Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mixing Drinks & Medications?

People have become increasingly cavalier about mixing medications. In our age of polypharmacy, we think nothing of taking this pill for our heartburn, plus this one for ADD, and that one for anxiety and depression. In fact, our doctors prescribe these combinations all the time, usually with good reasons and positive effects.

Why am I writing about this? Because there are (at least) two major problems that result from this mindset.

1. People like to SHARE. We want to help our friends, and often people share their PRESCRIPTION medications-from saved up antibiotics, to cough suppressants, pain pills and anxiety medications. When you remove the medical professionals (both providers and the pharmacy team) from the equation, there are no checks and balances to watch out for drug interactions.

2. People forget ALCOHOL is a drug. Especially this time of year, alcohol is offered and consumed without a second thought to whether or not it might interact with prescription medications. The most DANGEROUS combinations are ALCOHOL, NARCOTICS (pain pills and cough suppressants) and ANXIETY MEDICATIONS (like Xanax/Valium, etc.) Please note- your SLEEPING PILL falls into this category as well!
In this case, 1 +1= 3 or more, as the additive effects are much greater than the individual effects simply combined. In particular, you can STOP BREATHING when you combine these drugs. And BREATHING is good, right?

PLEASE, before you toast the season, picture your prescription bottles sitting in your drink. Is this MIXED DRINK safe?

BOTTOM LINE: PLEASE, do NOT share prescription medications, and do not COMBINE alcohol, narcotics, and/or other sedatives!

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