When food and medication do not go together: Preventing interactions between food and medication | Bless you

Some medications can be affected by certain foods, so checking their ingredients can help avoid negative reactions.


KITTY FINKLEA Registered Nutritionist

Did you know that certain foods and drinks can change the way your medication works?

When what you eat or drink affects the way the drug works, it’s called a food-drug interaction. Food and drug interaction may interfere with the proper functioning of a drug, worsen or improve a side effect, or even cause a new side effect.

Typical food and drug interactions can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

Changes in taste or appetite.

Digestive changes such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, pain, bleeding, or gas.

Metabolic changes that may encourage weight gain or loss, higher or lower blood pressure or blood sugar.

Certain medications must be taken with food and other medications must be taken on an empty stomach for optimal absorption. Thyroid medications, for example, are usually taken on an empty stomach, and antacids work better with or after food.

Frequent interactions between food and drugs are alcoholic beverages, increasing drowsiness or inhibition of the absorption of certain drugs. Foods high in calcium reduce the absorption of certain antibiotics, making them less effective. Vitamin K foods like vegetables can interfere with Coumadin, a blood thinner.

Some food-drug interactions can also be dangerous. For example, if grapefruit juice is taken with certain cholesterol-lowering, antihypertensive, or anti-anxiety drugs, the drug can build up in the body and cause liver or kidney problems. As a general rule of thumb, you should wait at least 2 to 4 hours between consuming any food or drink that may affect your medication, but check with your doctor or pharmacist.

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