Murder by Medication/food Interaction


One of the fun things about writing is figuring new and interesting crimes. I sure hope no one is checking my Web searches. I could be in trouble.

I had an idea for a crime story. The perfect murder would be one caused by something no one expected to cause a problem. However, Mythbusters have destroyed a lot of great ideas, especially the ones with disappearing bullets made of frozen meat or ice. Darn party poopers.

I decided on death by medication. Right, killing someone with their own meds. How? Having the medicine interact with some food or drink. Everyone knows about drugs and alcohol, so I decided to search for something new. And I found a bunch, not fatal ones, but still interesting.

Bronchodilators treat and prevent breathing problems from bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The combination of the Bronchodilators and caffeine can create side effects, such as excitability, nervousness, and rapid heartbeat.

ACE inhibitors alone or with other medicines lower blood pressure. It also increases the amount of potassium in your body. Too much potassium can be harmful and can cause an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations. It would interact with foods high in potassium, such as bananas, oranges, green leafy vegetables, and salt substitutes that contain potassium.

Glycosides, such as digoxin, treat heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. They help control the heart rate and help the heart work better. Foods high in fiber may decrease the digoxin in your body. Digoxin with black licorice (which contains the glycyrrhizin) can cause irregular heart beat and heart attack.

Thyroid medicines control hypothyroidism but they don’t cure it. They reverse the symptoms. Coffee and Black tea reduce the medicine’s effectiveness by up to 35%.

Antipsychotics treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and acute manic or mixed episodes from bipolar disorder. Caffeine can increase the amount of medicine in your blood and cause side effects.

MAO inhibitors treat depression. Someone who eats an excessive amount of chocolate after taking an MAO inhibitor may experience a sharp rise in blood pressure.

Grapefruit and its juice are especially nasty. It increases the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream, creating a higher concentration of a drug. With Statins this can lead to liver damage. It can also interact with some blood pressure drugs, organ transplant rejection drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-arrhythmia drugs and antihistamines.

Pomegranate juice has its own list of drugs it can interact with. In its case it increases the impact by slowing the body’s ability to break down the drugs.

I decided to stop before I got into herbal medications. I’m certain there are murderous combinations of herbs and medications. Would you like a cup of Foxglove tea?

So, death by coffee, banana, chocolate, bran, or licorice. Choices. Choices. Now I have the murder, all I have to discover is how the murderer trips up. That’s the trouble with writing. It’s one problem after another.


To see some of my short stories go to

One thought on “Murder by Medication/food Interaction”

  1. Interesting. You could also look at Serotonin Syndrome, it would be seen as a drug interaction and it can be fatal in some cases. It could be as easy as mixing some types of antidepressants with St. John’s Wart.

Comments are closed.