Beware of Common Food and Drug Interactions

Sharon Palmer

Did you know that some foods can interfere with the drugs that you may be taking—even over the counter drugs? When you swallow that pill, you set a series of steps into motion, as it is absorbed and transported to its actions site in your body. And the foods you eat can interfere with it along the way.

Here are some of the most typical drugs that might clash with foods, beverages and nutrients in your diet. Remember to discuss all medications with your health care provider and take medications only as directed.

1. Acid blocker.
Ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), femotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid). Decreases vitamin B12 absorption.
2. Analgesic.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Alcohol increases risk for liver toxicity.
3. Antibiotic.
a) Tetracyclines. Dairy products and iron supplement decreased food absorption.
b) Amoxicillin, penicillin, zithromax, erythromycin. Food decreases drug absorption.
c) Nitrofurantoin (Macrobid). Food decreased GI distress, slows drug absorption.
4. Anticoagulant.
Warfarin (Coumadin). Foods high in vitamin K (i.e. liver, broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower and Brussels’s sprouts) decrease drug effectiveness.
5. Anticonvulsant.
Phenobarbital, primidone. Alcohol causes increased drowsiness; vitamin C decreases drug’s effectiveness.
6. Antifungal.
Griseofulvin (Fulvicin). High-fat meal increases absorption.
7. Antihistamine.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), chloropheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton). Alcohol increases drowsiness.
8. Antihyperlipemic.
a) Lovastatin (Mevacor). Food enhances drug absorption.
b) Cholestyramine (Questran); colestipol (Colestid). Decreases absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K)
9. Antihypertensive.
Felodipine (Plendil), nifedipin. Grapefruit juice increases drug absorption.
10. Anti-inflammatory.
a) Naproxen (Naprosyn). Food or milk decreases gastrointestinal irritation.
b) Ibuprofen (Motrin). Alcohol increases risk for liver damage or stomach bleeding.
Methotrexate. Decreases absorption of folic acid and vitamin B12.
12. Diuretic.

a) Spironolactone (Aldactone). Food decreases GI irritation.
b) Furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ). Increases mineral loss in urine.
13. Laxative.
Fibercon, Metrolan. Decreases vitamin and mineral absorption.
14. Psychotherapeutic.
MAD inhibitors: isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil). Foods high in tyramine (aged cheeses, Chianti winer, pickled herring, Brewer’s yeast, fava beans) increase risk of hypertensive crisis.

Written by Sharon Palmer, RDN

Read my full article from Environmental Nutrition

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