Disorders affecting the Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) can lead to irritation and impact different parts, such as the colon. Some drugs should be avoided with diverticulitis-like conditions as they might irritate or worsen presenting symptoms.
Medications absorbed in these areas may disrupt normal GIT functions, causing mild discomfort. Specific medical conditions in the stomach or colon, like diverticulitis with its pouch-like bulging, can exacerbate the condition. It’s advisable to avoid certain medications, including opioids, NSAIDs, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and steroids, to avoid the worsening of diverticulitis.
Opting for prescribed treatments and sharing your medication history with healthcare providers and pharmacists helps prevent potential drug interactions.
What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is a type of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
“Diverticulitis is when the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and infected at the area where there are some small outpouchings called diverticula,” says Ellen Stein, MD, a gastroenterologist at Rutgers Health in New Jersey.
It comprises the outer pouches on the intestines, initially called diverticula. When these pouches in the colon lining become inflamed and infected, they are called diverticulitis disease and are a type of IBS. Diverticulitis comes with different risk factors, including its burst. Infected and inflamed diverticula can burst and irritate the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the prominent symptoms of diverticulitis include:
- Change in bowel habits
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal pressure
- Abdominal tenderness
- Frequent urination
What are the impact of medications on diverticulitis?
Different medications can affect diverticulitis differently. Some medications can irritate the diverticulitis (pouches) and cause worsening of the condition. They can often burst and cause extreme discomfort or irritation in the intestines. It is recommended to avoid specific medications during diverticulitis to avoid worsening symptoms or medical conditions. Drugs, including opioids, NSAIDs, some blood pressure medications eg, CCBs (Calcium channel blockers), antihistamines (anti-allergy), and steroids, may negatively impact diverticulitis and trigger discomfort.
What are the drugs to avoid with diverticulitis?
Drugs that should be avoided with diverticulitis are as follows:
Opioid analgesics are often prescribed for severe pain management. Patients with diverticulitis are often recommended to avoid opioids as they worsen the symptoms of diverticulitis. Several medical studies proved the effects of opioids when taken by the diverticulitis patient.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Diverticulitis is primarily observed in individuals who take NSAIDs more frequently. Healthcare providers recommend avoiding the frequent use of NSAIDs with or without diverticulitis to avoid the probability or worsening of diverticulitis. Some of the common over-the-counter NSAIDs include Aspirin, Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), Naprosyn, and Celebrex. Share your medication history with your healthcare provider to avoid drug-related side effects.
Medications called anticoagulants like Eliquis or Xarelto are blood thinning and are taken when the anti-coagulation properties are required. It’s beneficial to avoid blood thinner or anticoagulant agents with diverticulitis.
Blood pressure medications
Medications, including calcium channel blockers that are prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure or hypertension, can lead to worsening of already existing diverticulitis symptoms in the body.
As per the studies published by Mayo Clinic, constipation is regularly associated with taking antidepressants. It irritates the stomach and intestines. People with medical conditions like diverticulitis should not take such medications to avoid the worsening of the condition.
Antihistamines are anti-allergy medications.
Antihistamines are one of the medication classes that should be avoided when suffering from diverticulitis as they can cause intraabdominal abscess formation, says Dr. Richard Honekar.
Some of the other medications that can affect diverticulitis or can have adverse effects on the intestines are
- Iron supplements
It’s always mandatory to share your medication and medical condition history with your healthcare provider and pharmacist before getting any prescription. It can save an individual from drug-related effects that can worsen the already existing condition.
What are the treatment options for uncomplicated diverticulitis?
The first approach to treating diverticulitis, taken by healthcare providers and recommended widely, is to rest your colon (intestine). Giving rest and time to the intestines makes it heal by itself and respond better to foreign bodies, e.g., medications.
The second best approach for treatment is using antibiotics that cure infections. The best combinations that are prescribed for the treatment of diverticulitis involve Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) with Metronidazole (Flagyl), amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin), and Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra). Get the prescription from your healthcare provider.
It’s mandatory to complete the antibiotic course as prescribed to avoid antibiotic resistance development in the body. Take the medication as directed in the prescribed dose for the specified period.
Are there trigger foods I should avoid to prevent diverticulitis attacks?
There is no specific triggering food associated that worsens or affects the diverticulitis. It’s often recommended to take a diet high in fibre, as it will support your digestive health and benefit you. Drinking plenty of water when diagnosed with diverticulitis is also recommended for gut health.
When should I see a doctor?
Diverticulitis can flare up and cause troublesome irritation in the GI tract. Getting timely consultation, counseling, and prescription can help you avoid worsening of diverticulitis. Consult your pharmacist for the dose adjustment or alternative medication.
FAQs about drugs to avoid with diverticulitis
It’s good to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, including regular soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee and tea. Water is the best fluid to be used for good gut health.
Positive diet modifications, including adding a fibre-rich diet and water intake, can calm inflamed diverticulitis. Consult your healthcare provider for the best treatment options.
Yes. Eggs and chicken possess no harm to the colon or the diverticulitis. They can be taken and digested. However, giving your stomach and intestines rest for some time is beneficial.