More than four billion prescriptions1 for many different types of medication were filled at pharmacies in the United States in 2014 and even more medications were distributed in hospitals and medical centers. This means that medical professionals often write multiple prescriptions for multiple clients per day. Additionally, many individuals take several different kinds of drugs for several different ailments or conditions at the same time, including over-the-counter drugs.
Because of the prevalence of medication in our society, doctors are expected to do certain research prior to prescribing or recommending certain medicines to patients. For example, doctors should always ask regarding known drug allergies and any current medications the patient is taking. If the doctor negligently fails to thoroughly examine these factors prior to writing a prescription, a patient may experience severe allergic reactions or adverse drug interactions.
Allergic reactions can be fatal
Drug allergies can be relatively minor and can cause rashes or hives but, in some cases, patients can develop anaphylaxis,2 which has serious symptoms. Some symptoms may include increased heart rate, confusion, respiratory difficulties, vomiting and diarrhea, fainting, decreased blood pressure, and more. Some drugs that commonly cause allergic reactions include the following:
- Antibiotics such as penicillin
- Iodine-related products
- Sulfa drugs
Often, an allergic reaction will not occur until the second time you took the medication as your body develops the problematic antibodies after you initially take the drug. However, if you have ever had an allergic reaction, your doctor should inquire and be aware before writing a new prescription. Often patients do not have the knowledge of medications to realize on their own that a certain prescription is related to a drug that previously caused an allergic reaction.
Common harmful drug interactions
Drug interactions can occur in many ways and cause many types of medical issues and complications. Some examples of medications that often react with other drugs include:
- Antidepressants (SSRIs)
- Blood pressure medications (Hydrochlorothiazides/HCTZs)
- Cholesterol medications (statins)
Doctors should take particular care when prescribing any of these types of medications and should thoroughly warn patients of the risks of particular combinations with other drugs, dietary supplements, or even foods. Furthermore, doctors are not the only ones who should check for potentially harmful drug interactions. If a pharmacist sees two prescriptions that may interact, they should not fill the newest prescription and should discuss the situation with the prescribing doctor.
Call a Michigan medical malpractice attorney for assistance today
The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers believe that patients should be able to trust doctors and that doctors should be held liable for any negligence that occurred. Medical professionals and hospitals have many tools in place to avoid malpractice liability, but we have the resources and knowledge to handle complex medical malpractice claims. If you believe that you have suffered unnecessary injury due to an adverse drug interaction or any other act of negligence by a medical professional, you should not hesitate to call for a free consultation at (313) 438-4357 today.