Are the Foods You’re Eating Making Your Prescription Meds Less Effective?

A rarely discussed situation between doctors and patients, when a prescription for drug therapy is being administered to cure an ailment, is what interaction certain foods will have with the meds they will be taking. In some cases this interaction can have extremely negative affects. In her book, Drug Muggers: How to Keep Your Medicine from Stealing the Life out of You, Suzy Cohen, RPh , discuss foods and drugs that do not mix and what you should know. Here are some of her findings:

Some aged cheeses such as Parmesan and blue cheese contain tyramine. Tyramine is also found in soy products and wines. If you are taking an MAO inhibitor such as the antidepressant Nardil, you should be aware that combining tyramine with the MAO inhibitor may result in a dangerous rise in your blood pressure levels.

Dairy products can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb antibiotics, making them less effective.

Vitamin K which is found in green leafy vegetables and also helps your blood clot can adversely react with any blood thinner medication you may be using. Eating the green leafy vegetables on a consistent basis is okay because the blood thinner prescription dose assigned to you is customized. It is not a good idea to abruptly start eating more green leafy vegetables or begin eating less of them if you regularly eat them and are taking this type of medication.

Salt substitutes that contain potassium can unfavorably affect certain blood pressure medication. Blood pressure medications cause your body to retain extra potassium. Adding additional potassium to your diet by ingesting salt substitutes in addition to your prescribed blood pressure medication can lead to dangerously high levels of potassium in your system that can cause heart arrhythmias.

Grapefruit juice sometimes interferes with an enzyme found in the body that helps your body metabolize a number of prescription meds. Cholesterol lowering meds, blood thinners, blood pressure meds, tranquilizers, and antidepressants may end up staying in your blood stream longer because of this metabolizing interference. This may increase their side effects on your system.

Coffee, chocolate, and other soda drinks, all contain caffeine. Caffeine combined with asthma medication, antibiotic, anti-anxiety drugs, and over the counter or prescription decongestants can create a negative impact on your heart. Rapid heartbeats, palpitation, and jitters are some of the reactions associated when you become over caffeinated. Many of these medications contain caffeine.

Combining alcoholic beverages and prescription medications have extremely negative interactions. This unhealthy combination spans the gamut to include every medication on the market today. Avoiding alcohol consumption is the cardinal rule for every medication. Some foods and drugs do not always mix well. Talk to your doctor and pharmacists about your medications, their side effects and compatibilities. Learn what works and what does not work so that you do not end up letting your medicine’s steal the life out of you.

Resource: Drug Muggers: How to Keep Your Medicine from Stealing the Life out Of You – Suzy Cohn, RPh