Foods that interact with common medications

What you're eating (even the really healthy things) may be adversely interacting with common medications prescribed by your doctor - what you need to know to stay healthy!

1. (Some) Statins (cholesterol lowering drugs - Lipitor (Atorvastatin), Zocor (Simvastatin), Mevacor (Lovastatin) ( for example) can interact with Grapefruit/Grapefruit juice, Seville Oranges (not used in commercial orange juice production but used to make some varieties of marmalade), and Pomelo (also called the Chinese Grapefruit)

· Grapefruit Juice prevents these medications from breaking down, essentially leads to an increase in the level of the drug in your body.

· Side effects: can cause muscle aches/pains/unjustified weakness, or more serious side effects like rhabdomyolosis (serious breakdown of muscle), or kidney or liver damage.

· Take home message: Do not drink or eat any grapefruit, Seville oranges, or pomelos if you are taking these medications. Best to take your meds with water.

· NOTE: can have an interacting effect for up to 3 days after ingestions, especially if someone drinks grapefruit juice on a regular basis.

**Medications that help to lower high blood pressure (Calcium Channel Blockers) can also interact with Grapefruit/Grapefruit Juice in the same way

· Side Effects: headache, rapid heartbeat, dizziness

2. Coumadin (Warfarin), a blood thinner used to prevent strokes and heart attacks, interacts with foods rich in Vitamin K (green leafy vegetables). Vitamin K is a blood clotter, while Coumadin is a blood thinner. Keeping these foods in your diet is not the problem, it's being consistent in the amount you eat that is key.

· Doctor will adjust your dose based on the level of Vitamin K in your blood

· Side effects: unusual bruising, nose bleeds, blood in your stool, difficult time having blood clot (cut that doesn't stop bleeding)

· Take home message - Be consistent. Continue to eat what you normally eat, just don't make any radical changes to your diet.

· Examples: liver, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, Swiss chard, coriander, collards, cabbage, and other green leafy vegetables.

3. Certain antibiotics (Cipro, tetracycline) can interact with calcium rich foods/calcium supplements.

· Dairy products and even calcium supplements can decrease the absorption of these medications, rendering them less effective

· Important to take these on an empty stomach with water

Bottom Line/General Do's and Don'ts:

· When picking up your medication, take advantage of the consultation offered at your pharmacy, whether it be Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Longs

· Make sure at the very least to read through the printed materials

· If you have any unusual side effects, do not hesitate to call your doctor or a nurse advice line, or if you feel it is an emergency, call 911

· Don't be afraid to ask questions about your medication, and any side effects or food interactions you should be aware of.

· Let your doctor/pharmacist know about any over the counter medications or herbal supplements as these may also interact with your prescription medications.

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