The Corpus Callosum

Drugs and Heat

This post on Black
reminds me that it is a good idea to spread this
warning, at this time of year. He notes several medications that
increase the risk of heatstroke, or otherwise pose risks in heat and
bright sun.

Many of these are psychiatric medications.
medications, in particular, can increase risk of heatstroke. Some make
the skin more susceptible to sunburn. blood levels can be changed by
anything that alters the salt-water balance in the body; this includes
dehydration caused by heavy sweating.

If you plan to do a lot of outdoor activity in hot or sunny conditions,
it would be good to check with your pharmacist to see if any of your
medications increase the risk of heatstroke, increase photosensitivity,
or can be dangerous if you become dehydrated. Of course, it always is
best to avoid dehydration, simply by drinking water frequently.

Also, any medication
for high blood pressure
can cause the blood pressure to go
down too much, if you get dehydrated.


  1. #1 Craig Pennington
    July 26, 2006

    Anyone that exercises in warm-to-hot weather for 3 hours or more probably already knows this, but in addition to hydration, you should look to increase your salt intake as well. I do this through the use of sports drinks containing sodium and potassium salts. This helps induce thirst, which helps keep you hydrated as well as keeping your electrolytes up, which helps avoid hyponatremia, which is a serious danger (it is occasionally fatal) during long periods of dehydration/rehydration.

    Regarding the BP meds, I take low dose (5mg/day) of enalapril maleate (Vasotec) and I have to be very careful regarding hydration when running. From an unmedicated state of upper pre-hypertensive (135-139/85-89) and a medicated state of upper normal (115-120/70-80,) I can drop as low as 95/45 after a 20 mile run if I’m not careful.

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