Pharmacists have many responsibilities, including providing information to patients such as a medication’s dosing amount, the timing or frequency of taking the medication and its purpose. They also prepare and dispense prescriptions.
Sometimes, patients are affected by drug interactions which can cause a medication to be less effective or cause unexpected side effects. Drug interactions generally fall into three categories.
A drug-to-drug interaction may happen when two or more drugs react with each other. This can cause side effects like drowsiness, blood pressure changes or slowed reaction times, for example.
A drug to food or beverage interaction occurs when the patient has a reaction to taking the medication and also consuming a certain food or drink. This may also occur if the patient mixes alcohol with the medication.
A drug-condition interaction may occur when a patient has an existing medical condition that makes the medication potentially harmful.
If a patient has an adverse drug interaction, he or she may assume that is caused by a pharmacy error. However, this may not be the case and there are defenses available to this type of claim.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medication labels include information about possible drug interactions. The pharmacist may not be aware that the patient is taking an OTC if the patient does not disclose that information, however. This may also apply if the patient is taking vitamins, dietary or herbal supplements.
The pharmacist may also be unaware of the patient’s health conditions, depending on the circumstances, or visits to doctors who have prescribed different medications.
An experienced attorney can provide representation to pharmacies or other businesses who are faced with a claim.