Beware of drug interactions with food, drinksI consider combining chocolate with peanut butter to be a tasty combination, however, eating chocolate and taking certain drugs may carry risks.
By: Mary Krueger, Douglas County Senior Coordinator, Alexandria Echo Press
I consider combining chocolate with peanut butter to be a tasty combination, however, eating chocolate and taking certain drugs may carry risks.
The caffeine in chocolate can interact with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, increasing their effect, or by decreasing the effect of sedative-hypnotics such as Ambien.
Alcohol: If you are taking any sort of medication, it’s recommended that you avoid alcohol, which can increase or decrease the effect of many drugs.
Grapefruit juice is often mentioned as a product that can interact negatively with drugs. Grapefruit juice should not be taken with certain blood pressure-lowering drugs. That is because grapefruit juice can cause higher levels of those medicines in your body, making it more likely that you will have side effects from the medicine.
Licorice, which seems to be a fairly harmless snack food, can cause interactions with someone who is taking Lanoxin (digoxin). Some forms of licorice may increase the risk for Lanoxin toxicity.
Lanoxin is used to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. Licorice may also reduce the effects of blood pressure drugs or diuretic (urine producing) drugs.
Taking Vitamin E with a blood thinning medication such as Coumadin can increase anti-clotting activity and may cause an increased risk of bleeding.
St. John’s Wort can reduce the blood level of medications such as Lanoxin, the cholesterol lowering drug Mevacor and Altocor (lovastatin) and also Viagra.
Ginseng can interfere with the bleeding effects of Coumadin. It can also enhance the bleeding effects of heparin, aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen.
High doses of Ginkgo Biloba could decrease the effectiveness of anticonvulsant therapy in patients taking medications to control seizures.
Over-the-counter antihistamines are drugs that temporarily relieve a runny nose or reduce sneezing, itching of the nose or throat and itchy watery eyes. If you are taking sedatives, tranquilizers or a prescription for high blood pressure or depression, you should check with a doctor or pharmacist before you take antihistamines. They can increase the depressant effects of a sedative or tranquilizer. Antihistamines taken in conjunction with blood pressure medication may cause a person’s blood pressure to increase and may also speed up the heart rate.
TIPS FOR AVOIDING PROBLEMS
• Always read drug labels carefully.
• Learn about the warnings for all the drugs you take.
• Keep medications in original containers so you can easily identify them.
• Ask your doctor what you need to avoid when you are prescribed a new medication.
• Ask about food, beverages, supplements and other drugs.
• Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter drugs if you are taking prescription medications.
• Use one pharmacy for all your drug needs.
• Keep all of your health professionals informed about everything you take.
• Keep a record of all the prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements you take. Keep this with you at all times and go over them with your doctor or pharmacist.
Information for this article was taken from the US Food and Drug Administration website.