Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

When you’re taking more than one drug: Drug-drug interaction

Since his son had the flu, a friend of ours went to the local pharmacy to get a decongestant. The father asked the pharmacist’s advice on what to take. The pharmacist alertly asked what other drugs the boy was taking. When told he was on Adderall XR (for kids with Attention Deficit Disorder—ADHD), the pharmacist recommended against a certain common decongestant because of the interactions. The pharmacist recommended an alternative. There was no error in this case, because of the pharmacist’s alert question. (Thanks, CVS!)

Often, however, a pharmacist or prescribing doctor will not ask about the other drugs a patient is taking. Sometimes one drug will interact with another one in surprising and harmful ways. In the case of Saleem, it was fatal.

Advice to people taking more than one drug: Look up the possible interactions the new drug may have with other drugs, or with foods, here. Or scroll down on this blog to the Resources and Links section, on the right margin, below “About our Blogger in Chief.”

Tell your friends about this.