Tag Archives: pregnancy

Antibiotics – Don’t Take This With That!

Antibiotics are medicines that help stop bacterial infections. Protect yourself and your family by taking them correctly. There are times when you should and when you should not take antibiotics.

In children, antibiotics are the most common cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events. Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter products may be your or your child’s best treatment option.

And NEVER give a child under the age of 19 aspirin or aspirin containing products, as it could trigger Reye’s Syndrome, a deadly disease!

The main types of germs that cause infections:antibiotics_dttwt

Viruses and bacteria are the two main types of germs that cause infection.

Antibiotics cannot kill viruses but can kill bacteria. Viral infections should not be treated with antibiotics.

Viral illnesses include:

  • Common cold – stuffy nose, sore throat, sneezing, cough headache.
  • Influenza (flu) – fever, chills, body aches, headache, sore throat, dry cough.
  • Many coughs.
  • Acute bronchitis (cough, fever) – almost always caused by viruses.
  • Pharyngitis (sore throat) – most sore throats are caused by viruses and are not effectively treated with an antibiotic.
  • Viral gastroenteritis.

Bacterial infections should be treated with antibiotics. Bacterial infections can include:

  • Ear infections – antibiotics are used for most, but not all ear infections.
  • Severe sinus infections – lasting two or more weeks.
  • Strep throat.
  • Urinary tract infection.

Antibiotics can sometimes interact with other medicines or other substances. This means that the effects of one of the medicines can be altered by the other.

Some of the more common interactions are listed below. However, this is not a complete list.

If you want to check that your medicines are safe to take with your antibiotics, ask your GP or local pharmacist. You should also always carefully read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.

Combined oral contraceptives

Antibiotics may cause your combined oral contraceptive pill to be less effective at preventing pregnancy.

Women taking combined oral contraceptives should use an extra method of contraception (for example, condoms) while taking the antibiotics and, in some cases, for seven days after finishing the course. Your GP will be able to advise you.

Medications To Avoid:

Penicillin

It is usually recommended that you avoid taking penicillin at the same time as a medication called methotrexate, which is used to treat some types of cancers and severe autoimmune conditions such as the skin condition psoriasis. This is because combining the two medications can cause a range of unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects.

You may experience a skin rash if you take penicillin and a medication called allopurinol, which is used to treat gout.

Cephalosporins

Cephalosporins may not be suitable to take if you are also taking blood-thinning medications such as heparin and warfarin.

If you need treatment with cephalosporins, you may temporarily have to stop taking the blood-thinning medication.

Aminoglycosides

The risk of damage to your kidneys and hearing is increased if you are taking one or more of the following medications:

  • antifungals – used to treat fungal infections
  • cyclosporin – used to treat autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s disease and given to people who have had an organ transplant
  • diuretics – used to remove water from the body
  • muscle relaxants

However, the risk of kidney and hearing damage has to be balanced against the benefits of using aminoglycosides to treat life-threatening conditions such as meningitis.

Tetracyclines

You should check with your GP or pharmacist before taking a tetracycline if you are currently taking any of the following medications:

  • vitamin A supplements
  • retinoids such as acitretin, isotretinoin and tretinoin used to treat severe acne
  • blood-thinning medication
  • diuretics
  • kaolin-pectin and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) used to treat diarrhea
  • medicines to treat diabetes such as insulin
  • atovaquone used to treat pneumonia
  • antacids used to treat indigestion and heartburn
  • sucralfate used to treat ulcers
  • lithium used to treat bipolar disorder and severe depression
  • digoxin to treat heart rhythm disorders
  • methotrexate
  • strontium ranelate used to treat osteoporosis
  • colestipol or colestyramine used to treat high cholesterol
  • ergotamine and methysergide used to treat migraines

Macrolides

It is highly recommended that you do not combine a macrolide with any of the following medications (unless directly instructed to by your GP), as the combination could cause heart problems:

  • terfenadine, astemizole and mizolastine – which are all antihistamines used to treat allergic conditions such as hay fever
  • amisulpride – used to treat episodes of psychosis
  • tolterodine – used to treat urinary incontinence
  • simvastatin – used to treat high cholesterol

