Mountain View Medical Supply

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What You Wash Your Medication Down With Matters!

Did you know fruit juices can cause significant drug interactions?  Many people assume their medication will work no matter what they swallow it down with it, but some drink and drug combos can be hazardous to your health.  

Acidic drinks, such as fruit juice or soda pop, may chemically destroy certain kinds of antibiotics, including penicillin and erythromycin.  Grapefruit juice alone negatively interacts with more than 50 medications, including statins which are widely used to lower cholesterol.  And since the effects of the citrus juice last more than 24 hours, simply taking your meds at a different time won’t solve the problem.

Milk can interfere with a number of medicines.  For example, milk blocks the action of tetracycline if both are ingested within an hour of each other, preventing the treatment of infection.  Milk is alkaline so, for example, if it is taken with Ducolax (laxative) which has a coating designed to dissolve slowly in the intestines, it may dissolve prematurely within the stomach and cause irritation.  Calcium in any dairy products can interfere with the effectiveness of thyroid medication.  

Caffeine from coffee, tea or energy drinks can pose a serious health threat when taken with stimulants such as ephedrine, amphetamines or asthma prescriptions.  Green tea (with vitamin K) can decrease the effect of blood thinners such as Warfarin and Coumadin.  The tannin in tea can undo the benefits of iron pills.  

Sports drinks such as Gatorade are high in potassium and can be dangerous when coupled with some heart failure or hypertension drugs.  

Energy drinks high in sugar and stimulants such as caffeine aren’t good for anybody, but combining them with antidepressants can cause hypertension, headaches, fast heart rate and even stroke.  Some drinks add things like ginkgo biloba for enhancement, but ginkgo biloba taken with aspirin can cause bleeding.

Of course alcohol presents one of the most common interactions.  Beer, wine and hard liquor should be avoided when taking just about any type of medication, especially antidepressants or other drugs that effect the brain.  Mixing alcohol with over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers can increase your risk of stomach bleeding or liver damage.  

The very best beverage to take your medication with is WATER!  It will not interact with your medication or reduce its effectiveness!

What can you do to prevent drug interactions?
1)  Read the label of your medication thoroughly to verify how you should take your medication and heed any warnings.  If you have any questions, talk with your pharmacist and doctor.

2)  Make a complete list of all your prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and any other drugs you may take.  Review this list with your doctor and pharmacists.

3)  Use one pharmacy.  This way your pharmacist has a record of all your prescriptions and can advise you effectively. 

4)  Do some research on your medications. 
a)  Walgreens has a great drug vs drug interaction tool since it offers correct dosage options that other tools do not.
b) offers a complete A-Z index on over 24,000 medications in the USA.  For example, searching “Coumadin” provided pill and injection information, side effects, news regarding Coumadin, and further down the page was “Coumadin drug interactions”.  Clicking on that provided a wealth of interactions specific to Coumadin, including the “5 alcohol/food interactions”.

Finding drug vs beverage interactions is a bit more difficult than drug vs food, and far more difficult than finding drug vs drug interactions.  The information is out there, you just have to be persistent and dig deeper.  Live well and be well! 

No comments:

Post a Comment