- Alcohol and Opioids
- Opioids and Benzodiazepines
- Warfarin and Acetaminophen
- Warfarin and Ibuprofen
- PDE-5 Inhibitors and Nitrates
- Statins and Amiodarone
- ACE Inhibitors and Potassium Supplements
When you use prescription medications, make sure always to follow the recommended guidelines. Some drug interactions can have serious side effects, while others may be lethal.
Unfortunately, both intentional and unintentional drug mixing is common. To ensure the safe usage of prescription drugs and steer clear of the side effects, you should avoid these seven dangerous drug mistakes.
Alcohol and opioids
Mixing alcohol with any kind of medicinal drug is bad news. But if you mix opioids and alcohol, it could have a serious effect on your health.
Opioids are prescribed for pain. Along with relieving pain, they also have an overall effect of wellness and euphoria. Some side effects of opioids are confusion, nausea, drowsiness, and slowed breathing.
Alcohol slows down your brain functions, which is why you have a slower reaction time and impaired judgment. Both alcohol and opioids slow down your nervous system. If you overdose on both of them together, it could slow down the body's functioning too much.
Opioids and benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are medications given for a wide range of diseases, such as nausea, vomiting, depression, panic attacks, and muscle pain. While they work great on their own, they do not mix well with opioids.
Both drugs are sedative in nature, which means they will make you feel drowsy and lower your coordination.
If you use both drugs at the same time, you will feel extremely sleepy. When taken in large doses, these medications can also slow down or even stop the main centers of the brain.
In fact, many benzodiazepine-related deaths are due to the involvement of opioids.
Warfarin and acetaminophen
Warfarin is a powerful drug prescribed to prevent blood clotting. It can save your life if you are at risk of blood clot formation. However, it is important to remember that warfarin can also cause excessive bleeding. It also interferes with other medical drugs.
Warfarin and ibuprofen
Ibuprofen is another painkiller that can also help against fever. Since it's readily available over the counter, you'd probably have ibuprofen-containing medicines at home. Like acetaminophen, warfarin also interacts with ibuprofen and can cause bleeding.
In some cases, using ibuprofen with warfarin may reduce the effectiveness of warfarin in preventing blood clots, putting you at risk.
PDE-5 inhibitors and nitrates
Viagra is the most popular example of PDE-5 inhibitors. This class of drugs affects cell signaling in the body. These drugs increase blood flow to a particular body part, such as the penis, and also help in muscle relaxation.
Medicinal drugs containing nitrates relax blood vessels, making them wider. As a result, the blood vessels on the heart's surface relax. They get more oxygen and blood flow. This helps to treat angina, which occurs when not enough blood flows to the heart.
Since both medicines are vasodilators (they dilate or expand the blood vessels), using them together can have hypotensive effects, which refers to low blood pressure. If your blood pressure drops below the normal range, you could faint or experience blurred vision, dehydration, nausea, lightheadedness, and lack of concentration.
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Statins and amiodarone
Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic agent prescribed to treat atrial fibrillation. It treats conditions in which your heart beats irregularly. It can restore the normal heart rhythm and maintain a steady heartbeat.
When taken together, these drugs counter each other's effects. Statin goes through hepatic metabolism, which means it is processed in the liver. Amiodarone inhibits or stops the functioning of the enzymes that carry out this reaction.
As a result, the amount of statin increases in the body, causing several risks, such as hepatotoxicity, which refers to the presence of toxins in the liver.
ACE inhibitors and potassium supplements
ACE inhibitors are given to lower blood pressure and improve your overall health. They can also slow down the development of kidney disease and atherosclerosis, where plaque builds up in the arteries and restricts blood flow.
You should never use these two drugs together since ACE inhibitors increase potassium levels. With potassium supplements doing the same thing, the potassium concentration in the body can go up to a toxic level.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Advances in Alcohol & Substance Abuse: "Alcohol and opioids: possible interactions of clinical importance."
American Journal of Cardiology: "Role of nitrates in angina pectoris."
Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects: "Therapeutic benefits of ACE inhibitors and other antihypertensive drugs in patients with type 2 diabetes."
Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology: "Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Controversies, Current Status, and Future Directions."
Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences: "Statins and its hepatic effects: Newer data, implications, and changing recommendations."
Mayo Clinic: "Warfarin side effects: Watch for interactions."
Mayo Clinic Proceedings: "Benefits and Risks of Long-term Amiodarone Therapy for Persistent Atrial Fibrillation: A Meta-analysis."
Medicina Clínica: "Statins: pros and cons."
National Institute on Drug Abuse: "Benzodiazepines and Opioids."
The Mental Health Clinician: "Benzodiazepine use, misuse, and abuse: A review."
Top What Are the 7 More Dangerous Medicines to Mix Related Articles
acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
Acetaminophen is a drug that reduces fever and relieves pain. It is available alone, or in combination with hundreds of other drugs available both over-the-counter (without a prescription) or that that may require a prescription from your doctor, for example, acetaminophen and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco) or acetaminophen and oxycodone (Percocet).
Acetaminophen treats a variety of diseases or other medical problems that cause pain or fever. Examples of conditions acetaminophen treats include, headache, minor arthritis pain, back pain, tooth pain, menstrual cramps, PMS, osteoarthritis, common cold, tension headache, chronic pain, hip pain, shoulder and neck pain, sore throat, sinus infection, teething, TMJ, bites and stings, and sprains and strains.
Acetaminophen generally has no side effects when taken as prescribed. When side effects are experienced, the most common are headache, rash, and nausea.
