We’re all aware that some medications interact with other medications, but some medicines, also interact with foods and drinks. The safest thing to do is to check with your doctor and pharmacist about potential interactions whenever you start a new medication.
The computer databases used by physicians and pharmacists quickly reveal drug interactions,
but don’t always report food interactions.
Want to do a quick check medications you’re
already on? Here’s a list of 5 common foods and drinks— and the common medications that they interact with:
Alcohol should always be taken in moderation, but if you are on medication, you may have to forgo it altogether.
Alcohol is a sedative, and when mixed with pain medications, antianxiety medications, and antidepressants, its sedative effects can be dangerously increased.
Methotrexate, which is 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.
If you take steroids, such as prednisone or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), alcohol raises your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Even a medication as seemingly benign as acetaminophen (Tylenol), when mixed with alcohol,
can cause liver damage.
If you are even a light drinker, it is important to talk to your doctor about how much alcohol
is safe to take with your medications.
2. Caffeinated Beverages
Caffeine is a stimulant, and steroids, such as prednisone, increases its effect, which may cause irritability and insomnia.
The humble grapefruit interacts with a large number of medications. These include blood pressure medications, cholesterol medications such as statins, arrhythmia medications, antihistamines, certain pain medications, ED and prostate medications, certain mood medications, and some antimicrobials (anti-infection medications).
Because the list of grapefruit-medication interactions is so long, if you ever start your morning with a glass of grapefruit juice, or enjoy even an occasional grapefruit appetizer, you should check with your doctor about whether you can continue to do so whenever you are prescribed a new medication.
4. Fermented foods, such as red wine and aged cheese
MAO inhibitors are an older class of antidepressants, and have mostly been replaced with the
new class of SSRIs. However, in certain cases MAO inhibitors are still the best choice for a given patient. Mixing MAO inhibitors with fermented foods can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels, causing severe high blood pressure.
5. Dairy Products
People are usually urged to eat yogurt when taking antibiotics, but the antibiotic tetracycline is
an exception. The calcium in dairy products decreases the effectiveness of this popular antibiotic.
Calcium also interferes with the effectiveness of osteoporosis medications, such as Fosamax, Actonel, Atelvia, and Boniva.
If you take any of the medications mentioned above, you nowl know what to do; however, new medications are constantly being developed, and new food-medication interactions are being discovered all the time. The best advice is to be cautious if you take any medication, and to
speak to your doctor about the possible interactions.
At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, our nutritionists and dietitians prepare personalized menus for each of our residents. These menus take the residents’ preferences, as well as their medications, in mind. It’s just one small way that we make sure our residents enjoy delicious — and safe — meals.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.