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Reporting a Medication Error

How Certain Medications Can Increase the Risk of Heatstroke

Published July 21, 2023

The “dog days of summer” are here and this means spending more time outdoors to enjoy activities like going for a bike ride or gardening. It also means the temperature and humidity are rising. When the body is exposed to high heat and humidity, without an opportunity to cool down it can overheat resulting in heatstroke.

Heatstroke can occur if your body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) due to environmental heat exposure. Symptoms of heatstroke can include pale skin, nausea and vomiting, rapid breathing, a fast heart rate, dizziness, loss of consciousness (passing out), and confusion. Emergency treatment is needed. If untreated, heatstroke can cause severe damage to your brain, heart, kidneys, and other vital organs and may even result in death.

Unfortunately, some medicines can increase the chance of heatstroke because they interfere with the body’s natural ways of cooling down. This may occur if a medicine disrupts the way our body naturally sweats. Or it can happen if a medicine interferes with the body’s natural ability to identify when its internal temperature is too high. The list below provides examples of medicines (and the conditions they are used to treat) which could put you at risk for heatstroke.

Here’s what you can do: If you take any of the medicines listed below, be sure to take extra precautions to stay cool. If medicines you take are not listed, you can always check with your doctor or pharmacist. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms of heatstroke. If your child is on any of the medicines that increase the risk of heatstroke, be sure to discuss with them the symptoms of heatstroke and what precautions they can take to prevent it.

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