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Checking for Dangerous Drug Interactions

Posted Mar 20 2013 1:57pm

I was talking with an old friend recently who was concerned about her husband. He was in his late seventies and had had heart surgery a year ago. She was noticing that he fell asleep easily during the day and yet his doctor said he couldn't find anything wrong. A neurologist was not seen and no sleep apnea test was done. His doctor gave the man a new heart medicine and I found out that the husband was taking quite a few medications. I asked if the physician had checked to be sure there were no drug interactions and my friend didn't think the doctor had done this. I told her how often I found problems with drug interactions in patients when different doctors were seen and no one had called a phamacist to check that all the drugs could be given together. It takes time to do this and I find that unfortunately few physcians do it.

I was fortunate to have access to a special doctor's line at the UC School of Pharmacy in San Francisco and often found that the various drugs prescribed by other doctors for my patients should not be given together or had bad side effects. These can be dangerous and if your doctor does not check for drug interactions, I would suggest that each patient find a good pharmacist who will check drug interactions for you. You could save your own life or that of a family member or prevent some bad, often dangerous, side effects. 

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