NOV 17, 2015 11:37 AM PST

When It Comes to Drugs, Don

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
2 10 806

If you have congestion and an upset stomach, would you treat the symptoms with two different drugs? And if you had a headache before your 10am meeting, would you wash down some acetaminophens with your morning coffee? Also, if two drugs claim to do the same thing, would taking both drugs together enhance or speed up the effects? In all scenarios, you would be ingesting two different drugs that could potentially interact with each other to produce unintended consequences.

Why is it dangerous to mix drugs? Each drug compound is designed to act on a particular biological pathway or component. Mixing drugs allows multiple pathways or components to be affected at the same time. This could produce effects that would otherwise not be seen if the drugs were not taken together. The effects could be overly potent, to the point of being harmful. On the other hand, the drugs could counteract with each other, negating any health benefits from either drug.

By the FDA's estimates, nearly half of Americans have used a prescription drug in the past 30 days. So a whole lot of people are taking drugs, and perhaps have been mixing drugs without even knowing it. That's why it's more important now than ever to double check with your doctor/pharmacist and read every label before taking a drug.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUN 04, 2018
Videos
JUN 04, 2018
Making AI More Human
Machine learning or artificial intelligence is when a machine becomes able to think like a human. However, machine learning happens when thousands of choic
JUN 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUN 06, 2018
The Mechanism Behind Air Vortex Cannons
You probably have seen smoke rings blown by cigarette smokers or bubble rings from playful dolphins. But do you know that they are closely related to each
JUL 01, 2018
Videos
JUL 01, 2018
Need a good cry?
  If you’re like me, sometimes a good cry really can fix everything. And this time science actually agrees with me! There are several different
JUL 01, 2018
Videos
JUL 01, 2018
Growing Patient Cells on a Chip for Personalized Drug Screens
This work could help eliminate animal models, and tailor medicine to the patient.
JUL 18, 2018
Videos
JUL 18, 2018
Brain Differences in Men and Women
Men and women are different, of that there is no doubt. In neuroscience, there has been a lot of research into these differences, as they relate to treatin
JUL 19, 2018
Videos
JUL 19, 2018
The Transition to Multicellular Life May Have Been Simple
It may have been relatively easy for complex organisms to form from one-celled microbes, researchers suggest.
Loading Comments...