NOV 17, 2015 11:37 AM PST

When It Comes to Drugs, Don

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

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
OCT 10, 2018
Videos
OCT 10, 2018
It Matters How Young You Start Using Cannabis
If the brain's endocannabinoid system is constantly disrupted with cannabis while developing it can affect mood, motivation, learning and how memo...
OCT 14, 2018
Videos
OCT 14, 2018
Why Don't Salt Substitutes Exist?
The basic table salt is composed of sodium chloride which dissociate into two separate ions: sodium serving as the cation (a positively charged ion) and ch...
OCT 23, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 23, 2018
Will This Technology Prevent Future Shark Attacks?
  The frequency of great white shark attacks is thought to be over-estimated by a magnitude of 10 to 100 times, but despite what any shark expert want...
OCT 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 24, 2018
How to Protect Astronauts from Space Radiation
For every second, the solar wind blasts the Earth with millions of billions of high energy particles, and thanks to the magnetosphere of our planet, the ma...
OCT 24, 2018
Videos
OCT 24, 2018
How do our brains recognize faces?
Brain studies consisting of fMRI experiments will measure brain activity during tasks to asses how we perceive faces. The fusiform area (FSA) was found to ...
NOV 10, 2018
Videos
NOV 10, 2018
Engineering Viable Offspring From Same-sex Mouse Parents
Using a special kind of stem cell and genetic engineering, researchers have learned more about what's possible in reproduction....
Loading Comments...