allergic reaction

  1. Teens sharing too well

    We all like it when our kids share. But there are certain acts of generosity that we're not so crazy about — like the sharing of germs, bad habits… and prescription meds.

    Researchers conducted a survey of 592 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 and found that 20 percent of them share their meds, while another 20 percent admit to borrowing them. Because it's a survey, remember that this is the number that will admit to it – which means the real number is likely higher.

    Much higher.

    I'll be honest here – I wasn't surprised when I read about this in August in the Journal of Adolescent Health, but it's probably a real eye-opener for many adults – especially parents.

    The survey found that kids most often share allergy meds and powerful painkillers, but they also "prescribe" each other antibiotics, antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds, among others.

    The problem hits the kids in two ways: First, they are at risk of taking a drug that could give them an allergic reaction, side effects or worse. In fact, more than a third of the borrowers said they experienced some kind of reaction from the borrowed meds.

    Second, this habit of self-medication means some may not go to a doctor when they should, instead choosing to visit the "doctor" in the next locker or the "pharmacist" on the playground.

    So children with problems that require real attention aren't getting it, putting your kids at risk not only for their original conditions, but from the complications that come from ignoring them.

    And the survey shows that when these kids do make it to the doctor, 40 percent of them "forget" to mention the borrowed meds, putting them at risk for overdose or interactions when the doctor writes a real prescription.

    Now, it's disturbing enough that kids are doing it – but adults who should know better do it too. In fact, we're worse than the kids. Some studies have shown that up to 40 percent of adults have shared their meds.

    As a nation, we've become far too comfortable with drugs. Medications aren't a big deal to many of us – but they should be. Because so many of us take so many pills, we don't see them for what they really are: dangerous drugs with the potential for terrible side effects.

    So let's start with our kids on this one and hope they grow up with a healthier respect for the powers – and dangers – of prescription drugs. Teach them that sharing is good when it comes to school supplies, sandwiches and even opinions.

    But not when it comes to meds.

  2. Doctors ignoring drug interaction alerts when writing prescriptions

    by Dr. Alan Inglis

    There's been plenty of blame to go around as drug interactions have become a leading cause of death in the United States. We can blame Big Pharma, for cooking up these deadly cocktails that unleash havoc in our systems.

    We can blame the FDA, for showing no interest in how drugs will interact before bodies start piling up.

    But it turns out that arrogant doctors may deserve a good chunk of the blame for unleashing illnesses and deaths related to drug interactions.

    According to a new study, doctors are ignoring electronic drug interaction alerts up to 90 percent of the time!

    Researchers looked at electronic prescriptions written by more than 2,800 doctors in three states. The electronic prescription software worked as it should, displaying alerts when doctors were about to write a prescription that could cause a potentially dangerous interaction or trigger an allergic reaction.

    Doctors ignored 77 percent of the allergy alerts and 90 percent of the drug interaction alerts. Why? They decided to rely on their own judgment instead – in fact, they even seemed annoyed by the alerts.

    If this isn't the height of arrogance, I don't know what is. This system wasn't built to inconvenience doctors – it was built to save lives! And many docs, with their rushed, seven-minute appointments, just can't be bothered.

    Researchers said part of the problem was that too many alerts were being generated, and docs just stopped paying attention. The fact that so many alerts are generated is the real smoking gun here. There are literally countless ways that prescription drugs can do serious damage in your system.

    You've heard me say it before -- your real health problems often begin the minute you accept that first prescription. And once you take a second, you're playing Russian roulette.

    Before you accept any prescription, make sure your doctor fully informs you of the risks and potential interactions. We all want to assume that doctors are performing their due diligence – but this research paints a bleak picture we can't ignore.

2 Item(s)