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Hazardous Combinations of Over-the-Counter Meds

When you suffer from minor illness symptoms like those of a cold, a headache or an allergy, you probably resort to over-the-counter medications for relief. You might assume that over-the-counter meds are all safe because they don’t need a prescription. Nonetheless, even if you carefully read labels of these medications, you might make a dangerous combination without realizing.

Here are some medication duos you should avoid:

5. Calcium Supplements and Anti-diarrheal Medicine
Imodium and other meds that contain loperamide are used to tackle a runny bowel problem. Calcium supplements solidify stool. If you combine the two together, you might overcome diarrhea but you will end up with constipation. Avoid combining these OTC meds by delaying your calcium intake until your bowel issues settle.

4. Cold Medicines and Tylenol
Multi-symptom cold medicines contain acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, to ease cold and flu symptoms such as fevers, sore throats and headaches. Tylenol is basically made of this active ingredient. When you take Tylenol with a cold medicine, you put yourself in the risk of taking more that the 4-gram daily upper limit of acetaminophen. An overdose of this ingredient causes liver damage which can lead to transplantation or even death after prolonged use.

3. Motion-Sickness Meds and Antihistamines
Antihistamine meds like Bendaryl contain diphenhydramine and motion-sickness meds contain dimenhydrinate. Both active ingredients induce drowsiness so try not to take them together when you need to be alert.

2. Cough Medicine and St. John’s Wort
Taking dextromethorphen to treat cough with St. John’s wort to help with anxiety and depression may induce a perilous condition called serotonin syndrome. This med pair increases the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin in your body which confuses you, makes you sweat excessively and may rarely kill you.

1. Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Naproxen
All of these medications are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories that work similarly to relieve pain and inflammation. Taking anyone one of them with another can cause side effects ranging from mild nausea to gastrointestinal bleeding.

Hazardous Combinations of Over-the-Counter Meds

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