Medicines for epilepsy can be affected by

epilepsy medicines can be affected by

Medicines for epilepsy

There are a lot of medicines used for epilepsy.  Examples include phenytoin, sodium valproate, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, gabapentin and pregabalin.  These medicines are known as antiepileptics or anticonvulsants.  Anticonvulsants can also be used to treat nerve pain, migraine and other types of chronic pain.  As these medicines are taken every day, and often for the rest of the person’s life, it is important to know what can affect them.


Alcohol and epilepsy medicines

Alcohol makes you sleepier and slows your heart rate and so do epilepsy medicines.  The combined effects of these make you more likely to have a seizure.


Antacids and epilepsy medicines

Antacids such as Mylanta and Gaviscon can affect the ability of the body to absorb medicines.  Antacids should be taken two hours away from most medicines for this reason.


Fibre supplements and epilepsy medicines

Fibre supplements containing psyllium such as Metamucil can reduce the effectiveness of epilepsy medicines.  If you need to take a constipation medicine consult your Pharmacist for a suitable alternative based on the medications you take.


Grapefruit/grapefruit juice and epilepsy medicines

The effect that grapefruit has on a lot of types of medicines is quite unpredictable meaning that it can sometimes increase or decrease the effects of other medicines and this effect is difficult to know beforehand.  It is best to avoid grapefruit altogether when taking epilepsy medicines.


Ginkgo biloba and epilepsy medicines

There is an increased risk of seizure for people taking the herb ginkgo biloba.  For this reason it is best if epileptics do not take it.


Valerian and epilepsy medicines

Valerian is a herb that is often used to help people sleep.  As valerian causes drowsiness and slows heart rate and breathing like epilepsy medicines do there is increased risk of seizure.


Consult your Pharmacist if you have any questions about how your medications may be affected by other medications, whether they be prescription or herbal, as well as foods.



What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been researched and written about for more than 100 years.  There are specific diagnosis criteria and much evidence to show that when people (usually children) are diagnosed earlier they have much better outcomes.  ADHD occurs in females and males and some people aren’t diagnosed until adulthood.  In those who are diagnosed in childhood it usually lessens as the person gets older.  There is also a genetic tendency with the disorder meaning it can run in families.

ADHD is a disorder of higher functioning.  What this means is that some processes in the brain work differently.  In someone with ADHD completing a task takes a lot more effort.  The processes of thinking about it, planning it, starting and finishing it are more difficult.


Features of ADHD

There are different elements of ADHD and it presents differently in each person.  The main features are

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Easily distracted
  • Hyperactive
  • Impulsive

Some sufferers may find they have more of certain features than they do of others.


What ADHD is not

ADHD does not occur due to lazy or bad parenting.  The ADHD sufferer is not lazy either.  They often have to work twice as hard to complete tasks due to the extra effort involved in thinking, planning, starting and finishing.  All this extra effort is mentally and physically tiring.


Treatment of ADHD

Medication is only part of the treatment process but it is an important part.  It does seem paradoxical that medications termed as psychostimulants actually improve concentration and therefore learning ability.

There are different types of medications used to treat ADHD though they work in a similar way.  It is important that the dose of medication is decided upon in conjunction with the Doctor and some adjustment may be needed when starting.  Some medications are slow release and only need to be taken once daily in the morning for example Concerta and Ritalin LA.  Some medications are shorter acting and may be taken in the morning and at lunch time such as regular Ritalin.

An important part of treatment is therapy or treatment for any learning difficulties, speech difficulties, mobility issues etc that may be present.  Due to how ADHD occurs in the brain sufferers can also suffer with poor co-ordination, bad hand writing and learning difficulties.


Aspects that may or may not affect ADHD

There is no evidence to suggest that food intolerances cause ADHD however in some sufferers high levels of sugar intake, food colourings and preservatives may worsen the symptoms.

In studies of children with ADHD magnesium deficiency has been found in the majority of them.  Magnesium helps the brain relax and focus and improvements in symptoms have been found when supplementation with magnesium has occurred.


Medicines for ADHD can be affected by

adhd medicines can be affected by

Medicines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are used by children and adults.  These medicines stimulate dopamine levels in the brain to improve concentration and focus and reduce impulsive behaviour.


