Kentucky Doctor’s Negligence and the Failure to Warn about Drug and Diet Interactions (Part A)

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Most people are aware of the dangers of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol, but did you know that drinking grapefruit juice could be just as serious in some cases? Your doctor should have told you. A doctor’s failure to advise patients of the latest medication warnings could constitute doctor’s negligence. An experienced Jefferson County medication error attorney can help you bring a lawsuit against a negligent physician in Kentucky. 

Who Has the Duty to Warn? 

Patients injured by a diet-medication interaction often are confused as to who is responsible for warning them about the potentially harmful interaction. Is it the prescribing physician who knows their medical history, the pharmacist who has a record of their prescriptions, or the pharmaceutical company who tested the drug? Most states, including Kentucky, have determined that the buck stops with the physicians who prescribe the medication. 

Under the legal doctrine known as the learned intermediary, the physician acts as a go-between to ensure that drugs dispensed by pharmaceutical companies reach patients who can benefit from their use given their particular medical problem, health risks, and nutritional profile. Although drug manufacturers also have a duty to provide general warnings to physicians, the physician has the ultimate duty to warn patients about possible adverse side effects and interactions. 

Most courts impose the duty to warn on physicians because they know which warnings are appropriate for particular patients since they have access to the patient’s complete medical history. The doctor also has access to the latest drug information through frequent contact with drug manufacturer representatives and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

What happens when diet interacts with drugs? 

Basically, it is a two-way street. A person’s diet can affect how well the body absorbs the drug prescribed, and the medication can affect how well the body absorbs important nutrients needed to maintain good health. When absorption rates vary from the norm, a person’s health may be compromised. If the drug’s potency is reduced by a particular food or beverage, the drug therapy will be ineffective and may cause further complications from the delay in starting the treatment regimen. In other cases, the drug prescribed may cause more harm than good because the diet raises the drug’s potency to toxic levels, which can damage organs such as the liver and kidneys.

A drug also can cause unanticipated complications by interfering with the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. Another subtle way that drugs can interfere with a person’s nutritional intake is when they suppress a person’s appetite by causing feelings of fullness or nausea or altering the way the food tastes, making it less appealing.

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