Elizabeth Ballard, MD, board-certified family practice, Arnold Family Health Care, identifies foods that can interact with some medications. In some cases this can cause an adverse reaction or affect absorption of the medication.
Ask the Doc
Can certain foods interfere with my medications?
Yes. Some foods interfere with absorption or cause adverse reactions with prescribed medications. In rare cases, it can be life-threatening.
My top concerns are:
Grapefruit can cause an unsafe rise in the level of medicine in your body. The effect lingers for up to 72 hours, so taking your medication at a different time of day doesn’t help. The long list of no-nos with grapefruit includes antibiotics, antihistamines, cough suppressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, heart medications, Coumadin, calcium channel blockers, antianxiety medications, immunosuppressants, chemotherapy or hormone replacement drugs, pain medications and even erectile dysfunction pills.
Green tea and caffeinated drinks have been shown to raise blood pressure, so both are not good choices for those taking high blood pressure medications or those trying to control blood pressure through diet and exercise. They are also not a good choice for those on blood thinners or daily aspirin.
Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and other simple carbohydrates like these, as well as fruit juices, cause a fast increase in blood sugar levels, so they are not good choices for patients with diabetes.
Milk and other dairy products interfere with absorption so that medication levels may be too low or ineffective. Avoid taking medications at the same time as dairy products unless directed by your pharmacist.
Green veggies and some fruit contain vitamin K, which could interfere with the blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin). Don’t eliminate these, but you should be consistent in the amounts you eat and be monitored regularly by a physician.
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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