Combining These Two Common Meds Can Be Toxic to Your Liver, New Study Finds
You should be aware of this potentially dangerous drug interaction.
Most Americans have at least one prescription they take regularly. But there are often times when other medications come into play—whether that's another drug that's been prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) meds. In either case, drug interactions can have serious consequences, which is why it's important to be aware of how any medications that you're taking can interact, and talk to your doctor about any potential complications. Now, a new study has revealed the risk of combining two common medications, and doctors are warning patients to be cautious. Read on to find out what drug interaction could be toxic to your liver.
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The FDA warns Americans about the possibility of drug interactions.
There are countless medications available to you, and an even more endless number of potential combinations. With that in mind, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that taking two or more prescription drugs or a prescription drug and an OTC drug together can be risky. "This can cause more harm than good if you are not careful," the agency advises.
According to the FDA, drug-drug interactions occur when two or more mediations—whether they're prescription or OTC—are taken together and react with each other. "Some drug interactions can make the drug you take less effective," the agency explains. "And some combinations of drugs can be dangerous."
Now, a new study has revealed a serious interaction that doctors weren't aware of until now.
These drugs may cause serious consequences when taken together.
If you're taking a certain medication to treat COVID, you could be at risk depending on the other drugs you're taking. A new study published Oct. 12 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology highlighted the dangerous interactions Paxlovid—an oral COVID antiviral produced by Pfizer—can have with other medications. According to the study, the COVID drug may have negative consequences when mixed with commonly used cardiovascular medications.
"Awareness of the presence of drug-drug interactions of Paxlovid with common cardiovascular drugs is key," study senior author Sarju Ganatra, MD, director of the cardio-oncology program at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Massachusetts, said in a news release. "System-level interventions by integrating drug-drug interactions into electronic medical records could help avoid related adverse events."
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Your liver could be in danger.
Patients who have been prescribed certain statins should be especially cognizant of their risks with Paxlovid. Statins are often prescribed to lower cholesterol and protect against a heart attack and stoke, per the Mayo Clinic. But when certain statins are combined with Paxlovid, it can produce an interaction that is toxic to the liver, according to the new study.
As the American College of Cardiology (ACC) further explained, the researchers for this study found that two statins may allow for this dangerous interaction: simvastatin and lovastatin. The co-administration of these statins with Paxlovid "can lead to increased plasma levels and subsequent myopathy and rhabdomyolysis," the ACC said. Myopathy and rhabdomyolysis are both forms of muscle damage that is associated with liver disease.
Doctors advise not taking these statins and Paxlovid at the same time.
The ACC said that simvastatin and lovastatin should be stopped before a patient begins taking Paxlovid. At the same time, the organizations also advised that the statins atorvastatin and rosuvastatin should be reduced in dosage if being co-administrered with the COVID medicine. "The other statins are considered safe when given along with Paxlovid," the ACC added.
On some occasions, it might be more important for a patient to continue taking their statin prescription than it is for them to be treated with Paxlovid. "There are some drugs that you simply will not be able to stop, and a doctor will have to make a decision. It's a risk-benefit analysis," Jayne Morgan, a cardiologist and clinical director of the Covid Task Force at Piedmont Hospital/Healthcare in Atlanta, who was not involved in the new paper, told CNN.
Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.