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Are you mixing your meds?

May 29, 2023 at 10:00 p.m.

These days, a lot of adults taking prescribed stimulants, such as amphetamines (Adderall and Dexedrine), methamphetamines, like Desoxyn, and a methylphenidate (Ritalin) are mixing them with various anti-anxiety/sedative/hypnotic medications and opioids. That's a dangerous mix.

After looking at Rx insurance claims for more than 9 million folks over a one-year period, Johns Hopkins researchers found that 276,233 adults used those stimulants and 45% of them combined those drugs with at least one more medication that affects the central nervous system. In fact, close to half of the stimulant users were also taking an antidepressant, close to one third filled prescriptions for anti-anxiety/sedative/hypnotic medications, and one fifth received opioid prescriptions.

It seems to happen, the researchers suggest, when, for example, an antidepressant gets prescribed, but causes drowsiness. So a stimulant gets added and that leads to insomnia. Then a sleep agent is put into the mix. The mix of meds might also be a case of the left hand (one prescribing doctor) not knowing what the right hand (a different doctor) is prescribing. Whatever the cause, adding evermore CNS-affecting meds isn't a smart approach to managing challenges with depression, adult ADHD, or narcolepsy.

If this describes your medication regimen, talk with your doctor(s) about a less risky way to manage your primary condition and/or side effects from the medication you take for it. There may be alternative meds and lifestyle changes (more meditation and posse time, more physical activity, improved nutrition, and stopping smoking, vaping and using recreational drugs/excess alcohol) that can help.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email [email protected].

King Features Syndicate

Print Headline: Are you mixing your meds?


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