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Some Medicine May Increase Risk for Heat Stroke

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

The combination of record-breaking heat coupled with certain medication can be deadly. Charlotte Lange found that out this week after a close call.

"I was out there longer than I normally am, so I went back inside and I thought well, I should probably take my temperature just to see," said College Station resident Charlotte Lange.

For the last 30 years Lange has been taking Dicyclomine for her colon.

"They told me when I started taking it many years ago that it could raise your temperature just a little bit," Lang explained.

But when her temperature reached 107 after being outside for less than half an hour--- Lang quickly began researching.

"I started drinking cold water, I got in front of the fan and I got ice packs from the refrigerator and just put them on my body," Lang said. "We looked online and started finding all of these side effects that I've never known about."

Lang also found the medicine put her at risk for a heat stroke. She said she was perplexed as to why her doctor and pharmacist never explained such a serious side effect. Not to mention, the label on the prescription bottle doesn't mention anything about it.

"That is something very, just very serious," Lange added. "I don't understand why, I've never been told."

"When a pharmaceutical company puts a product to market they come up with a list of medication side effects that were found during the study and so these medication side effects should be listed on the package insert and the medication provided," said Dr. Joseph Roman.

Roman specializes in internal medicine at the College Station Medical Center.

"Many of these medications we take for granted; over-the-counter and prescription medication can impact our ability to dissipate heat by reducing our body's ability to sweat," explained Roman. "And there are certain over the counter medications that impact our body's ability to do this."

It is important to Identify medications that inhibit perspiration. A selection of medications used to treat Parkinson's disease such as Benztropine and Trihexyphenidyl can elicit heat stroke since the drug decreases sweating.

Roman said certain antihistamines and antipsychotic medications can lead to heat stroke. "A antihistamine such as Benadryl, or even a decongestant such as pseudoephedrine can potentially make someone more at risk for a heat stroke and often times, these medicines are not readily recognized by the patient to do this," Roman added.

Roman said Lang likely suffered from Hyperthermia, which is an abnormally high fever.

"We live in South East Texas where temperatures get well over 100 at times and to not have a patient that's informed that this medication can inhibit their ability to dissipate heat can result in serious consequences," Roman added.

"If I would have stayed outside longer I would have had a heatstroke," Lang said.

A close call with serious consequences that now has Lange digging a littler deeper when it comes to her health.


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