It's no surprise to any nurse that there are many medications that are contraindicated when taken in conjunction. According to a recent article in USA Today, 2/3 of women age 20 and older take medications for chronic conditions and 28% of older women take 5 medications or more.
People often trust their healthcare provider to manage their medications and in most cases this plan works out fine. But many people don't realize that some over-the-counter medications (and some foods) can react with prescription medications. While most of the consequences of mixing non-compatible drugs are not severe, some can actually be life threatening.
Always tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter meds. If you ever have questions, another greatly under-utilized resource is your local pharmacist.
Mixing some medications with alcohol can be fatal or cause serious liver damage. You should never take acetaminophen (Tylenol) with alcohol because of this.
Grapefruit cannot be mixed with certain medications. Combining grapefruit or grapefruit juice with some medications can actually inhibit liver enzymes and effect the metabolism of the medication by slowing it down and the result is excess medication in the body, which may cause unwanted side effects due to raised levels in the bloodstream. Some of the medications that should not be combined with grapefruit include seizure meds, statins, benzodiazepines, some blood pressure and cardiac meds, and some antibiotics.
Antacids can lower the efficacy of Adderall by interfering with the absorption of the medication.
Antibiotics can interfere with the efficacy of birth control pills. They do this by using the same receptors in the body. When the antibiotics are using these receptors the birth control pills are blocked from them so they become useless. You should always discuss this with your physician or healthcare provider and make alternative contraceptive plans if you are prescribed antibiotics
Vitamins and Some Antibiotics: Mixing vitamins and some antibiotics can render both useless, because they cannot be broken down by the liver. Bola Oyeyipo, MD, Co-founder at Healthgist
Antidepressants (SSRIs) such as Paxil and Prozac shouldn't be combined with migraine medications because of the risk of serotonin syndrome, which is too much serotonin in the brain. This can cause agitation, headaches, confusion, excessive sweating, slurred speech, diarrhea and seizures. (Bola Oyeyipo, MD, Co-founder at Healthgist)
If you are ever unsure of anything when it comes to medication, ALWAYS speak with your healthcare provider.