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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Nutrition & Wellness Channel
Reported February 6, 2012

Killer Combinations

AVENTURA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --While doctors tell Ivanhoe it's rare, did you know mixing cheese or processed meats and antidepressants could spike your blood pressure? That's why people taking MAOIs need to be careful of what they eat. Also, did you know that licorice & blood pressure meds could lead to paralysis? If you’re not careful, the drugs meant to save you could actually do more harm than good. We’ll show you how everything from the time of day, to the type of food we eat could do us harm. Of course, if you have any concerns about possible interactions, make sure to discuss them with your doctor.

Pill, after pill, after pill…

From prescription to over-the-counter, medicinal mistakes put at least 1.3 million Americans at risk of premature death each year. The wrong combination of foods and drugs, at the wrong time could make a life or death difference. For Debra Jacobson, it was blood pressure meds.

“Everybody that has high blood pressure must take this,” Jacobson told Ivanhoe. 

At her worst, she hit a dangerous 210 over 190! Normal is 120 over 80.

“He took my pressure and he sent me to another doctor he said ‘you’re gonna die’ I said… ‘not ready!” Jacobson laughed.

Her doctor’s advice? It all came down to medicine.

"He said you need to take it at night and since I've been taking it at night my pressure in the morning is normal, and it never was,” Jacobson said.

Within three days she saw a drastic change. Dr. Alan Ackermann says taking blood pressure meds at night can cut your risk of heart attack and stroke by one-third!

“I wish I could take them to our stroke center and that will drive the point. It’s called a silent killer for a reason,” Dr. Alan Ackermann, Board certified cardiologist told Ivanhoe.

Another mistake? Mixing cholesterol-lowering meds like statins with grapefruit.

“It can be half a grapefruit,” Dr. Ackermann explained.

They share the same pathway of metabolism in the liver. When combined, some statins can cause drug levels to become toxic. The grapefruit breaks down some statins too quickly, making them too toxic too fast. To be safe, talk to your doctor about what you’re taking and time your meds for eight to 12 hours after you eat grapefruit. Another deadly combo? Alcohol and acetaminophens. While most won’t shoot whiskey with their Tylenol, popping just one to stave off a morning hangover could put you at risk for liver failure!

“If you go out, drinking and you get a headache after the night I would encourage you not to take any Tylenol especially if you’ve had alcohol within the past four to six hours,” Dr. Ackermann said.

Not a drinker? Not off the hook! Most women know smoking while on birth control can cause blood clots, but just one cigarette could cause a blocked artery in your lung. And if you’re past the childbearing age you’re still at risk…

“Any institution of hormones, hormone replacement therapy and the addition of smoking increases the risk for these events,” Dr. Ackermann explained.

Finally, the same pills you take for pain could be raising your blood pressure!

“Most people aren’t aware ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil do contain salt in it and that has been associated with an increase in high blood pressure,” Dr. Ackermann said.

As much as 20 points higher! Dr. Ackermann says when it comes to managing your meds, awareness is key. Whether it’s watching what you do or when you do it, like Debra it could save your life.

You may want to think twice before you pop that extra Tylenol!  A new study found that taking just a little more than the daily-recommended dosage or 3,000 milligrams -- could add up over several days, and lead to a dangerous overdose.

For additional research on this article, click here.

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Alan Ackermann, MD
(305) 935-5101

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