Getting timely information about drug dangers is always challenging. It’s been our experience that drug companies and the FDA generally downplay problems until they have no choice but to admit there’s a serious complication. The diabetes drug Avandia is just one recent example. Thanks to crusader, Steve Nissen, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, many doctors and patients have been alerted to the cardiovascular risk associated with this medication.
There is now a Web site where patients enter the drugs they take and learn how risky they are. This risk assessment is individualized according to the person’s health status and other medications. The site, iGuard.org, categorizes risk in a Homeland Security-type color code (red equals VERY scary). The site also sends out email alerts as soon as there is information about a new drug hazard. The site is free for users and worth a visit because personalized drug interaction information is hard to find in a user-friendly format. J&T