BACKGROUND:  A medication error is any event that could have been prevented that may cause inappropriate medication use or harm to an individual.  Director of the Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Carol Holquist, R.Ph was quoted as saying, "All parts of the health care system—including health professionals and patients—have a role to play in preventing medication errors (Source:"  Medical mistakes relating to prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs, puts 1.3 million Americans at risk of death each year. 

EXAMPLES OF DEADLY COMBINATIONS:  Some medicine related injuries are simply innocent mistakes that patients do because they do not know any better.  Mixing medicines with the wrong food at the wrong time can result in serious injury.  Some examples are:

  • Taking blood pressure medicine at night.  Most people's blood pressure drops by 10% at night between 12 to 3 a.m.  A study in Italy showed that patients who have kidney disease who took medicine at night experience a cardiovascular benefit cutting their risk of a stroke or heart attack (Source:
  • MIXING CHOLESTEROL LOWERING MEDS-- LIKE STATINS--WITH GRAPEFRUIT.  Grapefruits contain a chemical that makes statins more potent and can absorb into the blood stream too quickly and results in making the statins too toxic. It is dangerous because it is uncertain what the effect can have on a patient's total cholesterol (Source:
  • Alcohol & Acetaminophens (Tylenol).  Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol. It is primarily metabolized by the liver.  When mixed together, the combination can cause serious liver damage (Source:
  • Birth Control/Hormone Therapy & Smoking.  On the warning labels of most all birth control pills there is a warning that use of medicine can by itself result in blood clots.  When combined with tobacco products it can make the risk of stroke, heart attack, blood clots, and high blood pressure much higher.  Smoking alone is a major cause of coronary heart disease.  A person's risk of heart disease and heart attack greatly increases with the number of cigarettes the individual smokes.  Another risk is having a pulmonary embolism (the sudden blockage of a major blood vessel (artery) in the lung, usually by a blood clot).  Taking birth control pills and smoking both increase the risk for a pulmonary embolism (Source:
  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) and Blood Pressure.  NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, can be used to relieve pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness; however, there is a warning for people to talk to their doctor before taking if they have certain conditions or illnesses including high blood pressure.  NSAIDs can decrease the kidney's function and it may cause your body to retain fluid.  Some NSAIDs also contain salt that is commonly associated with high blood pressure (Source:

*For More Information, Contact:

Alan Ackerman, MD