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November 22, 2021

Some foods and medicines don't mix

Watch what you eat: What to know about food and medication interactions. 

The holidays are here and one thing on the top of everyone’s mind is all the yummy fixings that will soon be filling our plates–and tummies. But did you know that there are potential interactions to consider when it comes to food and your prescription drugs?

If you are taking medications–even over-the-counter meds–here are some things to know before you dig into that holiday feast.

The basics:
-Check the prescription label or over-the-counter medication packaging for all warnings, precautions and instructions and call your doctor or pharmacist if there is anything you don’t understand.  
-Take medications with at least 8 ounces of water unless you’ve been told otherwise by your doctor.
-Don’t mix liquid medications, crushed pills or broken capsules into your food unless specifically advised by your doctor or pharmacist. Doing so may alter the efficacy of the medication.
-Don’t stir medications into hot drinks, which may prevent the medication from working properly.
-Do not take vitamins and prescriptions simultaneously because they can interfere or even cause reactions when taken with some medications.
-Never take any medication with alcohol.

Specific interactions to be aware of

Chances are if you are taking one of the following medications or class of medications, you’re aware of dietary restrictions, but here are a few common interactions to watch out for:

Condition:  High blood pressure/angina
Food:  Grapefruit
Drug names:
-Plendil (felodipine)
-Procardia or Adalat(nifedipine)
Drug type:  Calcium channel blocker
Warning:    Grapefruit contains a compound that can cause the above medications to accumulate in your system to dangerous levels.

Condition:  High cholesterol
Food:  Grapefruit
Drug Names:
-Lipitor (atorvastatin)
-Zocor (simvastatin)
Drug type:  Statins
Warning:    Grapefruit contains a compound that can cause the above medications to accumulate in your system to dangerous levels.

Condition:  Depression
Food: Cheese, flava beans specific types of wine, pickled herring and brewer’s yeast
Drug names:
-Marplan (isocarboxazid)
-Nardil (phenelzine)
-Emsam (selegiline)
-Parnate (tranylcypromine)
Drug type:  MAOIs (anti-depressants)
Warning:  The foods listed above are high in tyramine. When eaten with MAOIs used to treat depression they can cause a “hypertensive crisis”–a severe increase in blood pressure that can lead to a stroke. 

Condition:  Blood clots
Food: Kale and broccoli
Drug names:
-Jantoven (warfarin)
-Coumadin (warfarin)
Drug Type: Blood thinner
Warning:  Kale and broccoli are high in vitamin K, which negates the effectiveness of warfarin, creating a greater risk of developing blood clots.

Condition:  Bacterial infection
Food: Dairy
Drug names:
-Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
-Levaquin (levofloxacin)
-Avelox (moxifloxacin)
Drug type:  Antibiotic
Warning:  Dairy-based foods interfere with the absorption of the above medications, making them ineffective. 

Additional Good-To-Knows

Also important is when you eat foods with certain medications. Eating food at the same time as taking a medication can interfere with its absorption, which can delay or decrease its effectiveness (as is the case with antibiotics and dairy noted above). Some require that you do eat with the medication to prevent nausea or dizziness. Every drug with a known food interactions like these will give instructions on when you should or shouldn’t eat.

Now that we’ve cleared that up…

We wish you all safe and happy holidays!

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