Helping you make better health choices

In shops now or delivered to your home from only £3.50 an issue!


Minimising risks of adverse drug interactions

MagazineOctober 1999 (Vol. 10 Issue 7)Minimising risks of adverse drug interactions

Any drug has the capacity to alter the metabolism or absorption of alcohol (so potentially increasing intoxication), and

Avoid alcohol:

Any drug has the capacity to alter the metabolism or absorption of alcohol (so potentially increasing intoxication), and

alcohol itself may equally alter the metabolism and absorption of any drug (so reducing the action of the drug or increasing its toxicity). Furthermore, the drug alcohol combination itself can produce serious adverse reactions: liver damage, gastrointestinal inflammation and bleeding, violent nausea and vomiting, excessive sedation and delirium have all been reported (Int J Addict, 1995; 30: 1903-23). Chronic alcohol use may cause drugs to have paradoxical effects, particularly among alcoholics (Ann Med, 1990; 22: 363-9).

Don't assume your doctor is God:

Even with prescription medicines, your doctor may not consider potential interactions. Make sure he does. In the UK, all doctors should have the regularly updated British National Formulary to guide them (the Physicians' Desk Reference in the US).

Take care with self prescribing:

Non prescription over the counter medicines are still drugs. Read the small print to check for interactions, and warn your pharmacist or doctor what you are taking.

Take care with herbal remedies:

Herbs contain powerful drugs, and we still have only a rudimentary knowledge of their effects and potential interactions (see PROOF! vol 3 no 3).

Beware of hospitals:

If you're in hospital, tell your doctors and, if having surgery, your anaesthetist what you're taking; some drugs can seriously interact with anaesthetics, particularly antibiotics and antidepressants, such as the tricyclics and MAO inhibitors (J Clin Anesth, 1997; 9: 3S-13S). Deaths have been reported from the interaction between anaesthetic drugs and tetracycline antibiotics (JAMA, 1970; 211: 1162).

Avoid grapefruit

Gerson reactions are a sign that all is well

Society offers advice on advance directives

You may also be interested in...

Sign up for free today

Sign up now to get your FREE 17-point Plan to Great Health

Free membership gives you access to our latest news reports, use of our community area, forums, blogs, readers' health tips and our twice-weekly
e-news letter.

WDDTY Recommends

Latest Tweet


Since 1989, WDDTY has provided thousands of resources on how to beat asthma, arthritis, cancer, depression and many other chronic conditions.

Start by looking in our fully searchable database, active and friendly community forums and the latest health news.

Positive SSL Wildcard

Facebook Twitter

Most Popular Health Website of the Year 2014

© 2010 - 2016 WDDTY Publishing Ltd.
All Rights Reserved