For most of us, we tend to treat medications like a guaranteed solution to the symptoms we currently feel. While medical professionals know exactly what to prescribe, it only means they know, based on previous cases, that there’s a good probability the medication will take effect.
But, by introducing factors that are known (or unknown) to counteract the medication, we may significantly reduce a prescription’s ability to do its job.
Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, 69 of which are carcinogenic. In each stick is cadmium, a chemical used for batteries, formaldehyde, and other hazardous elements.
These negatively interact with the helpful chemicals in medication, which may reduce your prescription’s efficacy. More importantly, it may lead to unknown and potentially dangerous side effects.
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Does smoking affect your medication’s absorption? Yes, it does, and in various ways. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at how it does this to antipsychotics, antidepressants, and other prescriptions.
Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other conditions within this area may require antipsychotic medication to help alleviate certain symptoms.
These contain factors that help influence chemicals in the brain to achieve a certain balance that may improve mental stability and performance, especially in severe cases.
However, a regular smoker taking antipsychotics may only see limited results with their regular dosage.
One research has shown that smokers require higher antipsychotic medication dosages than their non-smoking counterparts to achieve certain results. Because smoking significantly decreases the medication’s presence in the blood, regular smokers will need to take more medication for any results to take effect.
Therefore, by quitting smoking and overcoming withdrawal symptoms, a patient can receive better results from their antipsychotic medication.
Patients with chronic depression require antidepressant medication, which also helps influence certain chemicals that help them achieve mental stability.
Regular smokers taking antidepressants may see less effect once they start taking their medication. A study has shown that smokers rapidly metabolise antidepressant medication, which in turn decreases its presence in the blood.
As a result, patients who smoke may experience reduced relief from their depressive symptoms and will need higher dosages if they do not quit smoking.
Having trouble sleeping? Your medical professional may have prescribed hypnotic medications to help you rest better.
But if you keep on smoking, you may only feel the medication has limited to no effects on your body.
Studies have shown that smokers require a higher dosage of hypnotics to achieve the same results as their non-smoking counterparts. Again, it is due to the rapid metabolism of the medication, resulting in its lower presence in the blood.
Furthermore, smoking has been associated with many sleeping disorders, so if you can’t sleep while taking hypnotics, it might be time to quit smoking as soon as possible to see any effects.
Anyone who has felt worsening anxiety may have been prescribed anti-anxiety medications in the past. And if you’ve taken some but are still a regular smoker, chances are you’ve been given a higher dosage to see any effects.
Smoking and medication for anxiety share a common fate with everything mentioned above, namely losing efficacy due to cigarette smoke’s effects on the body.
One reason for this is smoking’s effect on increasing anxiety – while most believe it can help them relax, this is not the case, especially for long-term smokers. The body can respond to the chemicals in cigarette smoke in unpredictable ways, which can directly or indirectly affect anxiolytics.
Because long-term smoking can exacerbate anxiety symptoms due to nicotine dependence, it’s better to stop smoking to feel better and find some relief.
Research has shown that smoking has a strong correlation with increased insulin resistance, a condition where the body becomes less responsive to the effects of insulin.
While the chemicals in smoke may not directly affect the reliability of insulin, smoking can greatly raise a diabetic’s insulin resistance, making the pancreas work harder and insulin treatments work less effectively to control blood sugar levels.
Cigarette smoking also causes damage to the body, which reduces the efficacy of insulin treatment. For instance, vascular damage caused by the chemicals in cigarette smoke can interfere with blood circulation and decrease the presence of insulin treatment in the bloodstream.
If you already have diabetes, you should stop smoking to improve your blood levels and achieve better results with various medications, especially insulin.
Like people with diabetes, anyone who has recently suffered a stroke or heart condition should discontinue smoking to help their body recover and ensure their medication works effectively.
Patients who have recently suffered heart conditions need to reduce blood clots in the body to improve circulation. Warfarin is a commonly prescribed medication that helps thin blood and reduce clotting. However, it only has limited effects on regular smokers.
One reason for this is the increased presence of enzymes that aim to eliminate the toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke. The same enzymes speed up the metabolism of warfarin, reducing its presence in the blood and, consequently, its efficacy.
Can You Smoke While Taking Medication?
Given the interaction of smoking and various medications, it’s better to stop smoking for good.
Aside from the many health benefits you can get by just stopping smoking immediately, you also help increase the presence of medication in your blood and achieve the intended results for your prescription.
We understand that quitting smoking can be extremely difficult. But with the right information and lots of willpower, you can definitely overcome this hurdle.
And we can help you start your quit journey today.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good.