How these food and drinks affect your drug medication

Some of what you eat and drink could reduce or increase the effect of your medications.


What you eat and drink could reduce or increase the effect of your medications. Dozens of other foods, including some that are part of a healthy diet are also risky to mix with certain medications.

This doesn’t mean you have to avoid such foods completely, it just means that you have to be cautious. Experts advise leaving at least 2 to 4 hours between the interacting food or juice and the medication. It is always good to ask your doctor or pharmacist about your specific medications and how your diet can affect it.

Below are examples of some food and how they affect your medications as presented by Consumer Reports. Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

Cheese, yogurt, milk, calcium supplements, antacids with calcium Tetracycline. The calcium in these foods and products can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the antibiotic fully. In general, tetracycline works better if taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.
Bananas, chocolate, alcohol, avocados Drugs such as metronidazole (Flagyl) and linezolid (Zyvox), used to treat bacterial infections. The foods to the left, along with red wine contain tyramine, an amino acid that can cause blood pressure to spike if taken with linezolid. Tyramine is also found in foods that are aged, pickled, fermented, or smoked, such as processed cheeses and dry sausage. Alcohol and metronidazole together could cause nausea, stomach cramping, and vomiting.
Soybean flour, walnuts Thyroid drugs such as levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid). These high-fiber foods can prevent your body from absorbing the medications. If you eat a high-fiber diet, try taking your medications later in the evening. One study found that the drugs were better absorbed when taken at bedtime rather than a half-hour before breakfast, which is what is usu­­ally recommended in the instructions.
Bananas, green leafy vegetables, oranges, salt substitutes Drugs used to lower blood pressure or treat heart failure. E.g. ACE inhibitors such as captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril).
And avoid mixing with some diuretics used to reduce fluid retention and treat high blood pressure such as triamterene (Dyrenium).
These foods are all high in potassium, which helps provide electrical signals to heart-muscle cells and other cells. Consuming them with the medications listed to the left could increase the amount of potassium in your body and may lead to an irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations –
which could be deadly.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach Blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin). Foods that contain a lot of vitamin K, such as the greens noted on the left, can reduce the drugs’ ability to thin the blood. In some people with heart disease, that could trigger a heart attack or a stroke. Once you begin taking warfarin, maintain a consistent diet and don’t suddenly overload on leafy greens.
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