A caution to patients mixing prescriptions with painkillers and/or their favorite dietary supplements: Don’t do it until you check with your doctor to make sure they don’t interact to cause you harm. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that 1 in 25 people in their late 50s and older is risking dangerous drug interactions by mixing, for example, the blood thinner warfarin with garlic pills.
That’s right, garlic pills are drugs. So, too, are potassium and niacin supplements. At least you should think of them that way, says study coauthor Stacy Tessler Lindau, an assistant professor of medicine-geriatrics at the University of Chicago School of Medicine.
Some of the most common drug-mixing mistakes made by patients participating in the study:
- Warfarin and simvastatin : increased risk of bleeding problems like bleeding ulcers, rectal bleeding, and easy bruising; also increases the possibility of statin side effects like muscle pain and muscle tissue death. (Statin-related pain is a serious problem; here are seven reasons not to dismiss it.)
- Niacin and either atorvastatin or simvastatin: increased risk of muscle pain or muscle tissue death
- Lisinopril and potassium: increased risk of hyperkalemia, a dangerous elevation of potassium that can lead to heart attacks or even death
- Ginkgo and aspirin: increased risk of bleeding problems
- Garlic pills and warfarin: increased risk of bleeding problems
Given that more than half of older adults take five or more prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or dietary supplements every day, the likelihood of mixing at least two substances that shouldn’t be mixed is pretty high.
Just a gentle reminder regarding some dangerous drug interactions that are possible by taking either two medicines together or taking one medicine with another foood item. The wrong combination of medicines – whether prescription or over-the-counter – can be deadly. There are thousand of over-the-counter medications in the market and most of us use one or other in our day to day life. This makes the threat of accidentally harming yourself very real. Don’t become a tragic statistic.
Some of the most common drug interactions are between:
- Antihistaminics (such as Loratidine, Fexofenadine, Levocitrizine) used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of colds and hay fever and other types of allergies should be avoid to be taken along with Alcohol / Alcoholic beverages, Aspirin & Calcium & Vitamin D
- Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory agents (Ibuprofen relieves pain and reduces inflammation and fever) These drugs can irritate your stomach so take them with food or milk. Avoid taking the medication with alcoholic beverages or foods that tend to bother your stomach.
- Bronchodilators used to treat the symptoms of bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. These medicines relieve wheezing, shortness of breath, and troubled breathing. Avoid eating or drinking large amounts of foods or beverages that contain caffeine because both bronchodilators and caffeine stimulate the central nervous system.
- Metronidazole-an anti-infective used to treat intestinal and genital infections due to bacteria and parasites should be avoided while drinking alcohol because it may cause a severe reaction that includes stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, and flushing or redness of the face.
More prescription drugs are on the market that can interact with grapefruit juice with potentially serious effects including sudden death, Canadian doctors warn.
Many of the drugs are common, such as some cholesterol-lowering statins, antibiotics and calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure. Others include agents used to fight cancer or suppress the immune system in people who have received an organ transplant.