6 Common Food and Prescription Medication Combinations to Avoid

Taking your prescription on time and as prescribed is critical for your health. Your doctor and pharmacist ask that you follow the instructions for a reason – they want your medication to be as effective as possible to treat your condition.  Did you know that certain foods can actually have an effect on your medication? 

Of course, you should always speak to your pharmacist about your particular prescription.  However, here is a list of some of the more common food and prescription medication combinations you may want to avoid.

Spinach, Cranberry Juice and Blood Thinners

Spinach, as well as kale, broccoli, and many other dark green vegetables, are loaded with Vitamin K.   Vitamin K can interfere with anticoagulants (blood thinners),  such as Coumadin.

Cranberry juice may also interfere with blood thinners, as it may cause increased blood thinning effects.

Grapefruit Juice and Statins

If you are taking a  statin medication, such as  LipitorMevacor or Zocor, to lower your cholesterol, you should avoid taking it with grapefruit juice.    Grapefruit juice has been shown to actually increase the potency of certain statin medications several fold, leading to possible muscle pain, weakness, tenderness and kidney damage.

Note: Grapefruit juice has also been shown to have negative interactions with some anti-depressants such as Zoloft, certain antihistamines, such as Allegra, as well as some high blood pressure medications, such as Procardia or Adalat CC.

Aged Cheese, Fruit and Anti-Depressants

Aged firm cheese such as blue cheese, Camembert, Emmenthaler, and Swiss contain a substance called tyramine.  Tyramine can interfere with certain antidepressant medications known as Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors or  MAOIs, causing dangerously high blood pressure.    Overripe bananas, avocados, raspberries, and dried fruit can also have the same effect and should be avoided with MAOIs.   

Licorice and Blood Pressure Medications

Licorice causes the body to lose potassium.  If you are taking a diuretic your body loses water, but it also loses potassium, as well. Low potassium levels can affect your nerves, muscles and your heart.

Antibiotics and Dairy

If you are taking certain antibiotics, such as tetracyclines or fluoroquinolones, it is important to avoid dairy products. The high calcium content in dairy products binds these antibiotics and prevents them from being absorbed, resulting in a decrease in effectiveness.

Heart medication and Licorice

If you are taking a prescription heart medication such as Digoxin, you should avoid eating black licorice. The glycyrrhizin in black licorice can cause an irregular heartbeat and lower the effectiveness of this medication.

Don’t let this list worry you!  When prescribed medication take the time to talk to your doctor and your pharmacist about the best way to take your medication and what foods to avoid. In fact, the more you know about your medication and how to effectively take it, the greater  peace of mind you will have. 

If you have questions about your prescription or any other medication, our discreet and caring team at CanadaOnlineHealth will be happy to answer your questions.  Simply phone us Toll Free at 1-800-399-DRUG (3784).

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis  or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).