In periods of high heat, certain medications increase the risk of dehydration and heat stroke or aggravate the exhaustion syndrome. Zoom on the drugs to be taken with precaution in these times of heat wave.
From heat wave to heat wave, you have learned to protect yourself from the heat. But what about your behavior in front of your medicine cabinet? Because, we often ignore it, but when temperatures rise, certain drugs can have deleterious effects for our body. “In the event of a heat wave, certain medications are likely to aggravate an exhaustion-dehydration syndrome or heat stroke.” thus warns the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) in its “Clarification on the proper use of medication in the event of a heat wave“.
Heat wave: toxic drugs for the kidneys and the liver
This is for example the case of drugs with diuretic properties, such as treatments against hypertension, against heart disease or against oedemas. These drugs that increase the elimination of water by the kidneys may worsen dehydration. Likewise, the kidneys are at risk if you combine dehydration with taking aspirin, anti-inflammatories, certain antibiotics or treatments for epilepsy. Because the active molecules of these drugs will be more concentrated in your body if you lack water. As a result, if you don’t drink enough to dilute the drug compounds, the kidneys are hurting. The ANSM therefore recommends that you hydrate yourself abundantly and avoid taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs during a heat wave or an episode of heat wave.
>> Should we prefer paracetamol? Nothing is less certain, since a high concentration of this molecule can in turn damage the liver. What to do then to calm his headache? Start by drinking plenty of water – headaches can be a sign of dehydration or heatstroke – and opt for natural remedies such as peppermint essential oil compresses or ginger decoction.
Heat wave: drugs that interfere with temperature regulation
Another class of drug to monitor: those that block the phenomenon of sweating. Because, when it is hot, the body regulates its temperature by sweating. Without this thermoregulation, you would risk heat stroke. However, neuroleptics, antidepressants, antihistamines, antispasmodics or bronchodilators can alter the thermal regulation mechanism. If these drugs are part of your usual first aid kit, choose cool or air-conditioned places all the more during a heat wave.
Store your medication well away from the heat in summer
Be careful though: it’s not because it’s hot that you have to decide alone to stop a treatment. “The adaptation of ongoing drug treatment should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Under no circumstances is it justified to systematically consider reducing or stopping medications that may interact with the body’s adaptation to heat“, recalls the ANSM, which recommends rather to seek advice from the doctor or the pharmacist.
Finally, your body is not the only one to suffer from the heat: medicines, too, can take a heat stroke. Store them in a cool place and if you need to transport them, lock them in an insulated bag, for example. Also remember not to let them cook in your handbag in direct sunlight, or in the glove compartment of your car, which looks like an oven.
—ANSM (@ansm) July 14, 2022
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