Community Blog

Don’t Overlook Dangerous Drug Interactions

By Ketan Patel

It’s no secret that seniors are prescribed multiple medications for all kinds of conditions, from high cholesterol to depression. But the more medications you take, the greater the chance for adverse interactions between drugs, alcohol and certain foods. It is a good idea to fill all your prescriptions at the same pharmacy and speak to your doctor about drug interactions when you are prescribed a new medication, supplement or over-the-counter pharmaceutical. If you are a senior in need of medication management, an in-home caregiver can help keep you on track.

Pay attention if you use the following, but be aware that studies are ongoing:

  1. Coffee: In recent years we have been hearing that coffee may have benefits from antioxidant effects to preventing everything from gallstones to Parkinson’s disease. However, coffee has been shown to boost the effects (and the side effects) of drugs like aspirin, the allergic reaction drug epinephrine and albuterol, and interfere with antipsychotic drugs such as clozapine and lithium.
  2. Antihistamines: Taking one or more antihistamines is a way of life for many people with allergies. But seniors on high blood pressure pills should be aware that antihistamines can increase your heart rate and make blood pressure medication less effective. Your doctor can recommend other ways of managing allergies in place of antihistamines.
  3. Vitamin K: If you have afib (atrial fibrillation) or other conditions that put you at risk for blood clots, you were probably prescribed a medication like Warfarin, aka Coumadin, or another anticoagulants. If you blood take these blood thinners, make sure to monitor your intake of Vitamin K found in broccoli, kale, spinach and other vegetables. Vitamin K can make your blood thinner less effective.
  4. Alcohol: When you see a label indicating that you should not drink alcohol while taking the medication, pay attention. According to the National Institutes of Health, medications that interact with alcohol include common drugs like antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories. Alcohol can make some drugs like blood pressure and heart medication ineffective, and make other drugs stronger.
  5. Iron: People with hypothyroidism where their body does not produce enough thyroid hormone are typically prescribed Synthroid. Iron supplements and multivitamins containing iron can lessen the effects of Synthroid.
  6. Grapefruit: Amazingly grapefruit can affect over 50 different drugs, like making fexofenadine for allergies less effective and cholesterol reducers like atorvastatin too strong. Grapefruits change the way the cells in your gut move medications throughout your body.

Home Care Services for Seniors

The home care providers at Home Helpers of South Shore can help your loved one by monitoring medication, preparing meals, and helping with bathing and dressing. A caregiver can provide transportation for social activities and scheduled doctor’s appointments, and help out if an emergency occurs.

Home Helpers of South Shore is owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors. Contact Home Helpers to help your aging loved one. Please fill out the form on the left and we will get in touch with you about setting up in-home health care, or call us at 781-585-1244 to determine the plan that is right for you.

We serve the following communities:

Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman