January 15, 2015

Dangerous Drug Interactions

Drug interactions.
I see them time and time again as a nurse.

The three main types of drug interactions are drugs and food, drugs and supplements, and drugs and drugs. Bio availability, excretion, metabolism, and absorption of drugs are all adverse effects that you may not know until it is too late.

Antibiotics and Birth Control // you will need to use a secondary method of birth control because most antibiotics can do one of two things: decrease levels of estrogen or kill bacteria that converts inactive chemicals to active estrogen.

Benadryl and Sleeping Aids // Some people can take Benadryl to go to sleep. But if you use something stronger like a hypnotic and think "well I will just add a Benadryl on top of it." Please don't. Also not on this list, please don't mix too many pain medications and antidepressants. The serotonin uptake gets all messed up.

Anticoagulants and Vitamin K // Vitamin K clots your blood when your Coumadin especially is trying to thin your blood.  Vitamin K is what we nurses will give you if your blood is too thin. You will also see this interaction when you eat tons of food rich in Vitamin K (like green leafy vegetables).

Cholesterol Medications and Grapefruit // Grapefruit interferes with your body's ability to break down statin medications. Therefore, if you consume enough grapefruit juice, the level of the statin will increase in your blood. This will effect your kidneys and you might have muscle and joint pains as side effects.

Hypertension Medications and Decongestants // If you have high blood pressure you will need to ask your doctor what cold medications are safe for you to take. Sudafed for instance (Pseudoephedrine) will raise your blood pressure. It is hard on your body to have two different messages like that. (raise and lower blood pressure)

As always just ask your doctors or nurse practitioners about drug interactions.
Did you know about any/all of these interactions?


  1. The two I didn't know about were for Cholesterol and Hypertension drugs--probably because those rules don't impact me or anyone close to me. The grandma I used to live with when I was in college is on Coumadin and avoids Vitamin K like the plague--I always thought it was interesting, because many of those veggies she avoids are normally considered super healthy, but not for her, because they'll accomplish the opposite of what her meds are trying to do!

  2. I had no idea about some of these. Scary! I'm always super cautious about drug interactions, but I really never thought about drug/food ones. That seems like a failure for a biochemist...


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