Fluoroquinolones

You should check with your GP or pharmacist before taking a fluoroquinolone if you are currently taking any of the following medications:

  • theophylline, which is used to treat asthma and also found in some cough and cold medicines
  • the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) painkillers such as ibuprofen
  • ciclosporin
  • probenecid used to treat gout
  • clozapine used to treat schizophrenia
  • ropinirole used to treat Parkinson’s disease
  • tizanadine used to treat muscle spasms
  • glibenclamide used to treat diabetes
  • cisapride used to treat indigestion, heartburn, vomiting or nausea
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, steroid medications (corticosteroids)

Some fluoroquinolones can intensify the effects of caffeine (a stimulant found in coffee, tea and cola), which could make you feel irritable, restless and cause problems falling asleep (insomnia).

Finally, you may need to avoid taking medication that contains high levels of minerals or iron as this can block the beneficial effects of fluoroquinolones. This includes:

  • antacids
  • zinc supplements
  • some types of multivitamin supplements

Antibiotics that can cause Sun Sensitivity include:  Doxycycline, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin, trimethoprim. In some people, the sensitivity can last long after the antibiotic regimine is complete.

Phototoxicity. This is the most common type of sun-sensitivity drug reaction. It can occur when skin is exposed to the sun after certain medications are injected, taken orally, or applied to the skin. The drug absorbs the UV light, then releases it into the skin, causing cell death. Within a few days, symptoms appear on the exposed areas of the body. In some people, symptoms can persist up to 20 years after the medication is stopped. Among the most common phototoxic drugs are the tetracycline family, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen), and amiodarone (Cordarone, a heart medication).

It’s important to note that not every person who uses these drugs has a reaction. If it does happen, it can be a one-time occurrence, or it can happen each time the drug is taken and sun exposure occurs. People with HIV are among the most likely group to experience sun sensitivity to drugs.

Can I drink alcohol when on an antibiotic?

Alcohol is a drug and in combination with other drugs including antibiotics, can cause an interaction with undesirable results. Ask your doctor about your specific medication, but in general, you should avoid combining alcohol with any medication.

A list of ingredients to avoid, (other names for aspirin) can be downloaded here, or you can email the NRSF for a wallet size card(s) you can carry with you when shopping for medications.

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Breastfeeding and Drugs: Drugs Deemed Safe

Information about what drugs are safe to use during breastfeeding.breastfeeding

A common reason for the cessation of breastfeeding is the use of medication by the nursing mother and advice by her physician to stop nursing.  Of course, if you don’t have to take drugs, whether they are over the counter, or prescription, it is always for the best.

This information is important not only to protect nursing infants from untoward effects of maternal medication but also to allow effective pharmacological treatment of breastfeeding mothers.

Below is a list of drugs deemed safe to take by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Maternal Medication Usually Compatible With Breastfeeding and any effects on the baby :

