When people think about drug interactions, they usually think about medicines which react negatively with other medicines. While this is a possibility especially for older patients who generally take many medications, it is not the only thing to worry about. Some medications come with dietary restrictions that patients are not always aware of. Several of these food-drug taboos are listed below.
Limes and Cough Medicine
Most people have heard that it is unwise to drink grapefruit juice with some medications, including the statin drugs that lower cholesterol. What many do not know is that other citrus fruits, including limes, can inhibit the body from breaking down statin drugs as well as the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, which is commonly found in many cold-relieving formulas. This can cause a build-up of the medication and lead to side effects like hallucinations and sedation.
Dairy Products and Antibiotics
Certain antibiotics — notably the commonly prescribed ciprofloxican – are not meant to be taken with dairy products. This is because it can bind to the iron, calcium and other minerals in the milk and milk-based foods. This binding process this will prevent its absorption into the body and ultimately make the drug less able to fight the infection it has been prescribed for in the first place.
Smoked Meats and Antidepressants
If taking a certain class of antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s), there are many dietary restrictions that go along with its use, and consuming foods that are rich in tyramine (an amino acid) can cause a dangerous and sometimes fatal spike in the blood pressure. Other foods that contain high amounts of tyramine, apart from smoked meats, include red wine, sauerkraut, cheeses that requiring aging (like Swiss), soy sauce and beer.
Chocolate and Ritalin
The combination of chocolate with Ritalin can cause serious side effects like erratic behavior and even seizures. This is because chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, and this is combination with a stimulant like Ritalin can cause the neurological system to go into overdrive, leading to the symptoms just mentioned. Lesser side effects can include feeling nervous, irritable or wired when taking this medicine in combination with chocolate.
Apple Juice and Allergy Medications
Do not drink apple juice, or nectar from oranges or grapefruits within four hours of taking the popular antihistamine fexofenadine (marketed under the brand name Allegra). This is because one of the enzymes in these juices will inhibit the transportation of the medicine through the body and thus make is up to 70% less effective at controlling those annoying allergy symptoms.
If there are ever any questions about what foods should or should not be taken with certain medications, the very best thing to do is to consult with a physician or pharmacist, who should be able to provide guidance. It will help to avoid negative side effects and help the medicine that is being taken be as effective as possible.
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