dangerous combinations:

  • Antidepressants (SSRIs) — Can adversely interact with pain medications, antihistamines, or even St. John’s wort supplements.
  • Cholesterol medications (statins) — Should not mix with certain antibiotics, prescription oral fungal medicine, vitamin B complex, or even grapefruit juice.
  • Blood pressure medicine (HCTZ) — Can react with heart-rhythm drugs, decongestants, or glycyrrhizin.

These are only a few examples of drugs that can have adverse reactions and your doctor or pharmacist should always check for potentially adverse combinations before prescribing anything for you.

Sacramento Prescription Errors

If your doctor or pharmacist failed to check what medication you were taking before prescribing a new one and a bad reaction landed you in the hospital, you should contact a Sacramento medication error attorney as soon as possible. Call the Teal Law Group at 916-472-0003 to find out how we can help you.