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Medications, Drugs and Substance Abuse

*Material provided is intended for information only and should be used only in conjunction with the advice of a physician.*


Guidelines useful in considering the relationships between drugs and diving:
 
  • Consider the condition/illness/disease for which the medication is being given. Go to our 'Fitness to Dive' web page and check to see if your condition could be dangerous underwater.

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    • Are there any effects of the drug that alter consciousness or cause alteration in decision making ability.

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      • Check in the linked 'Databases' below for any side effects of the drug that could be dangerous underwater.

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        • Consider complex relationships between drugs, the individual, other medications, diet and the conditions for which the drugs are taken.

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          • Write us if you still have a problem finding or deciding about a specific drug, condition or drug combination after using the process above.
 
 
Use these Databases to Search for Your Medication, then apply the above diving factors in your decision to dive!


 
    Substance Abuse

Alcohol
Kava

 
    Diving and Drugs
Class of Drugs Condition Adverse to Diving Drug Effects Adverse to Diving Other Factors Related to Diving
Anticoagulants Various cardiovascular conditions Hematomas from minor trauma, hemorrhage from barotrauma Tendency to bleed from barotrauma (ears, sinuses, lungs - possibly worsens spinal DCS)
Analgesics None GI bleeding  Aspirin possibly beneficial by blocking effects of bubbles
Narcotics, Marijuana & Alcohol Substance Abuse Decreased sensorium & problem solving Possible additive effect of nitrogen
Tranquillizers State anxiety, panic Decreased sensorium & problem solving Possible additive effect of nitrogen
Anti-depressants Depression, mania, risk of suicide  Decreased sensorium & problem solving Risk of seizures
Decongestants & Antihistamines Upper respiratory infection Sleepiness, nasal rebound congestion Risk of ear and pulmonary barotrauma
Antacids and H2 blockers Gastroesophageal reflux of ascent None Drugs beneficial due to effect on GERD
Motion sickness drugs
Draminine (Dimenhydrinate)
Seasickness, dehydration Sedation, loss of judgment, and aggravation of
nitrogen narcosis 
Scopolamine and Meclizine are additive (both cholinergic)
Calcium blockers Hypertension Postural hypotension Fainting can occur.
Beta blockers Hypertension
Arrhythmias
Inability to respond to needs of stress Constriction of blood vessels to hands, aggravate asthma
ACE inhibitors  Hypertension, heart disease None Produces cough & airway swelling 
Diuretics Water and salt retention Possible dehydration Loss of potassium
Steroids Asthma, dermatitis,  None Possible increase in O2 toxicity (animals)
Antiarrhythmics Abnormal heart rhythym None, with properly adjusted dosages Solar sensitivity with amiodarone
Antibiotics Ear, sinus, lung infections None Solar sensitivity with tetracycline
Anti-malarials Prevention of malaria more important than side effects of the drugs. Lariam (Mefloquine) - psychological & neurological problems.
Few problems with chloroquine, Malarone (Proguanil+Atavaquone), Doxycycline
Side effects of Lariam similar to symptoms of DCS.

LINKS

'Medications and Diving'
Bruce V. Voss, MD

Diving Medicine (Bove)



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 Ernest Campbell, MD, FACS All Rights Reserved.
 

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Home > Medications, Drugs and Substance Abuse