Many of our favorite foods are more satisfying when paired with another. For example, chocolate on its own is delicious but many people find that chocolate and peanut butter is a tastier combination. But did you know eating chocolate and taking certain drugs might carry risks? What you eat or drink can alter or even negatively affect the way your medicines work. Food can affect the degree and rate at which a drug is absorbed into your system, alter your metabolism and the excretion of certain medications.
Although the specifics of “food-drug interactions” are complex, here are examples of foods and beverages often red-flagged when on medication:
Alcohol: If you are taking any sort of medication, it’s recommended that you avoid alcohol, which can increase or decrease the effect of many drugs.
Grapefruit juice: Grapefruit juice is often mentioned as a beverage that negatively interacts with many drugs because it modifies the body’s way of metabolizing medication, affecting the liver’s ability to work the drug through a person’s system. Certain drugs that interact negatively with grapefruit juice include those for the prevention of organ transplant rejection, medication used to treat insomnia, and anti-anxiety medicine.
Licorice: I know licorice appears to be a fairly harmless snack food and you’re probably thinking, “What’s so harmful about Twizzlers?” The fact is some forms of licorice increase the risk of toxicity in those individuals on medication to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. Licorice may also reduce the effects of blood pressure drugs or certain diuretic drugs.
Chocolate: Eating chocolate and taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, could be dangerous. MAO inhibitors are used to treat depression and are just one set of drugs that shouldn’t be consumed with excessive amounts of chocolate. The caffeine in chocolate, when mixed with medication, can lead to a sharp rise in blood pressure; and can also have adverse affects with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, increasing their effect, or by decreasing the effect of sleep-enhancing drugs like Ambien.
New drugs are introduced every year. Because of that, it’s important to remain diligent about other interactions and side effects you could have with the medicines you use. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor or pharmacist so you can try to avoid any unnecessary problems.
ABOUT VH PHARMACY: VH Pharmacy is a family-owned and operated neighborhood pharmacy. In business for more than 40 years, VH Pharmacy has been under the leadership of Pharmacist Eddy Blanco for the past 11 years. With his extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical compounding, Eddy Blanco has transformed VH Pharmacy into a technologically cutting-edge facility. To learn more about our services, please visit our website at www.vhpharmacyrx.com or call us today at 305.324.8777.