7 Reasons to Never Mix Meds
In many situations, “the more, the merrier” is an apt expression, but drug use is not one of them.
Sadly, the lives of celebrities such as Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Petty, Cory Monteith, and even Elvis Presley were ended because of toxic combinations of medications and/or illicit drugs – not to mention the tens of thousands more people who die from overdoses each year in the United States. That is why it is essential to be aware of the horrific consequences of mixing drugs, be they prescription or illicit – even accidentally.
Here are seven specific negative outcomes of combining drugs:
- You increase your chances of adverse drug reactions. Experts say that taking two medications together has a five percent chance of an adverse drug reaction. That proportion jumps to a head-or-tails chance when taking five medications and a near certainty if you take eight medications or more. So unless you have serious health problems, try to minimize the number of meds that you take on a regular basis.
- You could boost their effects more than you want. Some people who take antidepressants to treat mental conditions and methadone for pain relief are especially at risk. Since both medications act as depressants, they each enhance the sedation effects of the other – which sometimes results in a loss of consciousness.
- You could heighten your risk of severe bleeding. Warfarin is a common prescription anticoagulant for people who have heart problems or blood clotting disorders. If warfarin is taken with certain diuretics, thyroid medications, or antifungal pills, the patient has a higher chance of increased bleeding – which can be debilitating and require hospitalization.
- Your breathing could slow to dangerous levels – and you could die. The Food and Drug Administration issued a strong warning to doctors who prescribe opioid medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, or codeine for pain relief. For patients who take central nervous system-depressing benzodiazepines (like Valium, Xanax, or Ambien) for anxiety, seizures, or insomnia, introducing opioids into their bodies could cause slow or difficult breathing; and many of them have died as a result.
- You could get more than just drunk. Mixing alcohol with medications or illicit drugs can lead to serious side effects. Booze and marijuana can cause nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and paranoia. Booze and amphetamines or other stimulants ups the risk of alcohol poisoning. Combining booze with depressants like Valium or Xanax can lead to excessive drowsiness and/or loss of consciousness.
- You could suddenly stop breathing. When you mix cocaine and heroin (which is known as “speedballing”), the heroin can significantly slow your breathing while the cocaine makes your body use more oxygen. The combined result is often the cessation of breathing, which can be fatal.
- You could be dead within minutes. Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. Injecting them together is literally risking near-instant death.
You probably already know that it is wise to drink alcohol responsibly and eschew illicit drugs altogether. However, even if you choose to ignore that cautionary advice, you should definitely avoid consuming multiple drugs or medications simultaneously. Otherwise, the consequences could be so dire that you might not have a chance to resolve never to do it again.
If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and do not know where to turn, contact us for help.
Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.