Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Death of Michael Jackson Illustrates the Danger of Adverse Drug Reactions

The tragic death of Michael Jackson has the potential to create an important "learning moment" for physicians and patients. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, adverse drug reactions are the "4th to 6th leading cause of death" in the US. The published reports of Mr. Jackson's medications illustrate an important issue- any two drugs may be safe in combination but the cumulative effect of many drugs can be difficult to detect and very dangerous, especially in people with reduced drug processing capacity.

Jessica Oesterheld, MD is one of the authors of the best selling Clinical Manual of Drug Interaction Principles for Medical Practice. After analyzing the purported medication list she noted that “many of the concentrations of these drugs would have been dangerously increased.” Propofol often causes accidental death in recreational users. Interactions between propofol and many of the drugs Jackson is alleged to have been taking, such as Paxil, Zoloft and the opioid pain medicines Demerol, Vicodin, and Dilaudid, increase the potential dangers of those drugs.
Dr. Oesterheld's experience with adverse drug reactions led her to collaborate with Dr. Robert Patterson, a fellow clinical psychiatrist and computer programmer. Together they developed GeneMedRx, a tool for analyzing the cumulative effect of the many factors leading to adverse drug reactions including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, foods, herbal preparations, recreational drugs, and genetics that are missed by other drug interaction programs. The dangers inherent in Michael Jackson’s purported drug regimen would have been even greater for individuals with a positive DNA drug sensitivity test who comprise more than half of the population. DNA Drug Sensitivity Testing detects the up to 1000-fold person-to-person differences in drug processing capacity. You can see the "hidden" interactions GeneMedRx predicts at www.HealthandDNA.com/Jackson.

Genelex Corporation, Seattle, Washington is a DNA testing laboratory dedicated to reducing the high levels of morbidity and mortality that result from adverse drug reactions by personalizing medicine with the combination of DNA Drug Sensitivity Testing and GeneMedRx software. For further information, contact Howard Coleman at 206 382-9591 or HCColeman@genelex.com.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Genelex Medical Director Co-authors Leading Book on Drug Interactions

Genelex’s Medical Director Dr. Jessica Oesterheld recently co-authored the Clinical Manual of Drug Interaction Principles for Medical Practice with other notable drug interaction experts, Dr. Gary Wynn, Dr. Kelly Cozza, and Dr. Scott Armstrong. Here’s what reviewers are saying:

Midwest Book Review: “Filled with complete and comprehensive and up to date research on drug interactions”The wrong mixture of over the counter drugs can be fatal, and doctors and pharmacists must be aware of these lethal combos. Clinical Manual of Drug Interaction Principles for Medical Practice is a scholarly work discussing this very real possibility that can be prevented with the right research and foresight. With the hundreds upon hundreds of new drugs entering the market every year, the research into this subject is now invaluable, as it could save thousands of lives.

Dr. G. Grammer: “Outstanding Reference”
This is the gold standard for drug interactions and should be part of any prescriber's reference set. Meticulously researched, it is the most up to date synopsis of the expanding field of drug metabolism and interactions.

Dr. Oesterheld is also the primary author of the GeneMedRx personalized medication management software. This drug interaction tool helps prescribers easily assess the cumulative risk of multiple drug and gene interactions. Free 30-day trial available at www.GeneMedRx.com.