Food And Drug Interactions – Alert Your Patients!

Taking medications might be a normal daily task for some, but there are many aspects that help avoid unwanted drug and food interactions.

Some foods act well when taken along with food and some foods make the situation worse when with food.

Here is the list to consider:

1. Warfarin and Vitamin K

Warfarin, which is a blood-thinning medicine given for clotting disorders, must not be taken with vitamin K supplements.

Avoiding foods rich in vitamin K such as green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, spinach, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, scallions, and asparagus will be beneficial. Complete remission of these foods is not the criteria, but the patients must have these foods at moderate levels.

2. Oral antidiabetics or insulin and alcohol

Any alcoholic drink can increase the effects of insulin or oral diabetic agents (pills) and could end up in hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

Also, certain oral diabetic medications such as chlorpropamide can cause dizziness, flushing, and nausea when taken along with alcohol.

3. Statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) and Grapefruit

Drinking grapefruit juice or having grapefruit could elevate the amount of some statins in your blood, and thereby would lead to potentially more significant side effects which are associated with these drugs.

The common side effects of statins include muscle soreness and liver abnormalities reflected in high transaminase levels on a blood test.

Hence, it is important to check whether their prescribed statin drugs do interact before giving up vitamin C-rich grapefruit.

4. Antihypertensive (Calcium channel blockers) and grapefruit

CYP3A4 a natural element found in grapefruit latches onto the intestinal enzyme, which can alter the breakdown of the calcium channel blockers, thereby resulting in excessively high blood levels of the drug, so there might be an increased risk of severe side effects.

The interaction between grapefruit and (CCBs) is strongest, with felodipine, nicardipine, and nisoldipine and weaker with amlodipine, diltiazem, and nifedipine.

5. Antibiotics and dairy products

Dairy products such as yoghurt (curd) milk, and cheese can delay or prevent the absorption of antibiotics such as tetracyclines and ciprofloxacin. This occurs due to the calcium in such foods binds to the antibiotics in the stomach and upper small intestine and forms an insoluble compound.

To overcome this problem, it is recommended to take antibiotics with a gap of one or two hours after the meal.

6. Antithyroid drugs and iodine-containing foods

Antithyroid drugs are those agents that interfere with the body’s production of thyroid hormones, thereby reducing the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. According to a study, a diet that is rich in iodine lowers the remission rate of hyperthyroidism in patients using antithyroid drugs.

Antithyroid drugs act by preventing iodine absorption in the stomach. An iodine-rich diet needs higher doses of antithyroid drugs. The greater the dose of these drugs, the greater the incidence of side effects which may include rashes, hives, and liver disease.


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