Acetaminophen
Acetazolamide
Acitretin
Acyclovir — Drug is concentrated in human milk
Alcohol (ethanol) — With large amounts, drowsiness, diaphoresis, deep sleep, weakness, decrease in linear growth, abnormal weight gain; maternal ingestion of 1 g/kg daily decreases milk ejection reflex
Allopurinol
Amoxicillin
Antimony
Atropine
Azapropazone (apazone)
Aztreonam
B1 (thiamin)
B6  (pyridoxine)
B12
Baclofen
Barbiturate
Bendroflumethiazide  — Suppresses lactation
Bishydroxycoumarin (dicumarol)
Bromide  — Rash, weakness, absence of cry with maternal intake of 5.4 g/d
Butorphanol
Caffeine — Irritability, poor sleeping pattern, excreted slowly; no effect with moderate intake of caffeinated beverages (2–3 cups per day)
Captopril
Carbamazepine
Carbetocin
Carbimazole — Goiter
Cascara
Cefadroxil
Cefazolin
Cefotaxime
Cefoxitin
Cefprozil
Ceftazidime
Ceftriaxone
Chloral hydrate —  Sleepiness
Chloroform
Chloroquine
Chlorothiazide
Chlorthalidone — Excreted slowly
Cimetidine — Drug is concentrated in human milk
Ciprofloxacin
Cisapride
Cisplatin — Not found in milk
Clindamycin
Clogestone
Codeine
Colchicine
Contraceptive pill with estrogen/progesterone — Rare breast enlargement; decrease in milk production  and protein content (not confirmed in several studies)
Cycloserine
D (vitamin) —  follow up infant’s serum calcium level if mother receives pharmacological doses
Danthron — Increased bowel activity
Dapsone —  sulfonamide detected in infant’s urine 191, 219
Dexbrompheniramine maleate with d-isoephedrine — Crying, poor sleeping patterns, irritability
Diatrizoate
Digoxin
Diltiazem
Dipyrone
Disopyramide
Domperidone
Dyphylline — Drug is concentrated in human milk
Enalapril
Erythromycin — Drug is concentrated in human milk
Estradiol — Withdrawal, vaginal bleeding
Ethambutol
Ethanol (cf. alcohol)
Ethosuximide — drug appears in infant serum
Fentanyl
Fexofenadine
Flecainide
Fleroxacin — One 400-mg dose given to nursing mothers; infants not given breast milk for 48 hours
Fluconazole
Flufenamic acid
Fluorescein
Folic acid
Gadopentetic (Gadolinium)
Gentamicin
Gold salts
Halothane
Hydralazine
Hydrochlorothiazide
Hydroxychloroquine — Drug is concentrated in human milk
Ibuprofen
Indomethacin — Seizure (1 case)
Iodides — May affect thyroid activity; see iodine
Iodine — Goiter
Iodine (povidone-iodine, eg, in a vaginal douche) — Elevated iodine levels in breast milk, odor of iodine on infant’s skin
Iohexol
Iopanoic acid
Isoniazid– acetyl (hepatotoxic) metabolite secreted but no hepatotoxicity reported in infants
Interferon-a
Ivermectin
K1 (vitamin)
Kanamycin
Ketoconazole
Ketorolac
Labetalol
Levonorgestrel
Levothyroxine
Lidocaine
Loperamide
Loratadine
Magnesium sulfate
Medroxyprogesterone
Mefenamic acid
Meperidine
Methadone
Methimazole (active metabolite of carbimazole)
Methohexital
Methyldopa
Methyprylon — Drowsiness
Metoprolol — Drug is concentrated in human milk
Metrizamide
Metrizoate
Mexiletine
Minoxidil
Morphine — infant may have measurable blood concentration
Moxalactam
Nadolol — Drug is concentrated in human milk
Nalidixic acid — Hemolysis in infant with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency
Naproxen
Nefopam
Nifedipine
Nitrofurantoin — Hemolysis in infant with G-6-PD deficiency 305
Norethynodrel
Norsteroids
Noscapine
Ofloxacin
Oxprenolol
Phenylbutazone
Phenytoin — Methemoglobinemia (1 case)
Piroxicam
Prednisolone
Prednisone
Procainamide
Progesterone
Propoxyphene
Propranolol
Propylthiouracil
Pseudoephedrine — Drug is concentrated in human milk
Pyridostigmine
Pyrimethamine
Quinidine
Quinine
Riboflavin
Rifampin
Scopolamine
Secobarbital
Senna
Sotalol
Spironolactone
Streptomycin
Sulbactam
Sulfapyridine — Caution in infant with jaundice or G-6-PD deficiency and ill, stressed, or premature infant; appears in infant’s milk
Sulfisoxazole — Caution in infant with jaundice or G-6-PD deficiency and ill, stressed, or premature infant; appears in infant’s milk
Sumatriptan
Suprofen
Terbutaline
Terfenadine
Tetracycline — negligible absorption by infant
Theophylline — Irritability
Thiopental
Thiouracil — drug not used in United States
Ticarcillin
Timolol
Tolbutamide — Possible jaundice
Tolmetin
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole
Triprolidine
Valproic acid
Verapamil
Warfarin
Zolpidem

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