Access To Two Different Health Care Systems Can Lead To Dangerous Presciption Combinations Interview with:


Dr. Joshua Thorpe

Joshua M. Thorpe, PhD, MPH
From the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion
Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and
Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care
Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics
University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy What is the background for this study?

Response: Care coordination for persons with dementia is challenging for health care systems under the best of circumstances. These coordination challenges are exacerbated in Medicare-eligible veterans who receive care through both Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Recent Medicare and VA policy changes (e.g., Medicare Part D, Veteran’s Choice Act) expand veterans’ access to providers outside the VA. While access to care may be improved, seeking care across multiple health systems may disrupt care coordination and increase the risk of unsafe prescribing – particularly in veterans with dementia. To see how expanded access to care outside the VA might influence medication safety for veterans with dementia, we studied prescribing safety in Veterans who qualified for prescriptions through the VA as well as through the Medicare Part D drug benefit.

Continue reading

St. John’s Wort May Cause Dangerous Drug Interactions Interview with:
Scott A. Davis, MA
Research Administrative Coordinator
Department of Dermatology
Wake Forest School of Medicine

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: St. John’s wort (SJW), a common complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment for depression, is frequently used together with drugs that may interact dangerously with it. In data from the 1993-2010 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a nationally representative survey of physician visits from the National Center for Health Statistics, SJW was prescribed together with drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines, warfarin, statins, digoxin, verapamil, and oral contraceptives. Using SJW together with other antidepressants may cause serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.
Continue reading