5 Food-Medicine Interactions to Watch out for

We all know that some medications interact with others. But some medicines also interact with foods and drinks. The databases utilized by physicians and pharmacists will reveal drug interactions, but don’t always consider food interactions.

The safest thing to do? Check with your doctor and pharmacist about potential interactions whenever you start a new medication.

Want to do a quick check medications you’re already on? Here’s a list of 5 foods and drinks, and the medications they interact with:

1. Alcohol

Alcohol should always be taken in moderation, but if you are on medication, you may need to give it up altogether.

Alcohol is a sedative. If mixed with pain medications, antianxiety medications, or antidepressants, its sedative effects can increase dangerously.

In particular, methotrexate, used for rheumatoid arthritis, severe psoriasis, lupus, and certain cancers, increases the risk of liver damage when combined with alcohol. Common brand names for methotrexate are Otrexup, Rasuvo, and Trexall.

Alcohol raises the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding for those who take such steroids as prednisone, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Even Tylenol (acetaminophen) can cause liver damage when mixed with alcohol.

If you drink, even moderately, it is important to talk to your doctor about how much alcohol is safe to take with your medications.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant, and steroids, such as prednisone, increase its effect, causing irritability and insomnia.

3. Grapefruit

The grapefruit interacts with a surprisingly large number of medications. These include blood pressure medications, cholesterol medications such as statins, arrhythmia medications, antihistamines, some pain medications, prostate medications, some mood medications, and some antimicrobials (anti-infection medications).

The list of grapefruit-medication interactions is long, so if you’re a grapefruit lover, you should ask your doctor whether you can continue to “indulge” whenever you are prescribed a new medication.

4. Fermented foods, including aged cheese and red wine

Most people with depression are prescribed SSRIs, but the older MAO inhibitors may still be the best choice for a given patient. Eating fermented foods while taking MAO inhibitors and can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels, which can cause severe high blood pressure.

5. Dairy Products

People are usually encouraged to eat yogurt when taking antibiotics, but the antibiotic tetracycline is the exception to the rule: the calcium in yogurt and other dairy products decreases the effectiveness of this common antibiotic.

Calcium also interferes with the effectiveness of osteoporosis medications, such as Fosamax, Actonel, Atelvia, and Boniva.

It is not enough to keep this list handy. New medications are constantly being developed, and new interactions are being discovered all the time. The best advice is to be cautious with every medication, and to check with your doctor and pharmacist about any possible interactions.

At Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, we pay close attention to the needs of our residents.

Our registered dietician ensures that all meals conform to the individual dietary restrictions and requirements for every resident. And our master chef and staff of culinary experts make sure the food is delicious enough to please even the most discerning palates. Our meals are not only healthful and flavorful, they are also beautiful: elegantly served, using fine china and utensils.

Atlantic Coast is situated on beautifully landscaped grounds, and provides the comfortable and pleasant living experience that is essential to ensuring optimal clinical outcomes. We have strived to create an environment and program that truly enhances quality of life, thus promoting recuperation, health, and well-being.

Our modern facility features spacious living spaces that are impeccably decorated and furnished. Our residents are pampered with the finest amenities, including free WIFI, flat screen cable television and state-of-the-art mechanical beds for individualized comfort.

Our goal is to offer activities that stimulate both mind and body. We fashion each day’s recreation schedule with the primary purpose of encouraging social interaction and promoting physical health and fitness. To accommodate different interests and personal preferences, our Activities Director designs flexible schedules, with a variety of stimulating and engaging activity options.

Read our reviews on senioradvisor.com, caring.com, and wellness.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.

Leave a Comment