7 Food and Drug Interactions to Be Aware of ...

When you are taking a medication, you probably think to ask about interactions with other medications, but it is also important to be aware of possible food and drug interactions. Some medications are affected by the food you eat or the beverages you drink. They can make the medication more potent, or they can prevent it from working properly. Neither interaction is desirable, which is why you should be aware of any food and drug interactions that can occur with the medicine you take.

1. Dairy and Thyroid Medication

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One of the food and drug interactions to be aware of is the interaction between dairy and thyroid medications. If you have hypothyroidism, you probably take a thyroid medication to provide your body with the thyroid hormones it needs to function properly. Because it is critical that your body absorb all of the medication, you want to avoid taking thyroid medications at the same time that you consume dairy products. Calcium, whether found in supplements or dairy, can block the absorption of thyroid medications. To be sure your body absorbs all of the medicine wait 3 to 4 hours to consume dairy products after taking medication.

2. Coffee and Antidepressants

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Antidepressants like Prozac or Paxil can interact with coffee and other caffeinated products. The caffeine in coffee increases the effects of the medicine, which can make side effects worse. Combining caffeine and antidepressants could result in tremors, panic attacks, and insomnia. Therefore, it is best to stay away from caffeine when you are taking antidepressants.

3. Leafy Green Vegetables and Blood Thinners

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Blood thinners are prescribed to prevent blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and strokes by thinning blood. Because these medications work by keeping blood thin, it is important to watch the amount of vitamin K you consume. Vitamin K and foods rich in Vitamin K, like leafy green vegetables, helps blood clot. This is counterproductive when you are taking blood thinners, so talk to your doctor about how much Vitamin K is alright for you to have.

4. Caffeine and Bronchodilators

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Bronchodilators are medications that people with asthma take to increase air flow to the lungs, and they are another class of medications that can be affected by caffeine. These medications are stimulants, and the stimulating nature of caffeine can cause dangerous side effects when combined with them, such as an increased heart rate. To prevent this from happening, avoid caffeine products like coffee if you use bronchodilators.

5. Grapefruit Juice and Oral Contraceptives

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Birth control pills are so common that it seems like nothing should interact with them. However, there are things that interact with them, such as grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice significantly increases estradiol levels, which can increase side effects. Since you want to keep your hormones balanced, it is best to avoid grapefruit juice if you take birth control pills.

6. Grapefruit and Statin Cholesterol Reducers

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Grapefruit is a food that actually interacts with a lot of medications, not just birth control pills. For example, grapefruit causes blood levels of statin medications, which lower cholesterol, to rise. This can increase side effects, and, in the case of the medications atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin, the interaction with grapefruit can result in liver damage.

7. Green Juice and Diabetes Medication

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Green juices have become extremely popular because they are so healthy, but they can reduce blood sugar. If you are on diabetes medication and you drink green juice, make sure you monitor your blood sugar carefully. It may decrease, and you may need to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the dose of your medication.

If you take medicine, make sure you ask your pharmacist about any food and drug interactions. Also, check out the book Drug Muggers by Suzy Cohen, which covers food and drug interactions in depth. Did you know medicine could interact with food?

Cohen, Suzy. Drug Muggers. New York: Rodale, 2011. Print.

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