French medical agency warns of hot weather drug danger

Certain health conditions and medicines may cause vulnerability in hot weather, the ANSM has said

People with certain health conditions must take care as their usual medical drugs could be more dangerous in hot weather, causing dehydration, fatigue or worse, the French health agency ANSM has warned.

Certain health conditions requiring regular medication - such as diabetes, high cholesterol, underactive thyroid and even depression - may be treated by medicines that could cause complications during periods of hot weather, the Agence Nationale de Sécurité de Médicaments et des Produits de Santé (ANSM) has said.

These may include diuretics, anti-inflammatories, hormonal drugs, and statins, the latter of which can have a significant impact on liver function in particular.

Antidepressants and neuroleptic drugs (often taken by people with severe mental health conditions) may alter the body’s temperature, causing hyperthermia (bodily overheating), or lowering blood pressure to dangerous levels.

Even commonly-used drugs such as aspirin or paracetamol may prove dangerous if taken to treat heat stroke, as some people may be vulnerable to liver damage in this case.

The warning comes as hot temperatures continue to be forecast across France, with Occitanie in particular seeing a peak of 34°C today (Tuesday July 17) and into the coming week.

Anyone who fears their medicines may have a negative impact in hot weather is advised to go to their doctor, who may be able to offer extra tests and treatment to help - for example, determining your hydration levels, or if there is any increased risk to your kidney function.

The public is also advised to make extra efforts to stay hydrated and cool.

A full list of the health conditions and medicines that could cause issues has been published by the ANSM on its website.

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