Medication which releases its drugs more quickly when a patient has consumed alcohol should be withheld from the market until proven safe, research has claimed.
Scientist Hans Lennernäs says tablets exhibiting a tendency towards so-called “dose dumping” could be putting lives in danger by increasing the potential risk of overdose when taken with alcohol.
Basing his research on a review of existing studies, Lennernäs concluded that the causes involved varied from person to person and depended on individual drinking behaviour, making the risk “almost impossible” to predict.
He recommended that any drugs likely to be vulnerable to the phenomenon be subjected to human testing or reformulation to make them safe, saying such measures should be seen as an “absolute minimum standard” in screening for dose dumping.
The last such tablet to be withdrawn after tests revealed a risk of overdose when combined with alcohol was the pain medication hydromorphone, although Lennernäs claims there is a generic oxycodone product available in Europe which could have the same effect.
Copyright Press Association 2009
NHS factfile on mixing alcohol and medication