Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cancer patients at risk for dangerous drug interactions: study

This article has a few good points, including some good advice for patients:

Ms. Kwong advises patients to:

—Always carry an up-to-date list of medications and their dosages, including over-the-counter and alternative therapies.

—Try to have prescriptions filled by the same pharmacy: electronic software will alert the druggist of potential drug interactions.

—Make sure to keep different doctors or pharmacists apprised of any changes in prescriptions.
Because of drug interactions, cancer patients can be challenging from a pharmacist perspective. However, solving these types of clinical puzzles can really show that the pharmacist is a drug information specialist.

From the Globe and Mail:
Many cancer patients are at risk for potentially dangerous drug interactions because of the number of different medications they take for multiple conditions, say Canadian researchers, who caution that steps must be taken to avoid these dicey combinations.

In a study appearing Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto found that almost 30 per cent of 405 cancer patients studied were taking drugs that put them at risk for at least one adverse drug interaction.

At least 9 per cent of the interactions could have had severe effects — including being potentially fatal — and 77 per cent were of moderate severity and could have resulted in serious health problems, the study showed. About 8 per cent of patients received duplicate medications. ...more

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