Heat and Medication Warning

Some medications can put you at higher risk of heat-related illness in the hot summer, CBC’s medical specialist Dr. Karl Kabasele says.

Any medication that changes the balance of fluids in your body, or your perception of temperature can be a problem.

Both prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications like some antihistamines for allergies can intensify reaction to high temperatures.

New Brunswick’s health department offers a list of drugs that can impair response to heat.

Medications and the Heat

Before the onset of warmer weather, ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if your medications increase your sensitivity to heat.

If you are taking any of the medications listed below, you are at higher risk for heat-related illnesses, especially if you are exercising a lot or performing heavy work and are not drinking enough water.
If you are on two or more medications, your risk could be increased. You should not modify how you take your medication unless you have first consulted with your doctor.

Please note that these lists may not be complete.

Common medications:
• Some antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl, Chlortripolon)
• Over-the-counter sleeping pills (e.g. Nytol)
• Anti-diarrhea pills (e.g. Lomotil)

Psychiatric drugs such as: 
• chlorpromazine (Thorazine, Largactil)*
• thioridazine (Mellaril)*
• perphenazine (Trilafon)*
• fluphenazine (Modecate, Moditen)*
• thiothixene (Navane)*
• trifluoperazine (Stelazine)
• prochloperazine (Stemetil)
• haloperidol (Haldol)
• clozapine (Clozaril)
• risperidone (Risperdal)
• loxapine (Loxapac, Loxitane)
• fluspirilene (IMAP)
• pimozide (Orap)
• olanzapine
• flupenthixol (Fluanxol)
• zuclopenthixol (Clopixol)
• reserpine (Serpasil, Serpalan)
• Lithium

*These medications and others may make it easier for your skin to sunburn. To be sure, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Anti-parkinson drugs such as:
• benztropine (Cogentin)
• biperiden (Akineton)
• ethopropazine (Parsitan, Parisdol)
• procyclidine (Kemadrin, Procyclid)
• trihexyphenidyl (Artane, Trihexane)
• levodopa (Dopar)
• selegiline (Eldepryl)
• amantadine (Symmetrel, Symadine)

Anti-depressant drugs such as:
• amitriptyline
• doxepine (Sinequan)
• clomipramine (Anafranil)
• protriptyline (Vivactil)
• imipramine (Tofranil)
• desipramine (Norpramin)
• nortriptyline (Pamelor)

–New Brunswick’s Health Department


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