Drug Interactions: What You Should Know | Health

Drug interactions occur when two or more drugs, supplements or substances interact with each other, affecting their effectiveness or potentially causing adverse effects. ‘Drug interaction’ sometimes comes up in conversation, at some point in time but if you’re wondering what exactly it means and why we should know about it, the National Institutes of Health only defines a drug interaction as a reaction between two (or more) drugs. does or between drugs and food, beverages or supplements.

Drug Interactions: What You Should Know (Photo by Boxed Water is great on Unsplash)
Drug Interactions: What You Should Know (Photo by Boxed Water is great on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Akhilesh Sharma, Chairman and Chief Medical Officer, Alchem ​​Laboratories highlighted that there are mainly three types of drug interactions:

• Drug-drug interaction- Interactions between two or more different drugs

• Drug-food interaction- Reactions between food and drugs

• Drug-disease interaction- A reaction to a drug caused by some disease state

He said, “Some drug interactions can cause the drug to lose its effectiveness, cause unexpected unwanted effects or sometimes increase the drug’s activity. Some drug interactions can even be fatal.” According to him, common examples of drug interactions include:

• A pain reliever Aspirin, if the patient is blood thinner, can increase the risk of bleeding, i.e., anticoagulant.

• Alcohol consumption: Taking sleeping pills increases the risk of falls; Or as the drug affects the liver, paracetamol increases the risk of liver injury.

• Consuming milk With buffering antacids, increases the risk of ‘milk alkali’ syndrome.

Talking about who is at high risk of drug interactions, he said, “Drug interactions are more likely to affect patients who do not follow the instructions of their treating physician. In addition, older adults with multiple comorbidities and receiving polypharmacy are also at risk of developing serious drug interactions. “

Explaining how to avoid drug interactions, Akhilesh Sharma advises, “In an emergency, talk openly with your doctor about all medications you are taking or intend to take as OTC and be well informed about any health problems you may be suffering from (eg, diabetes, high blood pressure). , depression etc) even if not related to consulting specialist. Herbal or nutraceutical medicines available in the market can also interact with many drugs. Strictly follow the doctor’s instructions on medicines, avoid self-medication. Read the instructions for the medications carefully and understand the drug-interactions given.

Bringing his expertise to bear on the same, Harish Ramachandran, Country Head – Clinical Effectiveness Wolters Kluwer India said, “Providing safe and effective care to every patient is at the heart of healthcare practice. However, as each patient’s needs are unique, managing their medication can be challenging. This “Especially true when patients require multiple medications to manage their conditions, which can increase the risk of drug-to-drug interactions. The complexity of prescription regimens and the variety of conditions that can cause drug-related problems make it difficult to identify potential drug interactions before they cause harm.”

He warned, “Drug interactions can seriously compromise patient safety and lead to hospitalizations, extended hospital stays, and higher medical costs. In addition, physicians face increasing pressure to optimize drug management and improve patient outcomes. Therefore, each It is important to consider the patient’s medical history, current prescriptions, allergies, and drug sensitivities when prescribing medications.”

Fortunately, evidence-based drug referral systems are now available that offer a powerful solution to address these issues, according to Harish Ramachandran. He suggested, “Using these technologies and a comprehensive database of medical knowledge and clinical practice guidelines, care providers can better identify potential risks and prevent unwanted drug interactions. This enables them to make informed decisions about medication regimens, ultimately improving patient safety.” and provide high-quality care. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, we can expect the role of technology to expand and become even more important in optimizing medication management and improving patient care.”

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