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Dangerous drug interactions challenge both pharmacists and patients

DEWITT, Iowa - A new investigative report by the Chicago Tribune reveals a hazardous trend involving pharmacists. The Tribune visited more than 200 pharmacies to see how often stores sold dangerous drug pairings without telling consumers about potentially deadly consequences.

They found 52 percent of the pharmacies sold the medications without mentioning the potential interaction.

When there's a possible dangerous interaction at Scott Drug Pharmacy in DeWitt, Iowa an alert pops up on the computer. If the alert is alarming, the pharmacy takes the proper steps.

"Then, if we are concerned, we call the doctor, absolutely. We call the doctor and if we do and there is concern usually the doctor will change it," said Patti Trenkamp, Pharmacist at Scott Drug Pharmacy.

Trenkamp said they always let the patient know about potential risks.

"We will talk to the patient, we never want to scare a patient but we'll always say there is a slight potential that this can happen," said Trenkamp.

Trenkamp said it's the pharmacist's job to let the patient know but there is one problem they can run into.

"Lets say they get a prescription filled at a Walgreens and then two days later they get a prescription for something else filled with me, I have no idea what they got filled at Walgreens," said Trenkamp.

Getting prescriptions at different locations makes it impossible for one pharmacy to know what the other has given you.

"The best thing that a patient can do is ask, 'I am taking medicine A, medicine B, medicine C, is this safe with my other medications?'" said Trenkamp.

Scott Drug Pharmacists talk with patients, to help them understand potential risks medicine could have.