If you are taking more than one prescription, pay close attention ... mixing medications can be dangerous, even deadly.
Anna Nicole Smith died from taking a combination of different prescription drugs. The coroner's report said Smith, "accidentally overdosed on a powerful sedative that became lethal when mixed with nine other prescription drugs." Click here to read the full coroner's report.
Smith's death sent the nation into shock, but how she died isn't as uncommon as you may think. In fact adverse drug reactions or negative side effects are leading cause of accidental death in the U.S..
Although Smith was only 39 when she died, people over 50 are at high risk of adverse drug reactions.
Local Pharmacist Greg Hines said as your age increases, so does the number of prescriptions you take.
"People, as they get older don't think clearly sometimes. They are like did I take my prescription this morning or should I take it again this afternoon," Hines said.
Studies indicate the odds of having a negative side effect puts the elderly at four times the risk of being hospitalized with problems.
"People that take many, many medications are already a health compromise so their health isn't great to begin with," Hines explained. "A drug is a drug."
A simple ache or pain treated with an over the counter product while taking a number of other prescriptions could become dangerous, even if taken correctly.
"Don't just say it's over the counter, it won't hurt me. They can hurt you just as much as a prescription can," Hines said.
He also said most of his patients get their prescriptions filled at his family-pharmacy only and it helps keep their health records on track.
"If you get three prescriptions from different doctors the pharmacists has all your information in their system so they can check drug interactions or duplications," Hines said, but today people have several different doctors prescribing a number of drugs to patients who may get them filled at different locations.
"Contact a doctor or pharmacists. Anytime you visit take a complete list of medications they are taking both over the counter and prescription to make sure there are no problems," Hines said.
It may seem like a hassle at first, but you never know when double checking , could make a huge difference in your life.
For nine reasons older adults are more likely than young adults to have negative side effects, click here.
Drug interaction is a big danger in America. In fact, adverse drug reactions called ADRs in the health industry, are one of the leading causes of death in health care. The Food and Drug Administration estimates 100,000 people die each year from adverse drug reactions. To find out more about adverse drug reactions, click here