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8 Common Food and Medication Interactions to Avoid

8 Common Food and Medication Interactions to Avoid

Although consuming medication is common, even on a daily basis, many people are lax about or do not adhere to instructions related to their consumption. For eg: when it comes to consuming food and beverages with medicines. Consuming medicine might seem a normal activity, but there are other factors that weigh in on how well they work. Food and drug reactions occur when the food and medicine you consume interfere with each other. These can occur with any kind of medicine, including vitamins and antacids, etc. Consuming medicine at the same time as your meals might lead to your body not absorbing the medicine. The following list is of 8 common food and medication interactions we must avoid. 

Antibiotics + dairy

Dairy products like cheese, milk and yogurt are known to react with antibiotics. It’s proven that they decrease the absorption of antibiotics into the bloodstream. The calcium present in the dairy can combine with antibiotics and form a compound that is hard to digest, in turn leading to a stomach upset. This holds good for medication such as fluoroquinolones like Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (levofloxacin), Avelox (moxifloxacin), and certain tetracyclines. 

As a rule, dairy products shouldn’t be eaten 2 hours before or 6 hours after the medication is taken. 

Grapefruit + statins or cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), calcium blockers

 It’s a lesser known fact that grapefruit and calcium channel blockers don’t mix well. The juice of the grapefruit changes the way the statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) are absorbed in the blood. Grapefruit has a compound that inhibits a common drug-metabolising enzyme called CYP3A4. This can cause a higher amount of drug to be absorbed into the bloodstream.  

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Drugs such as Plendil (felodipine) and Procardia or Adalat (nifedipine), are known to interact with grapefruit juice. This also happens with statins used for high cholesterol, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin). Eating the fruit or drinking the juice of the grapefruit can cause an increase in the accumulation of the drug in your system which can be life threatening. 

Acetaminophen + Alcohol

Popping any tablets before or after going on a drinking spree can cause you a lot of harm. 

Combining drugs with alcohol can affect the liver and increase liver toxicity. Precautions must be taken when mixing medication with alcohol, as some drugs can cause more harm to the body. Drugs such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be used to feel better after a hangover, but it can also cause considerable damage to your body. This holds good for insulin or diabetic pills as well. Combining these pills with alcohol can prolong the effects of these drugs resulting in a drop of blood sugar levels.

Licorice + Heart drugs (Lanoxin, Aldactone, Hydrodiuril)

Although licorice is extracted from a herb and seems harmless, when mixed with drugs used to address heart failure and abnormal heart beat, it can cause toxicity in the body. Licorice is said to reduce the effects of drugs used to help blood pressure and urine. These include drugs such as Hydrodiuril and Aldactone. Avoid any form of licorice if you are on any of these medicines. 

Vitamin K + Warfarin

Vitamin K is essential for the body as it helps prevent clots and severe bleeding. It’s also helps prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin K is found in abundance in spinach, turnip, brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale and some other greens. Though beneficial, caution must be exercised when consuming this with drugs such as Warfarin (Coumadin). Intake of Vitamin K should be kept consistent and one shouldn’t over indulge in its consumption as it can counteract with the clotting medication. 

Tyramine-Containing Foods + MAOIs 

MAOIs or Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are a less-frequently subscribed antidepressant that causes severe side effects. Foods such as aged cheese, some wines, smoked fish, malt beer and dry fruits also contain a component called Tyramine and this, when combined with MAOIs, can lead to hypersensitivity or increase in blood pressure levels. 

Iodine rich food + Antithyroid drugs

Antithyroid drugs are used to reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Eating a diet high in iodine can hamper the workings of medication for hyperthyroidism. A study suggests that a diet high in iodine usually contributes to the lower suspension rate of hyperthyroidism. 

The antithyroid drugs work by preventing the absorption of iodine in the stomach. You may have to up the intake of the antithyroid drugs which will then result in side effects and liver disease. When on antithyroid medication, eggs, meat, dairy and seafood should be consumed with caution as they can block the absorption of the drug in the small intestine. 

 Metronidazole + Alcohol

A medicine used to treat vaginal and bacterial infections, Metronidazole, an antibiotic, should under no circumstance be combined with alcohol as it can interfere with metabolism of alcohol. Combining these can result in severe vomiting, heart palpitations, headaches and hot flushes. 

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