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Interactions between drugs can also be measured at lowest doses
Date:4/11/2013

Clinical pharmacologists at Heidelberg University Hospital have achieved major progress for improving the reliability of drugs. In a pharmacological study, they showed for the first time that interactions between drugs can be detected with minute doses in the range of nanograms. However, at these low doses, the drugs are neither effective nor do they have side effects. This means that studies on interactions occurring in drug combinations can be conducted practically without posing risks or negative impacts on the participants. This is true not only for healthy volunteers, as has been observed to date, but also for patients. The study was published in the medical journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

"Many chronically ill or elderly patients today take several different drugs. Around two percent of all hospital stays in Germany are the result of interactions between the drugs," said Professor Walter E. Haefeli, Medical Director of the Department for Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology at Heidelberg University, where the new technique of "nano-dosing" has been developed and tested. "Many interactions could be avoided if we were aware of them and took them into account."

Drug combinations rarely studied for interactions

However, very few drug combinations have been systematically tested for interactions to date. "Many risks remain unknown to date and need to be studied," Prof. Haefeli explained. After initial tests conducted in animals, combinations are currentlybeing studied in healthy participants with the usual therapeutic doses. Depending on the drug, this can strongly impact the body. Furthermore, a healthy person may react differently to a drug than a sick person does. This means that study findings can only be transferred to a limited extent.

Using mass spectrometry, an ultrasensitive technique, the team led by Prof. Haefeli succeeded in drastically reducing the dose for studies on inte
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Contact: Walter E. Haefeli
walter.emil.haefeli@med.uni-heidelberg.de
49-622-156-8740
Heidelberg University Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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