Did you know that some medications cannot be taken at the same time because they’ll counteract each other? This isn’t all; there are also foods that affect how your medications work.
Here are seven of them.
This citrus fruit changes the way certain cells in your gut take in and move medication through your body — it can affect more than 50 drugs. It can make some, like fexofenadine (Allegra) for allergies, less effective and make others too strong.
This can make it harder for your body to process certain antibiotics. Minerals in milk like calcium and magnesium are part of the reason, along with the protein casein. If you’re taking antibiotics, make sure to find out about the foods or beverages to avoid.
3. Dark Chocolate
This can weaken the effects of drugs meant to calm you down or make you sleep, like zolpidem tartrate (Ambien). It also can boost the power of some stimulant drugs. And if you take an MAO inhibitor, used to treat depression, it can increase your blood pressure.
This makes certain drugs less effective or even useless, including some blood pressure and heart medicines. It also can make others stronger than they should be or cause dangerous side effects.
It can weaken antipsychotic drugs like lithium but boost the effects — and side effects — of others. These include aspirin, epinephrine (used to treat serious allergic reactions), and albuterol (taken by inhaler for breathing problems).
6. Vitamin K
If you take the drug warfarin — used to treat and prevent blood clots — be aware of how much vitamin K you take in. It can make the blood thinner less effective and put you at higher risk of a dangerous blood clot. Broccoli and spinach are also high in vitamin K.
7. Bananas and other potassium-rich foods
Bananas, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, etc are rich in potassium. However, you could end up with too much potassium if you eat bananas while taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, like lisinopril or captopril.
Moral of the story: don’t self-medicate. If you do, you’ll be able to avoid the pitfall of foods and drinks that affect how your medications work.
Only about 50% of medications are taken as they are prescribed. People often take less than they need, take it at random times, or leave big gaps between doses — all of which can weaken the effects.
Always ensure you understand your treatment plan and follow your doctor’s instructions.