Avoiding food and drug interactions
taking a prescription or nonprescription medication:
· Read the label and
all printed information
Nonprescription products print information on the
package. Prescription drugs generally come with information fact sheets and may
have warning stickers on the container.
· Don't mix medications
into food unless advised
Acid or minerals in certain foods can alter some
drug ingredients. Breaking apart pills can destroy special coatings that
protect your stomach or the medication, or that create the time-release
mechanism of some drugs (which allows slow, uniform absorption).
· Don't mix medicine
into hot beverages
can destroy or alter drug ingredients.
· Don't consume
grapefruit or grapefruit juice with medications
A substance found in grapefruit and its juice can
alter the effects of several drugs, sometimes causing a buildup of medication,
which could become toxic. One example is atorvastatin (Lipitor), which is used
for high cholesterol.
• Avoid alcohol
Alcohol can increase or reduce a drug's effects or
increase side effects.
• Don't take a vitamin
and mineral supplement or antacids at the same time
as your medication unless your doctor approves
Some nutrients can bind with drug ingredients,
reducing their absorption and limiting their effectiveness.
· Tell your doctor if
you're taking herbal supplements
Many herbal supplements have known interactions with
medications, and others haven't been thoroughly tested for
• Take medication as recommended
Some drugs are better absorbed with food to reduce
the risk of stomach irritation or upset. Other drugs may be better absorbed
when taken with a full glass of water an hour or two before meals. Follow your
doctor's or pharmacist's instructions.