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