Fruit juice/vitamin C supplements and ADHD medicines

As fruit juice and vitamin C decrease the pH of the stomach by creating more acid they can affect the absorption of ADHD medicines.  The effect can be unpredictable.  Fruit juice and vitamin C supplements should be taken two hours away from ADHD medicines as they can increase or decrease the effects of the medicine.


Chocolate, soft drink, tea and coffee and ADHD medicines

This is important for children and adults.  All of these items mentioned can contain caffeine and caffeine is a stimulant just like ADHD medicines.  This means combining these stimulating items with ADHD medicines causes excessive stimulation in our bodies and may lead to racey heart, difficulty sleeping and feeling irritable.


Alcohol and ADHD medicines

This is important for the adults!  Some ADHD medicines can affect physical co-ordination which may also occur with alcohol consumption and make the effects worse.  As ADHD medicines cause stimulation alcohol causes the opposite which confuses our brains and bodies and so is another reason not to use alcohol and ADHD medicines.


Herbs and ADHD medicines

Bitter orange and Ma huang are herbs that can be found in weight loss preparations.  As these herbs can stimulate the heart and blood pressure they are best not taken with ADHD medicines.


What is the difference between synthetic and natural vitamins?

synthetic and natural vitamins


We get some of our vitamins from what we eat and drink as well as from supplements.

Vitamin deficiencies can cause many health problems.  Most of us would think that taking a vitamin supplement could only be of benefit.  Vitamin supplements can be detrimental to our health if they interfere with prescription medicines.  They can also be dangerous if consumed in excessive doses.  Another way that vitamins can cause harm is when they are derived synthetically.


What is a synthetic vitamin?

First of all I’ll explain what a natural vitamin is.  Natural vitamins come from the food/plant that they naturally occur in.  Synthetic vitamins are made using chemicals in a lab.


What’s wrong with synthetic vitamins?

I’ll use natural vitamins as a reference point again.  Natural vitamins don’t just occur on their own.  They often come with other vitamins and minerals and substances that help them to be absorbed and used by the body.  Synthetic vitamins don’t come with these things and so may not be able to be used effectively by the body.  Synthetic vitamins may be excreted from the body or stored by the body without being able to be used.


How do I tell if my vitamin is synthetic or natural?

Synthetic vitamins often have a dl at the start of their name eg dl- alpha- tocopherol or they might be listed as the vitamin itself and not the food source eg vitamin C.

It is thought that 90% of vitamins are synthetic.

Why take a multivitamin?



There are several reasons why taking a multivitamin is a good idea.  As I have mentioned previously food just isn’t food anymore.  Often even when we think we are eating healthily we may be missing out on certain nutrients simply because they are not present in our food in large enough quantities.

Sometimes due to the combination of foods we are eating and medications we are taking nutrients may not be absorbed properly.


What is in a multivitamin?

Multivitamins should contain the range of B vitamins as well as vitamins A,C,D,E and K and the minerals calcium, zinc, magnesium, iodine, copper, manganese, chromium and selenium.

Some multivitamins also contain herbs to help treat different conditions.


You should take a multivitamin if you take any of the following medicines

  • Blood pressure medicines
  • HRT (if it contains oestrogen)
  • Contraception (if it contains oestrogen)
  • Antidepressants
  • Diabetes medicines
  • Cholesterol medicines
  • Acid reducing medicines
  • Antibiotics
  • NSAIDs
  • Laxatives
  • Gout medicines
  • Diuretics


How does a multivitamin improve our health?

  • Gives us energy!
  • Increases immune system strength
  • Strengthens bone, skin and nails
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiaging
  • Better digestion
  • Wound healing
  • Better cardiovascular health
  • Better nervous system health
  • Better metabolism
  • Better mental health
  • Better sleep
  • Prevent neural tube birth defects

And many more!


Are all multivitamins equal?

No they aren’t.  Supplements containing natural vitamins as opposed to synthetic vitamins are best (this is a topic for a post coming soon).  It is also important that the supplement contains adequate quantities of the vitamins and minerals in a formulation where they can be absorbed properly.