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FDA, manufacturers may not know all dangerous drug interactions

When a patient visits their doctor in San Antonio, they might receive a new prescription. The medication they are prescribed might just be new to that person or might be brand new to the market. With any new drug, doctors, pharmacists and companies need to be careful of who they prescribe such drugs to and what potential interactions a patient might experience with other medications.

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might be teaming with researchers to see if online search data can help identify previously unknown drug interactions. When a person enters a search into a search engine, data might be collected about that search. Companies typically would use this data for advertising purposes, but in this case, searches could help the FDA identify potentially dangerous drug interactions.

Many people are turning to the Internet to research their own symptoms instead of calling their doctor. While most doctors would encourage you to call them or seek emergency help, many people are trying to self-diagnose what could be very dangerous and previously unknown interactions between a patient's medications.

It is important that manufacturers rigorously test drugs for interactions and side effects before their new prescription medications hit the market. Patients don't have the technical ability or chemical knowledge to self-test their medications for interactions, so it is very important that companies do this before their products are sold. The FDA is hoping the analysis of these search results can help them understand what reactions people might be having, and work to address those interactions going forward.

Source: CNBC, "You may know a drug cocktail is dangerous before FDA," Chris Morris, Oct. 29, 2013

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