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).
Food & Drug Interactions
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
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.
ALLERGIES, ASTHMA, COLDS* AND COUGHS
*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
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
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