Individuals with chemical sensitivity issues (e.g., perfume, soaps, and aerosol sprays) or allergic reactions to known substances (e.g., Codeine or Morphine) may in fact be more aware of the dangers associated with drug interaction than the average person. The problem remains, however, that many people often unconsciously combine prescription and non-prescription drugs with alcohol without giving much thought to possible toxic side effects that could result in either rapid overdose or death.
In many cases, known side effects from combining prescription medications with other drugs, foods, or liquids are clearly printed on warning labels. When prescribed medications are mixed with illicit drugs, however, it is like playing roulette with your cardiovascular and central nervous system. Coroner reports are often required to provide extensive information concerning the type, quantity, and level of drug interaction found in the bodies of fatal drug overdose cases. The fact remains that drug interaction can be prevented with awareness and common sense. If you do not know what the level of drug interaction is with any prescribed medications you are taking, ask your doctor first.
Common Drug Interactions
In combination with either prescribed or illegal drugs, alcohol consumption can rapidly lead to overdose or death due to its ability to heighten the effectiveness of the drugs in your system.
Combined with depressants or sedatives (e.g., Valium, Benzodiazepine) that are designed to depress the activity of the central nervous system, alcohol consumption can induce coma and/or death. The sedative effect is doubled with alcohol.
When taken with amphetamines, stimulants (e.g., methamphetamine), or anti-depressants (e.g., Prozac), alcohol consumption is known to spike blood pressure rises to dangerously high levels that may induce cerebral hemorrhage or even death.
Alcohol consumption in combination with opiates such as heroin can literally shut down the central nervous system, leaving the individual to suffer from respiratory failure and death. Alcohol treatment should be taken very seriously, especially when other drug use is involved.
Interactions with Prescribed Suboxone, Benzodiazepine, and Methadone
Prescription Suboxone taken with any other medication will increase the effectiveness of the other medication. For example, prescription Suboxone combined with stimulants and anti-depressants increases the stimulant effect on the cardiovascular and central nervous system (e.g., resulting in dangerously high heart rate and blood pressure) and can lead to rapid overdose and death.
Prescription Benzodiazepine taken with opiates and alcohol not only doubles the sedative effect, but can create severe hallucinogenic reactions, delusions, loss of consciousness, or death.
Prescription Methadone taken with anti-depressants or sedatives increases the side effects of drowsiness and difficulty breathing, while decreasing the effectiveness of the methadone.
Proactive Approach to Drug Interaction
A proactive approach to drug interaction begins by always making sure your doctor is up to date with all of the medications you are currently using and what drug sensitivity issues you may be experiencing. The right kind of information combined with awareness that drug interactions can be extremely toxic or fatal may prevent the senseless deaths of uninformed individuals that are unwittingly jeopardizing their life or the lives of loved ones through carelessness.
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