It is widely known in Ohio that some drugs should not be taken alongside other drugs. This situation is known as contraindication, and it can lead to drug injuries that can sometimes be deadly. When one prescription drug is contraindicated with another, a pharmacist should alert the patient before filling the prescription. The pharmacist should also contact the prescribing doctor to see if he or she is aware of the contraindication. However, a recent study shows that this rarely happens.
A newspaper, in cooperation with the nation’s top experts on drug interactions, spent two years testing pharmacies, both independents and big chains. The doctors sent reporters into the pharmacies with pairs of prescription combinations that are well known for life-threatening interactions. For example, an antibiotic taken with an anti-cholesterol drug can cause kidney failure and death. More than half of the pharmacies filled the prescriptions without warning the patients or contacting the physicians about the potentially lethal combination.
Since many people, especially elderly, frequently take multiple medications at once, having a safeguard at the drug store is vital. Nevertheless, the nation’s biggest pharmacy, CVS, scored lowest with 63 percent of the dangerous prescription combinations filled without alerting the patient. Some of the pharmacies that responded to the survey admitted that they are pressured to fill prescriptions quickly, like a fast food restaurant, and that safety precautions are often overlooked.
Many of the pharmacies involved in the test promised immediate changes, updated software and comprehensive training. However, it only takes one careless pharmacist to dispense a lethal prescription combination. Anyone in Ohio who suffered drug injuries or who lost a love one after taking contraindicated medications would benefit from contacting an attorney for help and guidance.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Pharmacies miss half of dangerous drug combinations“, Sam Roe, Ray Long, Karisa King, Dec. 15, 2016