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Allergy drug could be deadly with interaction

The prescription antihistamine Hismanal (astemizole), when taken in a higher than recommended dosage and with certain other drugs or with grapefruit juice, may cause life-threatening allergic reactions.

The Food & Drug Administration published a list of drugs which could cause the deadly combination. The list included specific hypertension drugs, antibiotics, protease inhibitors, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, asthma drugs and, most notably, the frequently prescribed Prozac and Zyflo.

The manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc., will add this information to Hismanal’s label. Anyone considering taking Hismanal should demand a full explanation from an M.D. as to the possible harmful drug combination reactions and side effects.

SOURCE: “Interactions with Rx Allergy Drug Pose Life-Threatening Risk,” FDA Consumer, May-June 1998.
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