On medication? Beware of the heat

high heat medication
Oregon summers are delightful. With an average August high of 85 degrees, most of us can safely enjoy the heat by paying attention to basics like staying hydrated and using sun protection.

People with chronic conditions, or who take certain medications, can find the summer heat deadly. That’s especially true during a heat wave because the effects accumulate. Anyone recall the 100- to 105-degree temperatures last summer? That was brutal!

As we age, our body’s ability to cool itself decreases. Blood vessels don’t dilate as they should to allow heat to escape. Some medical conditions can make that problem worse. Dehydration is a common problem with the elderly, reducing the body’s ability to lose heat.

Salem Health’s Pharmacy Director Joseph Schnabel encourages you to think about heat when you’re reviewing the instructions and list of side effects that come with your medications. For instance, medications that can make you less thirsty or cause you to urinate more can increase your risk of dehydration, which gets worse in the heat.

Schnabel says there are a variety of references listing medications that can cause heat sensitivity. One of the reputable sources is Consumer Reports information on drugs and heat sensitivity.

If you take any medications on this list, talk to your health care provider about what you should do to stay healthy when high heat strikes.

Condition treated

Drug name


Diphenhydramine (Benadryl Allergy) and promethazine (Phenergan)


Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and imipramine (Tofranil)

High blood pressure

Thiazide diuretics such as chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone, and hydrochlorothiazide

ACE inhibitors such as lisinopril, benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), and enalapril (Vasotec)

Angiotensin II receptor antagonists such as losartan (Cozaar) and valsartan (Diovan)

Beta-blockers such as metoprolol and carvedilol

Irritable bowel syndrome

Dicyclomine (Bentyl)

Nausea and vomiting

Prochlorperazine (Compro, Compazine)

Overactive bladder

Anticholinergics such as oxybutynin (Ditropan), solifenacin (Vesicare), and trospium (Sanctura)

Psychiatric disorders

Atypical antipsychotics such as olanzapine (Zyprexa) and risperidone (Risperdal)

Conventional antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine, perphenazine, thioridazine, and trifluoperazine

Stomach ulcer

Glycopyrrolate (Robinul)

If you have a medical condition, or are taking medications, don’t ignore possible signs of heat illness.

Seek medical care immediately if you or someone you know has symptoms of heat illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

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