When it comes to drug combinations, pairing the wrong ones may turn into a real disaster. Even common over the counter medicines may have unwanted side effects if wrongly matched.
Studies have shown that approximately 28 percent of the adult population between the ages ages 20 and 59 are on multiple drug prescriptions. For some at risk populations, these numbers are double or even triple. For this reason, health care professionals advise being especially aware of potentially toxic combinations. It is never recommended to take any kind of medication, even over the counter ones, without consulting your doctor first. And it is even much more important to ask your physician or pharmacist before mixing any drugs.
Multiple drug combinations also increase the risk of accidental overdoses, which is affecting increasingly high numbers every year. We tend to hear of such cases only when they involve celebrities – such as Terrell Owens, who blamed his recent trip to the hospital on a unfortunate mix of supplements and painkillers. or Anne Nicole Smith’s son, who reportedly died due to a mixture of the drug methadone and the antidepressant drug Lexaproand Zoloft in his system – yet, these cases are increasingly common and may affect anyone.
Here are some of the most common drug combinations to avoid.
1. Cough medicine and limes
Seville oranges, pomelos, and limes may block a certain digestive enzyme that has the role of breaking down certain drugs, including the dextromethorphan that is included as cough suppressant in over the counter cough medicine. Side effects increase with the quantity consummated, because the medication builds up in your bloodstream. An increased intake of dextromethorphan can result in sleepiness and hallucinations. These effects may linger for a day or longer.
2. Antibiotics and dairy products
Cipro and other antibiotics bind to iron, calcium, and other minerals found in foods that are milk-based. This can prevent the proper absorption of these antibiotics, decreasing their efficiency and ability to fight infections. Any time you receive a new prescription for an infection or acne, it is best to ask your doctor or pharmacist if the drug belongs to a class of medication called flouroquinolones or tetracyclines. If so, you will have to avoid cheese, butter, yogurt, and milk at least 2 hours before and after taking the medication pills. It is also advisable to talk with your pharmacist about proper timing in case you are taking minerals or multivitamins, since they can have a similar effect.