Expert warns Brits on common medications of increased heatwave dangers

Woman taking medication
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Heatwaves generally pose a threat to public health as people fall ill with heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration - but one expert is urging those on certain medications to take extra caution around the hottest days of the year.

Sarah Jefferies from Mental Health First Aid Course detailed the groups of medications that could cause complications when mixed with high temperatures as she urged Britons to fully understand how their medications interact with extreme heat.


Diuretics are a group of medicines usually prescribed for heart conditions that remove excess fluids from the body to control blood pressure. However, this directly increases the risk of dehydration during a heatwave as Sarah advised: “Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and consult your GP about adjusting your medication if you’re experiencing prolonged hot weather.”


High blood pressure medications such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors can affect how the body handles high temperatures and can make it more difficult for the body to cool itself down which in turn can lead to heart-related conditions. The expert urged Brits using antihypertensives to regularly monitor their blood pressure throughout heatwaves to stay on top of any potential complications creeping up.


Some antidepressants interfere with the body’s thermoregulation, affecting a person’s ability to sweat which is the body’s first line of defence against overheating. Sarah advised people on antidepressants that affect their thermoregulation: “Wear lightweight, breathable clothing and seek shade or air-conditioned environments when possible.”


Antipsychotics like chlorpromazine and haloperidol also impact the body’s ability regulate temperature which can lead to a higher risk of heat stroke during heat waves. Sarah urged people on these medications to regularly check their body temperature and avoid overly hot environments.


This wide-ranging group of medications are usually used to treat ADHD, including amphetamines like Adderall and methylphenidate like Ritalin, can increase the body’s core temperature as a side effect. This already puts people at a predisposed risk of overheating when combined with high external temperatures. The expert advised: “Limit physical activity during the hottest parts of the day and ensure you stay well-hydrated.”