Summer provides a great opportunity to get active outdoors as part of a healthy lifestyle, but if you take any medications or supplements, you should be aware of the dangers heat and sun can pose to your health while taking them. There are three ways medications and supplements might affect you in the sun and heat. They may cause dehydration, heat sensitivity, or photosensitivity to your skin.
There are several commonly prescribed and over-the-counter medications that could increase your risk of dehydration in the heat. When your body lacks enough hydration, you may have symptoms like muscle cramps, weakness, confusion, dizziness, and fainting spells or falls. Make sure you talk to your pharmacist or doctor about how much water you should be drinking if you take these medications.
● Diuretics(hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide, furosemide, bumetanide, torsemide)
● SGLT2inhibitors for diabetes(dapagliflozin, empagliflozin, canagliflozin)
Medications commonly used to treat high blood pressure and stuffy noses can lead to an increased risk of heat sensitivity in warmer weather. These medications may reduce sweating or blood flow to the skin, and this can be dangerous because the body cannot cool itself properly.
● Beta-blockers (metoprolol, atenolol, nebivolol, propranolol, nadolol)
● Decongestants (pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine)
● Adderall and other stimulants used to treat ADHD
Other medications and supplements may increase your photosensitivity which means your skin is more sensitive to the sun than usual. Without wearing proper sunscreen, you could end up with severe sunburn, skin irritation, or intense rashes when you take these medications or supplements.
● Antibiotics (tetracycline, doxycycline, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, sulfonamides)
● Diabetes medications - sulfonylureas (glyburide and glipizide)
● Statins (simvastatin, atorvastatin, pravastatin)
● NSAIDS(ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib)
● Antihistamines (diphenhydramine, cetirizine, loratadine, cyproheptadine, promethazine)
● St. John’s Wort
● Vitamin B6
This is not an all-inclusive list of medications and supplements that could cause trouble for you in the sun and hot weather. Every time you begin taking a new medication or supplement, it’s a good idea to talk to your pharmacist about any possible safety concerns. It’s not just the sun and heat that can be dangerous. There are many drug interactions that you should be aware of when starting any new medication or supplements.