When you take medicine orally, it usually travels through your digestive system in a way similar to that of food. So it's important to know how a drug may interact with what you eat. In some cases, a type of food may affect how well a medicine is absorbed. In others, a drug may interfere with your body's ability to absorb certain nutrients from food. The chart below highlights some of the more common food/drug interactions, but it's only a sampling. Check with your pharmacist if you have any questions about your medications.
Antidepressants MAO Inhibitors Common Brand Names: Marplan, Nardil, Parnate Avoid foods with a high content of tyramine (this includes but is not limited to aged cheese, processed meats, fava beans, yeast extract, wine, beer). These foods can interact dangerously with MAO inhibitors.
Asthma Medications Theophylline Common Brand Names: Aerolate, Respbid, T-PHYL Eat a diet balanced in carbohydrates and proteins. Limit or avoid charcoal broiled meats — they may speed elimination from the body. Also limit caffeine; large doses can increase side effects such as nervousness and insomnia.
Blood Pressure Medications ACE Inhibitors Common Brand Names: Accupril, Altace, Lotensin, Monopril, Univasc, Vasotec Avoid salt substitutes that contain potassium and foods made with those salt substitutes.
Common Brand Name: Capoten Take the medication one hour before or two hours after meals for maximum absorption.
Blood Thinners Common Brand Name: Coumadin Maintain a consistent intake of foods high in Vitamin K (cauliflower, spinach, beans, broccoli, cabbage, liver); but don't overdo it, too much of these foods can decrease the effectiveness of Coumadin.
Diuretics Common Brand Names: Diuril, Lasix Diuretics ("water pills") may deplete potassium stores. Eat generous amounts of high potassium foods (potatoes, bananas, oranges, spinach, and corn). Potassium-Sparing Diuretics Common Brand Names: Aldactone, Dyazide, Dyrenium, Maxzide Avoid salt substitutes that contain potassium and foods made with those slat substitutes; they can interact with these drugs and cause heart arrhythmia.
Cholesterol Medications Bile Acid Resins Common Brand Names: Colestid, Granules, Questran Using these medications may lead to decreased absorption of vitamins A, D, E, K and folate. Eat foods high in these vitamins.