In 2014, the FDA recommended that doctors and other health care professionals only prescribe acetaminophen in doses of 325 mg or less. This warning highlights the potential for allergic reactions, for example, face, mouth, and throat swelling, difficulty breathing, itching, or rash. This action also will help reduce the risk of severe liver injury and serious allergic reactions associated with this drug. Other possible serious side effects adverse effects include anemia, kidney damage, thrombocytopenia (a reduced number of platelets in the blood), and liver problems.
Other patient information. Do not take more than one product that contains acetaminophen at the same time. Do not take more than one acetaminophen-containing drug than directed. Do not drink alcohol while taking medicine that contains acetaminophen due to severe liver damage.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.
Alcoholism and Alcohol AbuseAlcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
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Aspirin vs. Tylenol (acetaminophen)
Aspirin and Tylenol (acetaminophen) are used to treat fever, and pain in the body. Aspirin is also used to prevent blood clots (antithrombotic). Aspirin and Tylenol belong to different drug classes. Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and Tylenol is an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer).
Aspirin vs. warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
Aspirin and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) are used to prevent blood clots. Aspirin is also used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. Aspirin and warfarin belong to different drug classes. Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and warfarin is an anticoagulant.
Lipitor (atorvastatin)Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a drug in the statin drug classed prescribed to patients to lower blood cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, elevate HDL cholesterol, to prevent angina, stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, revascularization procedures in heart disease, and prevent heart attacks, and strokes in patients with type 2 diabetes. Side effects of Lipitor include headache, urinary tract infections (UTIs), joint pain, common cold, intestinal gas (flatulence), diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn.
Benzodiazepines (Benzodiazepine Drug Class)Benzodiazepine is the name of a class of drugs in the US. They belong to a class of man-made drugs prescribed to treat anxiety, nervousness, panic attacks, seizures, muscle spasms, and insomnia. Lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium) are examples of benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines vs. Ambien
Benzodiazepines and Ambien (zolpidem) are used to treat insomnia. Benzodiazepines are a drug class of central nervous system depressants that cause drowsiness. Ambien belongs to a different drug class called sedatives/hypnotics that have some similar characteristics to benzodiazepines. Side effects of benzodiazepines and Ambien that are similar include drowsiness, confusion, and balance problems.
Benzodiazepines vs. Barbiturates
Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are central nervous system depressants that cause drowsiness and are used to treat insomnia and seizures. Benzodiazepines are also used to treat anxiety disorders, nervousness, panic disorders, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, status epilepticus, premenstrual syndrome, and as sedation during surgery. Barbiturates are also used to treat headaches. Both drug types are commonly abused; benzodiazepines can be addictive, while barbiturates are habit-forming.
Benzodiazepines vs. CyclobenzaprineBenzodiazepines and cyclobenzaprine are used to treat muscle spasms. Benzodiazepines are also used to treat insomnia, seizures, anxiety disorders, nervousness, panic disorders, alcohol withdrawal, status epilepticus, premenstrual syndrome, and as sedation during surgery. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that cause drowsiness and cyclobenzaprine is a muscle relaxant.
Benzodiazepines vs. Narcotics (Opioids)
Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that cause drowsiness and are used to treat insomnia, seizures, anxiety disorders, nervousness, panic disorders, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, status epilepticus, premenstrual syndrome, and as sedation during surgery. Narcotic (opioid) analgesics are used to treat moderate to severe pain. Both benzodiazepines and narcotics (opioids) are common drugs of abuse.
Alcohol: How It Can Affect Your BodyAlcohol affects the body and brain by interfering with cognitive function, mood, balance, sleep, digestion, and the function of the liver, kidneys, heart, and pancreas. Alcohol affects hormones, hearing, immune function, body temperature, and bone and muscle strength.
Nitrates or nitrate medications are drugs prescribed to prevent or treat angina (heart pain or chest pain) caused by heart disease. Common side effects of nitrates include:
- Low blood pressure
- Burning and tingling under the tongue
Nitrates are classified as a category C drug, which means that its safety in women who are pregnant has not been established. Nitrates may or may not enter breast milk so women who are taking nitrates and breastfeeding should use caution. Examples of nitrates available include:
- nitroglycerin sublingual tablet (Nitrostat)
- nitroglycerin lingual aerosol (Nitromist)
- nitrolinglycerin pumpspray (Nitrolingual Pumpsprapy)
- nitroglycerin lingual (Nitrolingual Pumpspray)
- nitroglycerin transdermal ointment (Nitro-Bid)
- nitroglycerin transdermal infusion system (Nitro-Dur)
- nitroglycerin transdermal therapeutic system (Transderm-Nitro)
- nitroglycerin oral capsule (Nitro-Time)
- nitroglycerin intravenous
- isosorbide mononitrate and dinitrate (Isordil, Isordil Titradose, Dilatrate-SR)
Drug interactions, preparations, and mechanism of action should be reviewed prior to taking nitrate medications.
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Statins vs. NiacinStatins and niacin (nicotinic acid, or vitamin B3) are medications used to treat high cholesterol. Both medications lower LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood and triglycerides (fats), and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Statins are more effective than niacin in reducing cholesterol.
warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) is an anticoagulant drug that inhibits the blood from clotting, thus preventing blood clots. It is prescribed for the treatment of patients with deep vein thrombosis, the reduction of pulmonary embolism, and in patients with atrial fibrillation to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attack. Common side effects of warfarin include:
- Hair loss
Drug interactions, and warnings and precautions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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