What Foods to Avoid When Taking Prescription Drugs?
No doubt, you know that to get the best results out of a treatment course you need to follow all the recommendations given by a doctor and a pharmacist. If a specialist insists that a particular drug should be taken at a particular time of a day or that it should be swallowed whole without breaking, there is a weighty reason for that. Also, it may surprise you, but a doctor may ask you to avoid certain foods and drinks during a treatment course. And following those recommendations is a must as well. Even healthy products, which seem to be harmless at first glance, may cause dangerous interactions with medications.
Top 10 Undesirable Medicine and Food Combinations
- Anticoagulants (or blood thinners) + cranberry juice or spinach
If you take such drugs, you should avoid vegetables that contain large amounts of vitamin K. Such products include spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other vegetables of dark green color. The vitamin mentioned prevents anticoagulants from providing a sufficient effect.
As for cranberry juice, it adds to the effect of such drugs, which is also dangerous.
- Statins, cancer drugs, heart remedies, products for impotence + grapefruits
First, you should avoid grapefruits, if you are prescribed statins for normalizing your cholesterol. The point is that grapefruits significantly enhance the effect of such drugs, which can lead to adverse consequences, including pains in the muscles, weakness, kidney problems.
In addition, grapefruits can interact with drugs for treating cancer, high blood pressure, heart diseases, antidepressants, antihistamines, impotence. Also, it is better to avoid mixing them with antibiotics.
Remember that grapefruits can cause adverse interactions with medications even several hours after you eat them.
- Antidepressants + ripe cheese or fruit
In case you use a medicine that belongs to monoamine oxidase inhibitors, you should avoid consuming aged hard sorts of cheese (like Camembert or Emmentaler) and certain fruit, including overripe bananas, raspberries, avocados, and dried fruit. Such food and drug combinations can increase the blood pressure to dangerous levels.
- ACE inhibitors + bananas or other products rich in potassium
ACE inhibitors can retain potassium in the body, so, when you mix them with products rich in this mineral, that is likely to cause an abundance and adverse health consequences, namely heart rhythm problems. Other products rich in potassium are potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms. It is also advisable to avoid salt substitutes.
- Antibiotics + dairy products
Many patients believe that consuming dairy products during a course of antibiotics is a must to prevent digestive problems. However, in practice, products containing calcium lower the effectiveness of such drugs since they prevent them from being absorbed effectively. As for the use of dairy products for preventive purposes, modern antibiotics are safe enough and do not interfere with the operation of the digestive system.
- Drugs for blood hypertension + licorice
Both these drugs and licorice make the organism lose potassium. And the deficiency of this mineral can lead to problems with the heart, the nervous system, and the muscles.
- Heart drugs + licorice
If you take heart medications with glycosides, you must avoid black licorice. This product contains glycyrrhizin, which can interact with glycosides and cause irregularities in the heart rhythm and even a heart stroke. Also, licorice can prevent such drugs from working effectively.
- Drugs for depression or Parkinson’s disease + fermented products
Fermented foods, like aged cheese or pickles, can interact with such drugs and cause a rapid and dangerous rise in blood pressure.
- Medications for allergic disorders or antidepressants + coffee
Those combinations can increase the heart rate and intensify adverse side effects characteristic of the drugs mentioned. Also, in the case of depression, caffeine is likely to make one feel more anxious and worsen sleeping problems. One should keep in mind that caffeine can also be found in tea and energy drinks.
- All the medicines + alcohol
It may be hard to refrain from alcoholic drinks for a long period, but, in some situations, it is a must. Alcohol interacts negatively with the overwhelming majority of medications: in some cases, it intensifies their effects, in others ― inhibits. In any circumstances, its impact can lead to adverse and even fatal consequences.
Besides, alcohol can produce unpleasant symptoms on its own. There is a high risk of headaches, dizziness, weakness, anxiety, problems with concentration, etc. And you had better avoid loading the organism with extra problems during the illness.
Certainly, in some situations, you can be allowed to treat yourself to a glass of wine, but you should never do such experiments without getting approval from your doctor. And you should know when to stop.
No doubt, the list above is not exhaustive. These are just the most common combinations to avoid. Where to get more information?
- Schedule a visit to your doctor.
- Turn to a pharmacist. By the way, you do not even need to go to a drugstore. You can have a consultation online for free at any moment.
How to Avoid Problems with Food and Drug Interactions?
- First of all, when your doctor prescribes you a new medicine, be sure to tell him about all the health problems you are suffering from. Besides, tell a specialist which prescription and OTC medicines you use. The best variant is to compile the list of such products in advance and to show it to a doctor during every consultation.
- Ask a doctor which foods, drinks, and dietary supplements, you should avoid during a treatment course.
- Make sure you know how to take a drug correctly. Do you need to chew it or to swallow it whole? Should you wash it down with water? At what time should you take it? Should you apply it on an empty stomach or after a meal? Certainly, your doctor will provide you with detailed instructions, but, if you have any additional questions, feel free to ask them.
- Ask a doctor about the symptoms, which must prompt you to turn for medical help.
- Certainly, you should always scrutinize all the information on the leaflets included in the packs.
- Store all the medicines in their original packs so that you do not mix anything up.
- In case you feel any unusual side effects or symptoms during a treatment course, be sure to consult your doctor or another medical specialist. The most common consequences of food and drug interactions are vomiting, nausea, feeling dizzy, fatigue, an increase in the heart rate, a decrease in the effectiveness of a medicine, intensification of side effects. Sure, if you feel unwell, you can freely call for an ambulance. There is no need to wait for a scheduled consultation and put your health at risk.