CANCER: Take Care When Mixing Meds
Multiple meds make for mix-up mayhem
A Canadian research project emphasizes the dangers of medication interaction in cancer patients, which is exacerbated by the large number of meds cancer patients tend to take. Researchers at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital asked 406 patients to list all the medications they’d taken in the previous four weeks, including those for side effects and other ailments, as well as their cancer. An analysis found at least one potential drug interaction in almost a third of the cases. Seventy-seven percent of the interactions posed a serious health risk; about nine percent were potentially fatal.
“We suggest that patients at high risk…be routinely screened for potential drug interactions,” the study authors wrote in findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Medication databases and electronic prescription programs, they noted, “could help health professionals to identify dangerous drug combinations.”