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Health Spotlight | Mixing medications can produce dangerous or deadly reactions

Health Spotlight | Mixing medications can produce dangerous or deadly reactions

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Taking more than one medication at a time is often necessary. But sometimes, medications can’t be mixed.

If they are, it causes an interaction that could be serious or even deadly.

Doctors say it happens more than you may think, leading to a quarter of a million hospitalizations each year in the U.S.

About 60% of Americans take at least one prescription medication, according to the CDC. 36% take at least three.

One thing doctors have to consider when prescribing a new medication is if it will interact with any drugs the patient is already taking.

“If the coordination of care is not done well, a drug-to-drug interaction could be overlooked,” said Dr. Weiner, a professor of medicine at the Indiana University of Medicine.

When medications interact in a negative way, it could change the effectiveness of the drug, and be dangerous for the patient.

“These drug interactions can have a wide range of effects that can range from mild to deadly,” Weiner said.

He says patients can help by doing three things.

“Know the drugs you’re taking and why you’re taking them, that’s first. Second, bring the drugs to your doctor’s visits. And third, ask your health care professionals if any of these drugs will interact with each other,” Weiner said.

Weiner said if you start a new medication or your doctor changes the dosage of one you are already taking, look for any unusual symptoms.

If you experience any, report them to your doctor quickly.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.