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What You Should Know About Recent Drug Interactions and Heart Failure

Written by Berkowitz

Talking with the DoctorsThe American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement describing which drugs can exacerbate or even lead to heart failure. This statement was released in Circulation, and it was intended for physicians who treat patients with heart failure to be more informed about their medication choices – and ultimately, improve the quality of care that these patients receive.

According to the statement, patients with heart failure have a high medication burden – because they are often prescribed and taking multiple medications and complex dosing regimens on a daily basis. This only increases the likelihood of a dangerous (or even life-threatening) drug interaction. It is estimated that heart failure patients take approximately 6.8 medications per day and about 10.1 doses per day. This doesn’t include any over-the-counter (OTC) medications that have been recommended or are used as complementary medications.

The statement was more than just a quick warning. Instead, it cited numerous case studies, series, package inserts, and other relevant materials discussing which medications can lead to a myocardial toxicity or worsen an underlying myocardial dysfunction – inducing heart failure.

The AHA’s Recommendations

AHA released nine recommendations to lessen the likelihood of a dangerous drug interaction for heart failure patients. Among those was the recommendation that physicians conduct a more comprehensive medication review at each visit or admission of a heart failure patient. Patients should be asked specifics, such as the frequency, dosage, and any over-the-counter medications they are taking alongside their prescription medications. They also recommend the use of a “medication flow sheet,” which includes relevant laboratory tests.

When new medications are prescribed, physicians should weigh the benefits and risks for that patient – and determine if the benefits outweigh the interaction risks.

Drug Interactions – Are They Preventable?

Most cases of dangerous drug interactions are easily prevented. Interactions occur when one medication interferes or interacts with another – altering the way each of the drugs act inside the body. These interactions are not limited to just prescriptions – they can include the combination of prescriptions and OTCs, OTCs with other OTCs, or prescriptions with other prescriptions. There are four key things to remember if a patient wishes to avoid a dangerous interaction:

  1. Read the labels of all medications, including OTCs, to see the correct dose and any interaction warnings.
  2. Consult with a physician before combining medications with one another – even if that physician has prescribed or suggested both medications.
  3. Talk to a pharmacist before checking out the prescription to make sure that there are no interactions.
  4. Use the same pharmacy to fill all of your prescription medications – it is more likely that it will catch an interaction when all prescriptions show up in the system.

Berkowitz and Hanna LLC – Helping Victims of Malpractice and Dangerous Drugs

If you have suffered from a dangerous drug interaction, you may have options. Whether it was because of a failure of the manufacturer to properly warn or your physician’s inability to check prescriptions, you may be entitled to compensation. To explore your options, you need to speak with a Connecticut medical malpractice attorney. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Contact us online to get started.