Taking medicines while eating? – Beware of interactionsMany medicines are easier to swallow with a little liquid. Some people think it doesn't matter whether the tablet is taken with water, milk or juice. But far from it. Taking medicines at the same time as certain foods can be hazardous to health. Which foods should not be taken together with antibiotics, paracetamol or iron tablets??
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Tear open the drug package, take the tablet with any liquid, done – taking tablets is not that easy. Because between medicines and some foods there are interactions that change the effectiveness of the drug. Even if it's a nuisance: read the package insert thoroughly before taking medication. Only then will you know exactly when to take the medicine and whether the medicine is compatible with certain foods.
Food ingredients alter drug effects
Ingredients in our food can change the effect of drugs. Depending on the drug, the effect may be reduced, increased, shortened or prolonged. To avoid this, tablets should be taken as stated in the package leaflet. Some medicines are to be taken with food, some before or after it. However, there are also medicines that must be taken at a greater distance from certain foods or must not be taken at all.
– Before taking a medicine, read the package insert. – If you have questions, you can also ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Some important drug-food interactions are described below:
Grapefruit juice: cardiac drugs, antihypertensives
Grapefruit and its juice are not compatible with some medicines that lower blood lipid levels or blood prere. Taking heart medication (beta blockers) can also be dangerous to your health. The reason is that grapefruit contains a substance that interferes with the breakdown of drug substances. This then increases the effectiveness of the drug, so that the dose administered is much too high. For some medicines, a certain time interval from food intake is sufficient. The situation is different when eating grapefruit. Here it is not enough not to take the heart medicine with the grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice has been shown to have an effect on the effectiveness of medications even if the juice was drunk hours before taking the drug. The grapefruit ingredient responsible for the interaction is also found in other citrus fruits such as limes, grapefruits or bitter oranges and, of course, in orange marmalades or liqueurs made from them.
Milk: antibiotics, osteoporosis drugs
There are interactions with calcium in some drugs. These include antibiotics. Osteoporosis medicines. Foods rich in calcium are milk and dairy products, but also some mineral waters. Calcium forms poorly soluble compounds with the drug in the stomach, which are less easily absorbed by the body and are therefore less effective. However, not all antibiotics interact with calcium, especially those containing doxycycline, ciprofloxacin or norfloxacin as the active ingredient. This interaction does not seem to exist with penicillin. Therefore, reading the package insert before taking the medication is important to know if milk and cheese can be consumed when taking the prescribed antibiotic. For some drugs, a shot of milk in coffee is enough to impair the effectiveness of certain drugs.
Green vegetables: blood clotting agents
Spinach, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts are healthy. They also contain vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting. In case of injury, it ensures that the bleeding is stopped. People who are prone to bleeding take anticoagulants. The anticoagulant effect of these drugs is weakened by the intake of vitamin K. If a lot of vitamin K is added to the food, the effect of this drug decreases.
Muesli, bread: painkillers
Muesli and bread are healthy foods with lots of carbohydrates. They should not be taken together with painkillers, as their effect will be much worse. For example, the absorption of paracetamol by the body is impaired when carbohydrate-rich foods are consumed.
Cheese, red wine: antidepressants
Longer stored protein-containing foods such as red wine, cheese, pickled herring or salami contain abundant amounts of the substance tyramine, which has a blood prere-increasing effect. This substance is normally metabolized in the body, with a specific enzyme (monoaminooxidase = MaO) playing a central role. Taking antidepressants (MAO inhibitors) can increase blood and intracranial prere. In order to avoid this, these medications should be taken at least two hours before or. to be taken after eating or drinking.
Wine, tea, coffee: iron tablets
Some beverages such as wine, coffee, green and black tea contain tanning agents, also called tannins. These bind the trace element iron, so that it cannot be absorbed as well from the intestine into the blood in the body. If you take iron tablets, you should not drink any tannin-containing beverages for at least two hours before and after taking them.
Alcohol: taboo when taking medication
Alcohol and medicines are not compatible! Alcohol can impair the efficacy of medications or even increase it. The reason for this is that alcohol, like drug substances, is broken down in the liver. Those who have to take medication in the morning should also remember to do so when partying the night before. After a lively party with a few glasses of beer or wine, there may still be enough alcohol in the blood the next morning.
Medicines are best taken with tap water
Who should take a medicine with liquid makes this best with tap water. Water helps the active ingredient to be released quickly. In addition, the liquid prevents the tablet or capsule from sticking in the esophagus. Tap water is more suitable for taking medicines than mineral water. The reason is that some mineral waters contain too much calcium. This is because tap water combines with some drugs to form compounds that are difficult to dissolve, so that the active ingredient in the drug cannot develop its effect in the body.