interaction occurs when two or more drugs,
taken together, cause a (usually undesirable) combined effect.
In some cases, these interactions may be lethal. It is therefore
very important that both physician and patient be aware of
all the medications taken concurrently; this includes prescription
medications as well as over-the-counter drugs, vitamins
and other dietary
supplements. For example, the herbal supplement ginkgo
biloba, marketed as memory-booster, is generally considered
to be safe at low doses. However, ginkgo can interact with
drugs (including aspirin)
to cause spontaneous bleeding, and it can interact with some
diuretics to cause high blood pressure.
The possibility of adverse drug interactions
increases when patients take several medications or supplements
each day. In recent years, data from the National Institutes
of Health have consistently ranked adverse drug interactions
as one of the leading causes of death in the US.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain