By now, we should all have a healthy respect for prescription medications and know the dos and don’ts of staying safe when taking pills or medicine. However, there may be some innocent mistakes we’re all making and need to stop.
Have a read of our list that includes nine drug and food pairings that you need to avoid.
1. Antidepressants and tyramine.
If you’re taking: an MAO inhibitor prescribed for long-term depression
Avoid eating: tyramine-rich foods
Tyramine is an amino acid which forms during the aging of high-protein foods, such as aged cheeses, cured meats, pickled foods and beer. When the monoamine oxidase inhibitor within antidepressants interacts with tyramine, it can cause a critical increase in blood pressure.
2. Painkillers and soft drinks
If you’re taking: ibuprofen
Avoid drinking: soft drinks
Ibuprofen should never be consumed sweet soft drinks. This is because the acid and carbon dioxide in soft drinks will increase the absorption of the drug. This can result in a toxicity increase within the body which is dangerous for the kidneys.
3. Thyroid hormones and soy or fiber
If you’re taking: levothyroxine
Avoid eating: soy, chestnut and fiber
If you are taking levothyroxine, or a similar product, you should reduce the amount of soy foods you consume as this plant blocks absorption of the drug. Chestnuts and fiber-rich foods also have similar drug-blocking effects.
4. Drugs lowering the levels of “bad” cholesterol and grapefruit
If you’re taking: atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, rosuvastatin, pravastatin
Avoid eating: grapefruit and grapefruit juice
They may be delicious, but grapefruit increase the rate of drug absorption in the body which then raises the risk of overdose and side effects. For example, taking one tablet with grapefruit juice is the equivalent of taking 20 tablets taken with water.
5. Anti-hypertensive drugs and potassium
If you’re taking: captopril, enalapril, ramipril
Avoid eating: potassium-rich foods
Medications within this group increase the levels of potassium in your blood. This increase can lead to arrhythmia and dyspnea. Avoid eating foods such as potatoes, bananas, soy and spinach while taking this medication.
6. Bronchial spasmolytics and caffeine
If you’re taking: theophylline, albuterol
Avoid consuming: caffeinated food and drinks
Drugs in this category stimulate the nervous system so the last thing you want to do is add caffeine to the situation. This could lead to nervousness and anxiety.
7. Antibiotics and dairy
If you’re taking: tetracycline, ciprofloxacin or penicillin
Avoid eating: dairy products
Calcium, when coupled with these antibiotics, rapidly decreases the drug’s efficacy and prolongs the bacterial infection you are trying to fight.
8. Blood thinners and vitamin K
If you’re taking: warfarin
Avoid eating: blood-thinning foods and foods rich in vitamin K.
If you are taking blood-thinning medication, you should cut out or reduce your consumption of ginger, cranberry, garlic, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and turmeric as these foods thin your blood, The combination can cause bleeding.
On the other hand, foods rich in vitamin K, such as cabbage and broccoli, reduces the drug’s potency.
9. Anti-arrhythmic drugs and liquorice
If you’re taking: digoxin
Avoid eating: liquorice and dietary fibers
Liquorice contains glycyrrhizic acid which interacts with this drug to cause heartbeat disorder or even cardiac arrest. Be careful of liquorice in sweets, cakes, and sometimes beer.
Dietary fibers, like bran, can decrease the efficacy of the drug so aim to take them 2 hours before or after a meal.
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