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B. Consumers Should Use Caution When Buying Internet Prescriptions

Narrator: This is Science Today. Scores of Internet pharmacies have sprung up worldwide offering consumers discounted prescription drugs. While some of these web sites are legitimate, others have little or no safeguards. University of California, Davis toxicologist Art Craigmill says consumers are better served by the local management of drugs sales, where there is record of the patient's medical history.

Craigmill: One of the most serious things that can happen when drugs are mixed is drug interactions and drug interactions can be a major cause of hospitalization. Drug interactions can occur between over the counter drugs and prescription drugs, prescription drugs and prescription drugs and over the counter drugs, prescription drugs and herbal remedies.

Narrator: Without a medical history, Craigmill says Internet prescriptions may cause adverse effects.

Craigmill: Another possible interaction is that one drug may interfere with the effect of another one and prevent it from having its therapeutic effect. Or it may increase the metabolism of another one, which would therefore diminish the response as well.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.