Use of dangerous drug combos on the rise

Use of dangerous drug combos on the rise

"A new study suggests that older adults in the US may be using potentially deadly combinations of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements.

Investigators observed a significant increase in the proportion of adults ages 62 to 85 who were at risk of major drug-drug interactions—from 8% in 2005-2006 to 15% in 2010-2011.

Most of the combinations consisted of preventative cardiovascular medications such as antiplatelet drugs, statins, and omega-3 fish oil supplements.



The investigators identified 15 potentially life-threatening combinations of the most commonly used medications and supplements in the study.

They found that 15.1% of subjects were at risk for a potential major drug-drug interaction in 2010-2011, compared with an estimated 8.4% in 2005-2006 (P<0.001).

Dr Qato noted that more than half of the potential interactions involved a nonprescription medication or dietary supplement."

Full article in Hematology Times (free registration):

So a change from roughly one in 12 to 1 in 6 patients in just 5 years - and the study data is five years old.  This is why you should declare ALL drugs (prescribed and over the counter) and ALL supplements to your medical team.  Not doing so could cost you your life.


Photo:  It would take a lot of water to get these 'pills' down.  These hay bales are about 2 metres high...


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4 Replies

  • Good article Neil. Unfortunately it did not identify the interacting drug combinations and you must belong to the JAMA to read the source article.

  • A JAMA account is free, but I'm not sure whether the referenced paper is available free of charge. Give it a try and let us know:


  • I just got a JAMA account but the document is not free - it costs $30.

  • Paywall ... JAMA is notorious... they do however have a couple of free articles a month, but rarely ever pertaining to CLL

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