Velocity Care takes a look at the 6 most common foods that you should avoid while taking medications
Talking with your doctor or pharmacist is always a good idea before taking any new medications. It’s important to know the correct dosage and whether you should take medicine with food or on an empty stomach. You should also be aware of what foods you should avoid, because certain combinations of food and medicine can cause your medication to be less effective or even cause serious adverse effects.
Below is a list of six of the most common food and drug interactions:
- Grapefruit. You should not consume grapefruit, whether eaten whole or in juice form, if you are taking certain statin drugs. These medications are very common in treating high cholesterol levels. Grapefruit affects the way the medication is metabolized and broken down through the liver. It can cause the levels of the medicine in the blood to rise to dangerously high proportions, making side effects much more probable and severe. Side effects can include damage to the muscles and liver.
- Dairy products. Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt contain high levels of calcium. Calcium can often interact with certain medications and prevent them from being properly absorbed into the body. When this occurs, the medication will not work as well as it is supposed to. You should not take certain antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin and tetracycline), thyroid medications and osteoporosis medications (such as risedronate and etidronate) with any foods that contain dairy. You don’t have to avoid these foods completely, but you should wait at least two hours after taking the medication before consuming dairy.
- Black licorice. Studies have shown that consuming large amounts of black licorice while taking certain heart, blood pressure and diuretic drugs can be dangerous. Eating black licorice in large quantities can make these critical medications less effective.
- Vitamin K. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach and other vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli and asparagus are very high in Vitamin K. High levels of Vitamin K decrease the effectiveness of blood thinning agents like Warfarin or Coumadin. This could put patients at an increased risk for developing blood clots.
- Tyramine. Tyramine is a chemical found in certain foods such as aged cheese, smoked meats, dried fruits, red wine and malt beers. You should avoid these foods when taking certain anti-depressant medications as the interaction between the two can cause very rapid and dangerous increases in blood pressure.
- Alcohol. You should always consume alcohol in moderation, and you should avoid it completely when taking some medications. Patients who take medications to treat diabetes, such as insulin or other oral diabetic agents, should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can strengthen the ability of these medications to lower blood sugar and cause the patient’s blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels, causing hypoglycemia.
It is always important to discuss your medications with your doctor prior to taking them. Make certain that your doctor is aware of all other medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and vitamins, and inform your physician of any drug allergies that you may have. Pay attention to your doctor’s instructions and be aware of what foods to avoid in order to ensure that your medication works exactly the way that it should.
If you have questions about your medications, the doctors at Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center are here to help. Our conveniently located walk-in clinics can provide the fast, professional service that you and your family deserve. Visit our website at www.velocitycare.com to find the location closest to you or for a list of the services we provide.
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