What You Swallow With That Pill
Excerpt By Colette Bouchez, HealthScoutNews
like most folks, remembering that daily dose of cholesterol medication
-- or that heart pill or blood pressure drug -- is often easier
when you take it with a meal.
However, the truth
is what you eat at one of those meals could have some detrimental
effects on how a medication works in your body.
One of the
most dangerous combinations involves grapefruit, a breakfast staple
juice influences the production of liver enzymes, which can affect
the way certain drugs are metabolized by the body," says Michael
Coyne, a registered pharmacist and associate vice president of pharmacy
at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.
This can cause
some drugs to end up in the bloodstream in a higher concentration
than you are prescribed, Coyne explains. With other drugs, it can
inhibit concentration so you don't get the level of treatment you
most likely to be affected by grapefruit juice, he says, include
antihistamines for allergies, benzodiazepines for anxiety, calcium-channel
blockers for hypertension, and statin drugs for cholesterol. Other
research has shown reactions may occur with the medicines Viagra,
Singulair and Aricept.
If you're wondering
whether all citrus juices have the same effect, the answer is no.
is a reaction unique to grapefruit juice, so other fruits and juices
are safe to consume with these medications," says Maudene Nelson,
a registered dietician and nutritionist at Columbia Presbyterian
Medical Center in Manhattan.
drink you might not want to mix with your medicines is coffee --
the culprit being caffeine.
to causing gastric upsets that can influence how you feel after
taking certain medications, Coyne says caffeine has some potential
to affect the way some drugs are metabolized, altering the rate
at which the medicine gets into your bloodstream.
caffeine-rich drinks can also increase nervousness, and thereby
decrease the effectiveness of any drug you might be taking to calm
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the medicines most
likely to be affected by caffeine include certain bronchodilators
for asthma, antibiotics known as quinolones, (drugs like Cipro),
and anti-anxiety medications such as Valium, Ativan and Xanax.
the FDA warns the common bronchodilator, theophylline, can also
be affected by high-fat meals, which can increase the amount of
the drug in your body, or high carbohydrate meals, which can decrease
the drug's levels in your system.
Foods can also
affect other asthma medications, depending on the dose form you
take -- such as regular release, sustained release or sprinkles.
Experts say you should check with your pharmacist, and follow all
directions provided with your prescription.
breakfast table is not the only place where folks have to be wary
of what they eat. Any desserts that contain licorice can have a
powerful impact on blood pressure medication.
of licorice were established well over 20 years ago, including the
ability to raise blood pressure, so it should never be eaten if
you are taking medication for hypertension," Nelson says.
sold in American supermarkets won't harm you because it usually
features synthetic ingredients, or licorice flavoring, Nelson says.
Ironically, the licorice you buy in a health food store -- or those
imported from Europe -- often contain real licorice. Just a few
pieces is enough to cause blood pressure patients harm, she notes.
interaction that may take you by surprise: blood thinners such as
Coumadin could be affected by large amounts of otherwise healthy
foods such as broccoli. The key factor here is vitamin K, which
helps blood clot, Coyne says.
if you are taking a medicine to keep your blood from clotting, the
last thing you want to do is eat a lot of foods containing the blood-clotting
nutrient vitamin K," Coyne says. This includes not only broccoli,
but also spinach, brussels sprout and cauliflower.
If you just
can't live without these foods, eat the same amount every week and
let your doctor know, so your medication can be adjusted.
the most dangerous of all beverage-drug interactions is, of course,
alcohol, which can dramatically alter how a number of medications
act in your body.
is particularly true of any drug which affects the central nervous
system, which is where alcohol does its work -- drugs such as antidepressants,
anti-anxiety agents or sedatives," Nelson says. Other drugs
affected by alcohol can include blood pressure medications, cholesterol-lowering
drugs and certain heart medications.
have a question about a food or drug interaction, check with your
pharmacist and always read the literature that comes from the pharmacy
with your medication, and obey all precautions," Coyne says.
For more information
on food-drug interactions, including a complete listing of the most
common drugs and the foods you should avoid, visit
New Mexico State University's College of Agriculture and Food Economics.
You can visit
the FDA for a terrific brochure on food
and drug interactions.
Reference Source 101 ...............................................................................................................