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When mixing prescription and OTC medications, safety comes first
Trust the pharmacists at McCook’s to offer expert information and guidance
Locally Owned 2024

Hundreds of millions of people across the globe take medications each day. Certain drugs can help people with potentially debilitating or even deadly conditions live healthy, normal lives, while others are used to relieve relatively minor issues like muscle aches or seasonal allergies.

According to 2021 data from the Health Policy Institute, more than 131 million people — 66% of adults in the United States — regularly take prescription drugs. The most commonly used types include antidepressants, lipid-lowering drugs, ACE inhibitors, antidiabetic agents and beta blockers.

These important medications are vital to many people’s health and even survival. Still, it’s important to remember that mixing medications can produce unexpected side effects. This can make it dangerous for people who take prescription medications to use over-the-counter drugs for issues like headaches or seasonal allergies. Understanding the potential interactions between common prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can help keep you safe.

·          Antihistamines: Antihistamines are widely used to alleviate symptoms of the common cold or seasonal allergies, such as runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. The American Heart Association notes that, when taken along with blood pressure medication, antihistamines can contribute to an accelerated heart rate and may cause a spike in blood pressure. The AHA cautions people who are prescribed sedatives, tranquilizers or other prescriptions for high blood pressure or depression to consult their physicians before taking antihistamines.

·          Bronchodilators: Bronchodilators relax and open the airways in the lungs and are used to treat various lung conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. These drugs make it easier to breathe and are available by prescription. But patients with heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease and/or diabetes should discuss the potential interactions between bronchodilators and other medications with their physicians.

·          Cordarone: Cordarone is used to treat certain types of potentially fatal irregular heartbeats and can be dangerous when combined with other drugs. For example, the AHA notes that patients who take more than 20 milligrams of Zocor — a drug used to lower "bad" cholesterol and potentially lower the risk of stroke, heart attack and other conditions — while also taking Cordarone are at risk of developing rhabdomyolysis, a condition marked by the breakdown of muscle tissue that can lead to kidney failure or death. Cordarone may also inhibit or reduce the effects of the blood thinner Coumadin.

·          Nicotine replacement products: People taking prescriptions for depression or asthma should consult their physicians before taking any nicotine replacement products. The Federal Drug Administration advises people to speak with their physicians before trying these products if they have diabetes, heart disease, asthma or stomach ulcers; have had a recent heart attack; have high blood pressure but do not take any medication for it; or have a history of irregular heartbeat.

Drug interactions can complicate the treatment of various conditions, so it’s important that patients who are taking prescription drugs speak with their health care providers before starting any new medicines, including over-the-counter drugs. The pharmacists at McCook’s Pharmacy are always available to answer your questions, offer guidance, listen to concerns and give over-the-counter recommendations. They take pride in building long-lasting, trusting relationships with their customers, often greeting them by name, and provide personalized service by familiarizing themselves with patients’ individual needs and medical histories.

Established in 2005, McCook’s is a locally owned and operated full-service pharmacy offering double drive-through windows and convenient city-wide delivery. New customers are always welcome!

If you’re ready to make the switch, contact McCook’s by phone at (912) 764-2223 or find more online at

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