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Dangerous Drug Interactions Are a Public Health Crisis

different drugs.jpgDangerous drug interactions are a considerable health crisis that can have severe, and even lethal consequences for patients. It is estimated that adverse drug reactions cause injuries to nearly 2 million people in the United States each year. Approximately 100,000 victims lose their lives. This makes adverse drug reactions a leading cause of death in the country, behind heart disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and accidents. 

When a dangerous interaction occurs, physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, and pharmacists can be held liable for negligent actions that cause harm to a patient.

The wrong combination of prescription medications can cause central serotonin syndrome, changes in mental acuity, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, hypotension, hypertension, and a wide variety of potentially lethal conditions. Prescriptions including warfarin, prednisone, and methotrexate are among the most dangerous prescriptions in America and patients taking these should be particularly cautious regarding potential interactions.     

The wrong combination of prescription medications can cause central serotonin syndrome, changes in mental acuity, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, hypotension, hypertension, and a wide variety of potentially lethal conditions. Prescriptions including warfarin, prednisone, and methotrexate are among the most dangerous prescriptions in America and patients taking these should be particularly cautious regarding potential interactions.          

The Rising Tide of Prescriptions

Physicians currently prescribe just under three billion outpatient medications each year. It is estimated that 64% of all visits to a physician results in at least one prescription. This creates a significant number of pharmaceuticals that must be accounted for and their drug interactions assessed. Patients with four or more prescriptions are at greatest risk of suffering an adverse drug interaction.   

These prescriptions alter everything from hormone levels to neurological functions. When one prescription is taken in conjunction with other drugs that can alter the systemic functions within the body, a dangerous drug interaction can occur. In minor instances, it can cause a rash, diarrhea, vomiting, or other forms of discomfort. In severe cases, it can lead to organ failure and preventable wrongful deaths.  

Duty of Care

The high rate of prescriptions in the United States means that healthcare workers must provide an advanced level of care to their patients. Healthcare providers have a duty of care to patients that includes ensuring proper administration of each drug, the proper dosage, and a thorough review of a patient's medical records for any potentially harmful drug interactions between an existing treatment regimen, allergies, or health conditions. When members of the medical team fail to properly assess and account for these factors, they can be held liable for negligence and the subsequent personal injuries or wrongful deaths their actions cause. When a dangerous drug interaction occurs, a Chicago medical malpractice attorney often helps victims and their families pursue compensation for their injuries. 

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