One factor many may not consider in preventing heat-related illnesses is how medication use can affect how the body responds to heat, as well as the effectiveness of some medications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some medications may increase the risk for heat-related illness and death as they can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature, inhibit sweating, or affect the body’s fluid balance, leaving you more dehydrated and more vulnerable to the dangers of overheating.
These medications include:
- Psychotropic drugs, such as haloperidol or chlorpromazine, as they can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
- Tranquilizers, such as thiozanthenes, phenothiazines, and butyrophenones, which can reduce sweating.
- Diuretic medications, which cause your body to lose more water.
- Medications for Parkinson’s disease, some of which can reduce sweating.
- Blood pressure medications, some of which lower blood pressures and increase the risk of dizziness and falls when dehydrated.
Additionally, medications can be affected by extreme temperatures which may make them less potent. This is particularly true for insulin and medications for hypothyroidism. Prevent medication degradation by storing medications according to the label instructions, keeping medications away from heat-generating appliances, not leaving medications in the car, picking up any mail-order prescriptions immediately, and avoiding storing medications in rooms with high humidity and frequent temperature changes. Although the bathroom is the most common place to store medications, some experts advise against it.
As always, consult with your physician before altering your medications or if you have any questions or concerns about your medication’s interaction with the hot weather.