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Some Things Don’t Mix Well
You may know that some medicines don’t work well together. What you eat and drink can affect the way your medicines work and can have an effect on some drugs, too. Before you take a medication for the first time, talk with your doctor or pharmacist to see if there’s anything you should stay away from.
This article will help you to understand possible “food-drug interactions” and to help you learn what
you can do to prevent them.
A food-drug interaction can:
▪ prevent a medicine from working the way it should
▪ cause a side effect from a medicine to get worse or better
▪ cause a new side effect
A medicine can also change the way your body uses a food. Any of these changes can be harmful.
What else can affect how
Your age, weight, and sex; medical conditions; the dose of the medicine; other medicines; and vitamins, herbals, and other dietary supplements can affect how your medicines work. Every time you use a medicine, carefully follow the information on the label and directions from your doctor or pharmacist.
Does it matter if I take a medicine on a full or empty stomach?
Yes, with some medicines. Some medicines can work faster, slower, better, or worse when you take them on a full or empty stomach. On the other hand, some medicines will upset your stomach, and if there is food in your stomach, that can help reduce the upset. If you don’t see directions on your medicine labels, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is best to take your medicines on an empty stomach (one hour before eating, or two hours after eating),with food, or after a meal (full stomach).
Basically, there are three ways foods interact with medicines:
- Interfering with how the medicine is digested and absorbed by the body. For example, milk blocks iron absorption in the stomach. Calcium found in dairy products can bind some medications, such as iron supplements and some antibiotics (Cipro and Levaquin, a quinolone.)
- Other foods, containing higher levels of fat and fiber, slow down the rate at which your stomach empties and the rate at which your medication is absorbed by your body. So your dose is smaller than expected.
- Blocking how the medicine is broken down, or metabolized, in the either the intestines or liver. The body breaks down drugs and eliminates them in urine, which is why we take medications daily or several times a day. Grapefruit juice blocks enzymes in the intestines that break down certain drugs, such as cholesterol-lowering ones, heart medicines, and immunological drugs. (Grapefruit juice has also been shown to reduce activity of allergy medicines, like Allegra, so its effects are not consistent.) Since the body metabolizes less medicine, more circulates in the bloodstream, as much as two to three times as much, which greatly increases the likelihood of side effects.
This citrus fruit changes the way certain cells in your gut take in and move medication through your body -- it can affect large number of drugs. It can make some, like fexofenadine (Allegra) for allergies, less effective and make others too strong, including ones that lower your cholesterol like atorvastatin (Lipitor).
This dairy product can make it harder for your body to process certain antibiotics. Minerals in milk like calcium and magnesium are part of the reason, along with the protein casein. Having dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese can delay or prevent the absorption of certain antibiotics such as tetracyclines and ciprofloxacin (Cipro). The calcium in these foods binds to the antibiotics in the stomach and upper small intestine and can make it harder to absorb the medication.
Yummy Dark chocolate in particular can weaken the effects of drugs meant to calm you down or make you sleep, like zolpidem tartrate (Ambien). It also can boost the power of some stimulant drugs, like methylphenidate (Ritalin). And if you take an MAO inhibitor, used to treat depression, it can make your blood pressure dangerously high.
Some people use this as an herbal remedy to help with digestion, and others use it to flavor foods. But glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid, a chemical in licorice, can weaken the effect of some drugs, including cyclosporine, used to keep people who’ve had transplants from rejecting their new organs. it increases excess of cortisol to mineralocorticoid receptors causing sodium retention and potassium depletion, so it may interfere with various medicines including antihypertensive and antiarrhythmic agents
This can lower the effects of levothyroxine (Synthroid), a medicine that gives you thyroid hormone when your body doesn’t make enough (a condition called hypothyroidism). If you take this medication and a multivitamin, check to see if the vitamin has iron in it. If you need an iron supplement, ask your doctor about taking it and your medication at different times.
This makes certain drugs less effective or even useless, including some blood pressure and heart medicines. It also can make others stronger than they should be or cause dangerous side effects.
It can weaken antipsychotic drugs like lithium and clozapine, but boost the effects -- and side effects -- of others. Those include aspirin, epinephrine (used to treat serious allergic reactions), and albuterol (taken by inhaler for breathing problems). It can also make it harder for your body to take in and use iron.
These help with the sneezing and runny nose caused by allergies, but some of them can make medication for high blood pressure less effective and raise your heart rate. Talk to your doctor about other ways to manage your allergies if you take blood pressure medicine.
Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs)
These control seizures in people who have epilepsy. But AEDs can make birth control pills less able to prevent pregnancy, and early research shows they may make other drugs stronger and cause potentially serious side effects.
If you take the drug warfarin -- used to treat and prevent blood clots -- be aware of how much vitamin K you take in. Vitamin K increases blood clotting. It can reverse the effect of the blood thinner and put you at higher risk of a dangerous blood clot. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, parsley, and spinach are some of the most common foods high in vitamin K. Try to eat the same amount of these foods every day so the level of warfarin in your blood stays the same.
High fiber foods:
Fibre in food generally affect some antibiotics, such as penicillin. The fact that fiber slows the rate at which the stomach gets empty, hence the rate of medication absorption is also get slowed down, giving you a lower blood dose than expected.
Red wine and hard cheese :
They contain a compound called “tyramine” that acts the same way on brain neurons as the antidepressant class called monoamine inhibitors (Parnate.) So they increase the drug’s effect.
A large number of drugs are introduced every year. Food-drug interactions can produce negative effects in safety and efficacy of drug therapy, as well in the nutritional status of the patient. Generally speaking, drug interactions are to be avoided, due to the possibility of poor or unexpected outcomes. Like food, drugs taken by mouth must be absorbed through the lining of the stomach or the small intestine. Consequently, the presence of food in the digestive tract may reduce absorption of a drug. Often, such interactions can be avoided by taking the drug 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. Like drugs, foods are not tested as comprehensively so they may interact with prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
Medication should always be consumed as directed by doctor
Due to the above factors effect of your medication can be weaken. . Hence make sure you understand your treatment plan and follow your doctor’s instructions.