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Dangerous Drug Combinations Polypharmacy

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Dangerous Drug Combinations Polypharmacy

Dangerous Drug Combinations You Should Not Be Taking

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that 1 in 25 people in their late 50s fall into the high risk group of seniors who could possibly be affected by polypharmacy.

Polypharmacy literally means “many drugs”; the term refers to problems that arise from taking dangerous concoctions of prescription and/or over the counter medicines.

The Dangers Of Polypharmacy

Most patients who are aware of the problems caused by polypharmacy, chose to visit the same doctor for all prescriptions. While this is certainly good practice, another often overlooked factor is that mixing certain over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements can also wreak havoc with the body’s internal organs.

5 Dangerous Drug Combinations:

  • Warfarin and Simvastatin (Zocor): Taking both of these drugs can lead to an increased risk of bleeding ulcers, rectal bleeding, easy bruising, muscle pain and muscle tissue damage.
  • Niacin and Simvastatin (Zocor) or Atorvastatin (Lipitor): This mix of drugs can cause an increased risk of muscle pain or muscle tissue death.
  • Lisinpril (Zestril, Prinivil) and Potassium: This can lead to an increased risk of hyperkalemia, a dangerous elevation of potassium that can lead to heart attacks or even death.
  • Ginkgo and Aspirin: Can cause increased risk of bleeding problems.
  • Garlic Pills and Warfarin: Can cause increased risk of bleeding problems.

What to do?

Obtain all your prescription medicines at the same pharmacy or pharmacy chain. A computer software program will cross-check your medications and make sure none of them cause dangerous interactions.

Currently there is no universal database shared by all pharmacies, however Google are working on a medical database that would store the records of all US patients.

Purchase all your over-the-counter medicines at a pharmacy counter of a drug store. This should remind you to check with the pharmacist that your chosen medicine is safe to take with any other medications you might be taking.

Always tell you doctor exactly what medications you are taking, even over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements. Your doctor will also be able to give detailed information about which medications are safe to take with others.

There is also a government-run website called Medline Plus Database which lists drugs and supplements that do not mix.

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