Mixing These Popular Medications Can Be Lethal

Like children on the grade school playground, not all medications play well together. In fact, some popular medications have such severe side effects when mixed together that the results can be fatal. Not sure which drugs you should never mix? Here are some combinations of medications that can be lethal.

Blood thinners and ibuprofen

A woman drinks pills with a glass of water.

Don’t mix ibuprofen with other medications. | CentralITAlliance/iStock/Getty Images

Both blood thinners and pain-relievers like ibuprofen are mainstays in many people’s medicine cabinets. Taking them together, however, isn’t recommended. As Harvard Health explains, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, interfere with blood clotting. Add a blood thinner to that, and you are at risk of internal bleeding, especially in your digestive tract.

Zoloft and methadone

White pills spilled on a brown table.

Triple check all medication labels to be safe. | Txking/iStock/Getty Images

In some cases, Drugs.com says, taking antidepressant Zoloft while on methadone increases the risk of irregular heartbeat by a life-threatening degree. In more common cases, combining these two medications can result in dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. It is imperative to talk to your doctor and give a full description of your heart health before taking any type of antidepressant while on methadone.

Opioids and alcohol

Bartender pouring strong alcoholic drink into glasses.

You should never mix alcohol with your medication. | Bogdanhoda/Getty images

No, alcohol is not technically a medication. (Although plenty of people claim they “self medicate” with it.) But it’s alcohol’s lethal reaction with opioids that must be noted. Especially with the current opioid epidemic that has put the country under a dark cloud. Popular opiates such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Percocet react violently with alcohol, and can be life-threatening. Side effects range from nausea and dizziness to irregular heartbeat and even coma.

Blood pressure medications and cold medications

Cough syrup being poured into a spoon.

Approach cough syrup with as much caution as other medications. | Malexeum/iStock/Getty Images

Patients on blood pressure medication have to be extra careful when choosing cold remedies. Mayo Clinic explains that nasal decongestants raise concern because they narrow blood vessels in the nose. This can affect blood vessels in the rest of the body and raise blood pressure, making the medication for this ailment ineffective. The solution here is to select cold medication meant for individuals with high blood pressure. For the nasal spray crowd, using a saline nose spray is recommended.

St. John’s wort and life-saving drugs

A man drives with pills in his hand.

Make sure your doctor is aware of all the medications you take. | Juefraphoto/iStock/Getty Image

While research supporting that St. John’s wort helps with depression is mixed, plenty of studies agree that it interferes with many life-altering drugs. Birth control pills, cholesterol meds, and anti-HIV treatments are all impacted by St. John’s wort, a USA Today report details. Additionally, the popular supplement can increase the side effects of conventional antidepressant medications, some of which have lethal consequences.

Thyroid hormone and many common drugs

Various drugs and medications on a stable.

Ask your pharmacist for clear instructions on your medications. |A-poselenov/iStock/Getty Images

The drug levothyroxine, which lowers thyroid activity, reacts with a laundry list of medications. There are a reported 582 drug interactions with levothyroxine, most of them moderate. Some interactions, however, are much more life-threatening, such as seizures, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

SMZ-TMP and blood pressure medication

Blood pressure medication and a meter on a table.

This combination is deadly when mixed with blood pressure medications. | Ronstik/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t let the crazy name fool you. This mix of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP) is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections, WebMD tells us. But it is important to talk to a doctor before mixing this medication with others. SMZ-TMP, with brands names like Septra and Bactrim, can make other drugs ineffective, and can notably be deadly when mixed with blood pressure medications.