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Cook County, Illinois

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Barry Doyle
Barry Doyle
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Unintentional drug poisoning deaths on the rise

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A recent study looking at the number of deaths from prescription drug poisoning in the United States from 1999 to 2004 found that the death rate had increased 68% relative to the previous period studied.

Deaths from prescription drugs now rank second to only to motor vehicle collisions as the cause of accidental deaths in the United States.

The study found that an important cause of accidental drug poisoning deaths comes from the mixing of prescription drugs. This frequently occurs when a patient is seeing more than one doctor who is unaware of the medications being prescribed by other physicians.

The pharmacist is often in the best position to prevent this kind of tragedy. Pharamacists are required to perform a drug utlilization review and to counsel patients in the use of their medications. This allows them to detect and to prevent potentially fatal drug interactions. This is a function that all pharmacists must perform, and can be the basis for a lawsuit against a pharmacy when someone is injured as a result of a drug interaction.