eating for life, healthy diet, nutrition, longevity, better health, balanced diet, NIH, healthy living, lose weight, long life, exercise, reduce stress
Article Index  |  Forum  |  Books  |  Resources

Food & Drug Interactions

Physicians and pharmacists recognize that some foods and drugs, when taken during the same period of time, can alter the body's ability to utilize a particular food or drug, or cause serious side effects. This brochure is designed to help you decide if your diet should be changed in any way to adjust to the effects of medicine you are using. It covers the interactions-that is, what can occur between foods and drugs-of the more commonly used medications, both prescription and nonprescription (or over-the-counter).

This brochure should not be used in place of advice from a family physician or family pharmacist. Make sure your doctor knows about every drug you are taking, including drugs you obtain without a prescription order. If you have any problems related to medication, call your physician or pharmacist immediately. One drug may interact with another, in some cases creating serious medical problems. This brochure does not cover the interaction of one medicine with another.

Interactions will vary according to the dosage, your age, sex and your overall health.

Although alcohol is actually a drug rather than a food, its interaction with drugs is covered in this brochure because alcohol, when consumed while taking certain medications, can be extremely dangerous. It is a good rule of thumb to avoid consuming alcohol while taking any drug unless a physician or pharmacist indicates that the combination is acceptable.

Cigarettes can also diminish the effectiveness of medication or create added hazards with certain medications.

Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate and some medications, can also affect the action of some drugs.

Medications should never be taken during pregnancy without the advice of your physician.

In this brochure, the generic (nonproprietary) name for each drug is stated first. Brand names are capitalized and represent only some examples.


*Many over the counter cold remedies contain aspirin in combination with other active ingredients. See Aspirin under Arthritis and Gout.

Antihistamines - Antihistamines are used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of colds and hay fever and other types of allergy. They act to limit or block histamine which is released by the body when we are exposed to substances that cause allergic reactions.

Some commonly used antihistamines: brompheniramine/Dimetane, Bromphen chlorpheniramine/Chlor-Trimeton, Teldrin diphenhydramine/Benadryl, Benaphen

Interaction - Avoid taking with alcoholic beverages because antihistamines combined with alcohol may cause drowsiness and slowed reactions.

Bronchodilators - Bronchodilators are used to treat the symptoms of bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These medicines relieve wheezing, shortness of breath and troubled breathing. They work by opening the air passages of the lungs.

Some commonly used bronchodilators: aminophylline/Phyllocontin, Somophyllin theophylline/Slo-Phyllin, Theo-Dur

Interaction - Avoid eating or drinking large amounts of foods or beverages which contain caffeine because both bronchodilators and caffeine stimulate the central nervous system.


Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4