Statement from CRY Chief Executive, Alison Cox MBE, regarding the dangers of certain drugs / medications for people with with heart conditions

Alison Cox MBEAlison Cox MBE, Chief Executive and Founder of CRY comments:

“At CRY, we have always issued a warning that everyone – particularly people with a suspected or pre-existing condition affecting the heart – needs to take extra care with medication or some supplements. All medicines – both those prescribed by your doctor and those purchased over the counter for conditions as simple as the common cold – must be checked, as some can increase the risk of sudden death.”

“The same applies to a number of ‘performance enhancing’ substances that many athletes or amateur sportspeople use and which are freely available to buy, often via the internet.”

“However, the tragedy in many cases of sudden cardiac death in young people is that the victim and their family were often unaware that they even had an underlying cardiac condition.”

“Furthermore, it is often impossible to know after the sudden death, because if the condition was a heart rhythm abnormality there will be no structural damage. As we know from our experience of supporting bereaved families on a weekly basis, any suggestion of the use of drugs or medication before a sudden death can lead to rumours and cruel ‘whispering’ campaigns that simply exacerbate the already horrendous level of grief being experienced.”

“If a person has an underlying heart condition, then it might only require a very small amount of a particular medication or substance to trigger a potentially fatal cardiac event; and it should not be used as a comment on a young person’s lifestyle. Certain drugs can trigger a cardiac event in a similar way to exercise. CRY issues a list of specific medications that can have a serious effect on people with existing heart conditions. This includes drugs that can stimulate and irritate the heart by causing adrenaline-like effects, as well as some anti-depressants. However, if you are worried, always check with your GP or cardiologist before stopping or taking any new medication.”

For more information or further media comment from Alison Cox or CRY’s Consultant Cardiologist, Professor Sanjay Sharma, please contact the CRY Press Office on 020 7112 4905 / 0770 948 7959

Professor Sharma is also the Medical Director for the Virgin London Marathon.

For more information about medications to avoid, please visit