5 Serious Food-Medicine Interactions

We all know that some medications interact with other medications, but what is less known is that some medicines interact with specific foods and drinks. Whenever you start a new medication, be sure ask your doctor and pharmacist about all potential interactions. The computer databases used by physicians and pharmacists quickly reveal drug interactions, but don’t always report food interactions.

Here are 5 common foods and drinks — and the common medications that they interact with:

1. Alcohol

Alcohol should always be taken in moderation, but if you are on medication, you may have to forgo it altogether.

Alcohol is a sedative; when mixed with pain medications, antianxiety medications, or antidepressants, its sedative effects can be dangerously increased.

Methotrexate, which is used for rheumatoid arthritis, severe psoriasis, lupus, and certain cancers, should not be combined with alcohol because the combination increases the risk of liver damage. Common brand names for methotrexate are Otrexup, Rasuvo, and Trexall.

Alcohol raises the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding for those who take steroids such as prednisone or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

When mixed with alcohol, acetaminophen (Tylenol), can also cause liver damage.

If you are even a light drinker, it is important to talk to your doctor about how much alcohol is safe to take with your medications.

2. Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine is a stimulant, and steroids, such as prednisone, increases its effect, which may lead to irritability and insomnia.

3. Grapefruit

Surprisingly, a fruit as common as grapefruit interacts with a large number of medications. These include blood pressure medications, cholesterol medications such as statins, arrhythmia medications, antihistamines, certain pain medications, ED and prostate medications, certain mood medications, and some antimicrobials (anti-infection medications).

Because the list of grapefruit-medication interactions is so long, if you are a grapefruit fan, you should always check with your doctor when you are prescribed a new medication to confirm that it is safe to continue to partake of this healthy citrus fruit.

4. Fermented foods, such as red wine and aged cheese

MAO inhibitors are an older class of antidepressants that have largely been replaced with SSRIs. However, for certain patients, MAO inhibitors are still the drug of choice. But mixing MAO inhibitors with fermented foods can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels, causing severe high blood pressure.

5. Dairy Products

People are usually urged to eat yogurt when taking antibiotics, but the antibiotic tetracycline is an exception. The calcium in dairy products decreases the effectiveness of this popular antibiotic.

Calcium also reduces the effectiveness of osteoporosis medications such as Fosamax, Actonel, Atelvia, and Boniva.

If you take any of the medications mentioned above, you now know what to do. But new medications are constantly being developed, and food-medication interactions are being discovered all the time. The best advice is to be cautious if you take any medication, and to speak to your doctor about the possible interactions.

At Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in the scenic beach town of Keansburg, NJ, our program includes attention to every aspect of care, including nutrition. These menus take the residents’ preferences, as well as their medications, in mind.

Our pledge is to provide superior health care services in the most compassionate way. We put in place individualized care plans, robust post-acute rehabilitation, and recreational activities for every one of our residents, whether they are short-term or long-term.

Our short-term rehabilitation program is designed to get our patients back to their optimal level of functioning and independence as quickly as possible, post hospitalization. We provide a tailored program of physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as all types of specialized care under one roof.

We include our residents and families in the development and progress of their individualized care plan up until the day of their discharge, when we ensure their smooth transition back into the community.

Our long-term care program offers 24/7 skilled nursing care of the highest caliber for our residents. In addition to a varied selection of stimulating activities and recreational programs, our residents benefit from our specialty health services, exquisite dining and social services.

We offer specialized health services and programs for our residents suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes our sensory programs and activities provided in a secured environment.

Need a break to recharge? No problem. We provide an amazing Respite Care program with 24/7 medical services.

Read our reviews on senioradvisor.com, wellness.comand caring.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself. Contact us to schedule a tour by clicking here or by calling (372) 787-8100.

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