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Beware of These Common Food and Drug Interactions

June 17, 2019

The importance of a healthy diet and proper medication is an important aspect of life. Eating the proper food gives much-needed vitamins and nutrients to keep the body strong for years. Medication, when used as directed, also helps counter certain ailments such as headaches, high blood pressure and helps with recovering from medical procedures.

However, too much of certain things can be harmful to you. And for seniors especially, the wrong combination of food and medication can have dangerous consequences. These interactions can have devastating effects, ranging from sleepiness to jitters, to high blood pressure and even stroke. In this post, we’ll discuss common food and drug interactions, and suggest some combinations to avoid for you or a senior loved one in your life.

Tips for Medication Management – Common Food and Drug Interactions

While some foods and drugs are safe to consume together, there are certain combinations that can have adverse effects and even cause interactions. An interaction is an event that occurs when two substances interact with one another and causes some type of change. A simple example of this is when you mix the colors of red and blue paint to make a purple color.

Here is a short list of some common food and drug interactions that may occur. This is not an exhaustive list, and it’s always best to consult with your doctor or pharmacist for additional information.

Calcium-Rich Foods and Antibiotics
Antibiotics are mainly used to slow the growth of bacteria. However, calcium found in foods like yogurt, cheese and milk can bind to certain antibiotics. This can form a substance within the stomach and upper intestine that cannot be absorbed by the body which can lead to a serious blockage.

Pickled, Cured and Fermented Foods and MAIOs
This food category contains tyramine, which can increase blood pressure to dangerous levels. This holds especially true for those taking medication for Parkinson’s disease and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAIOs).

Vitamin K and Warfarin
This interaction can work both ways. Vitamin K is essential for allowing blood to clot. Warfarin is an anticoagulant that is designed to prevent harmful blood clots from forming. Depending on your specific needs, you may need to limit the amount of kale, spinach, or other leafy-green vegetables in your diet.

Grapefruit Juice
The pulp, juice and peel of grapefruit can increase the dosage level of certain drugs. Be careful especially if you’re taking drugs for seizures, calcium channel blockers, impotence and pain, to name a few.

Potassium and ACE Inhibitors
ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels, letting blood flow smoothly. This can be important for the heart. The inhibitors also provide potassium. The problem is that when too much potassium is absorbed, it can cause dangerous heart problems or irregular heartbeats. Bananas and oranges, for example, should also be limited or avoided when using ACE inhibitors.

Caffeine and Prednisone
Prednisone treats conditions such as arthritis, eye problems, allergies and skin diseases. Prednisone can also inhibit the metabolism of caffeine. When this happens, this can cause sleepiness and jitters. A more serious side effect of this interaction is the increase in gout attacks.

Healthy Aging Every Day at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities

At Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, we offer all the resources you need to live a healthy, inspired life. Our senior living communities are designed to provide helpful services and amenities so that you can enjoy a happy, lifestyle. For more tips on successful aging, please see our blog post with eight tips for aging well. To learn more about our living options for seniors, contact us today.

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