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Drugs that don't mix. (Living Well).

When your doctor or pharmacist asks what medications you're taking, do you think of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements? You should!

As more new drugs become available without prescriptions, the potential for drug interactions is growing. Yet, many people aren't aware of the risks.

Even an everyday pain reliever like aspirin can cause trouble. In some cases, mismatched drugs can make a medication ineffective. In others, the wrong combination can increase a drug's potency, leading to dangerous side effects.

To protect yourself, ask questions such as these whenever you receive a new prescription:

* Is there any medication, food, or supplement I cannot take with this?

* Should I take it with or without food?

Also, read the label and drug information sheet of every medication before you take it.

The following list is not all-inclusive. If you notice unusual symptoms while taking a particular drug, report them immediately to your physician.

Reprinted with permission from Spinal Column (Spring 2001), a publication of Shepherd Center, 2020 Peachtree Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30309-1465. (404) 352-2020 / www.shepherd.org.
Drug Interactions

Dangerous combinations can make you sick and even kill you. Check
this list of common spinal-cord-injury medications.

If you take this...                And this...

Antibiotics such as erythromycin   Tegretol
and Biaxin

Antibiotics such as erythromycin,  Hismanal
Zithromax, and Dynabac

Antibiotics such as tetracycline,  A multivitamin, antacids,
Cipro, and Levaquin                milk or other dairy products,
                                   or calcium-fortified orange juice

Antidepressants such as Paxil,     Tegretol, St. John's Wort
Zoloft, and Prozac

Tricyclic antidepressants such as  SSRIs, especially Zoloft
Elavil, Tofranil, and Pamelor      and Prozac

Anti-epileptics such as Dilantin   Oral contraceptives
and Tegretol

Antifungals such as Nizoral        Hismanal

Benzodiazepines including Valium   Alcohol, grapefruit juice
and Ativan

Benzodiazepines, especially        Nizoral and Sporanox
Xanax and Halcion

Blood thinner such as Coumadin     Aspirin, erythromycin, Flagyl,
                                   Septra, Cipro, ginko, Vitamin E

Diuretics such as Lasix or         Foods with excessive sodium:
hydrochlorothiazide                bacon, cold cuts, canned fish,
                                   salted breads, buttermilk,
                                   and MSG

Muscle relaxants such as Lioresal  Alcohol
(baclofen)

Pain medications in general        Alcohol, including some OTC
                                   cold and cough medications

Pain medications such as aspirin   Toradol
and other NSAIDs

Pain medications such as Ultram    Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Elavil,
                                   Phenergan

If you take this...                This could happen

Antibiotics such as erythromycin   May increase the toxicity of
and Biaxin                         Tegretol, leading to dizziness,
                                   headache, confusion, seizure, or
                                   even coma.

Antibiotics such as erythromycin,  May cause serious cardiovascular
Zithromax, and Dynabac             side effects including irregular
                                   heart rhythm, cardiac arrest, or
                                   even death.

Antibiotics such as tetracycline,  The antibiotic may not be fully
Cipro, and Levaquin                absorbed; causing the infection to
                                   persist. Avoid ingesting these
                                   within two hours of taking the
                                   drug.

Antidepressants such as Paxil,     May cause excessive production of
Zoloft, and Prozac                 serotonin, resulting in severe
                                   agitation, muscle twitching,
                                   sweating, flushing, nausea, and
                                   confusion.

Tricyclic antidepressants such as  May cause excessive production of
Elavil, Tofranil, and Pamelor      serotonin resulting in severe
                                   agitation, muscle twitching,
                                   sweating, flushing, nausea, and
                                   confusion.

Anti-epileptics such as Dilantin   May decrease the effectiveness of
and Tegretol                       oral contraceptives, resulting in
                                   unwanted pregnancy.

Antifungals such as Nizoral        May cause irregular heart rhythm,
                                   chest pain, and shortness of
                                   breath.

Benzodiazepines including Valium   May cause excessive sedation and
and Ativan                         breathing difficulties, possibly
                                   resulting in coma.

Benzodiazepines, especially        May cause excessive sedation and
Xanax and Halcion                  breathing difficulties, possibly
                                   resulting in coma.

Blood thinner such as Coumadin     The blood-thinning effect may be
                                   increased, leading to bleeding
                                   problems, including hemorrhaging.

Diuretics such as Lasix or         May cause rapid potassium loss
hydrochlorothiazide                resulting in weakness, irregular
                                   heart rhythm, nausea/vomiting,
                                   and confusion.

Muscle relaxants such as Lioresal  May cause excessive sedation and
(baclofen)                         breathing difficulties, possibly
                                   resulting in coma.

Pain medications in general        May cause excessive sedation and
                                   breathing difficulties, possibly
                                   resulting in coma.

Pain medications such as aspirin   May increase toxicity of Toradol,
and other NSAIDs                   leading to diarrhea, vomiting,
                                   breathing difficulties, and kidney
                                   failure.

Pain medications such as Ultram    May increase seizure potential.


Charles Willingham, R.Ph., is Shepherd Center's pharmacy manager. Yong Kang, Pharm. D., is the center's clinical pharmacy coordinator.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Paralyzed Veterans of America
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Willingham, Charles; Kang, Yong
Publication:PN - Paraplegia News
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Words:672
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