Common Drug-Food Interactions That Should Be Avoided
Medication must be taken with caution so you can reduce your chances of side effects and serious drug reactions. Drug interactions result in reduced effectiveness of drugs, unexpected side effects, or increase the action of a particular drug. Drug interactions fall into three categories:
Drug-drug interaction: It is a type of reaction where two or more drugs interact to produce adverse reactions.
Drug-nutrient/food interaction: The drug interacts with food, beverage, and/or dietary supplement to produce adverse effects.
Drug disease interaction: It is a condition where the drug interacts with the person’s existing condition, doing more harm than good.
Drug-food interactions are the most common interactions found to occur out of accidental misuse or due to lack of knowledge about the active ingredients involved in the drug. Some foods and drugs, when taken simultaneously, can alter the bioavailability of certain drugs, along with the body’s ability to utilize a particular food or drug. This may result in serious side effects.
Some Common Food-Drug Interactions:
1. Grape Fruit Juices
Caption: Grape and grape fruit juices in a glass
Among all fruit juices, grapefruit juice (GFJ) tends to interact with different types of drugs the most. The furanocoumarins constituent of grapefruit juice is known to inhibit the intestinal CYP 3A4 enzyme. This enzyme is known to affect the liver’s ability to work with the drug.
Drugs like Felodipine, midazolam, cyclosporine and Statins when taken along with grape fruit juices
have shown to increase the oral bioavailability of these drugs to toxic levels.
Grapefruit juice gives a boost to blood levels of erectile dysfunction drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra) triggering side effects like headache, Low blood pressure, and flushing.
2. High Fiber Diet
Caption: High fiber diet like Oats and Wheat
Dietary fiber such as wheat bran may lower the efficacy of drugs like Simvastatin, Ezetimibe, pravastatin, digoxin and fluvastatin. Consumption of pectin or oat bran together with Lovastatin decreases the absorption of the drug.
Caption: two glass of alcohol
Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) is available as an over-the-counter pain reliever. Acetaminophen consists of Tylenol and it should not be taken with alcohol as it may increase liver toxicity.
4. Dairy Products
Caption: Dairy products like milk, cheese, butter and curd
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich sources of calcium that binds to the antibiotics to form an insoluble compound and thus delay its absorption.
Antibiotics such as tetracycline’s and ciprofloxacin (Cipro) should be avoided along with dairy products.
However, certain antibiotics like metronidazole (Flagyl) can be taken with water or milk to prevent an upset stomach.
5. Tyramine-Containing Foods
Caption: Fermented products like pickles
Foods containing tyramines, such as some malt beers, red wines, fermented products, pickles, aged cheeses, smoked fish, and dried fruits, should not be taken along with Monoamine oxidase inhibitors. This may result in high blood pressure or a hypertensive crisis.
6. Iodine-Rich Foods
Caption: Iodine rich foods like eggs, meat, and salt
High-iodine diets like seafood and seaweed, iodized salt, eggs, meat, and dairy products may interfere with the action of antithyroid drugs and lower the remission rate of hyperthyroidism.
7.Vitamin K Rich Foods
Caption: Leafy green vegetables are a rich source of Vitamin K
Foods like spinach, fenugreek, kale, and other leafy greens vegetables should be avoided if you are taking warfarin along with it. Vitamin K rich foods can antagonize the effect of warfarin and prevent the drug from working.
8. Statins and Anything
Statins should be taken without food or an empty stomach as concomitant administration of statins with food may alter statin pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics. This in turn results in an increased risk of adverse reactions such as myopathy or rhabdomyolysis.