Questions & Answers on Psychiatric Medications

Tadao Ogura, M.D.


Will Psychiatric Medications Interfere with My Other Prescription Medications?

Whenever you take any two medications, there is always the potential for a "drug-drug interaction."

If you already take blood pressure medication, for example, and find you need to take psychiatric medications, or you are taking psychiatric medications, and you are prescribed an antibiotic, you should always ask your doctor whether it's safe to add the second one on top of the one you are already taking. You may also find some additional information in the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) or in reliable websites such as or

The warning here is that as a layperson, you may not be able to correctly interpret or even find the information about the medications you are being prescribed. The websites do not always cover all the prescription medications and may not deal with the specific drug interaction you are looking for. Also, the websites and the PDR may list some general warnings against drug interactions, but cannot warn you against YOUR unique reactions because it does not know your background or anything else about you.

Therefore, an experienced physician, especially one who is familiar with your particular medical history and unique disposition, may be the better judge of whether or not it is safe for you to add the new medication.

And, as always, you should never, ever, forget the fact that "we are NOT created equal" and, therefore, what applies to most people may not apply to you. One individual may or may not develop a unique reaction to the same medication someone else is taking. Therefore, you may develop bad drug interaction with the added medication even when PDR shows no negative drug interactions.

So, the best course of action is, if PDR or other source of information indicates that there is no negative drug interaction with the new medication, and your doctor says that it's OK to add the new medication, try it and carefully "listen to your body." If your body does not "speak up" with any negative messages (side effects), your body is happy with the combination. For more on this, refer to the next section on "Side Effects."

This approach applies to any over-the-counter drugs as well as to prescription medications, as well as to "herbal remedies" (which, as I've indicated earlier, you should treat just as seriously as any drug). Do not assume that just because a medication is an over-the-counter drug or an "all natural" substance that it will be "safe." Communicate with your doctor, and trust your body. Ultimately, your body is the only reliable source of information when it comes to "Drug Interactions."

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