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Preventing Food and Drug Interactions. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Food can affect drug absorption Food can interfere with how a drug works. A drug may affect food absorption or how vitamins or minerals are used by the body A drug can affect appetite.

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Preventing food and drug interactions l.jpg

Preventing Food and Drug Interactions

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service


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Food can affect drug absorption

Food can interfere with how a drug works

A drug may affect food absorption or how vitamins or minerals are used by the body

A drug can affect appetite

Possible Drug-Food Interactions


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Mix Food, Drink and Drugs Carefully

  • Ask doctor questions

  • Talk to pharmacist

  • Read medicine labels

  • Read printed material from pharmacy

  • Read inserts provided by manufacturers


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The Responsibility is Yours!

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist about ALL your drugs

  • Take all your drugs to each doctor’s appointment and review


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In General

Take pills and capsules with a large glass of water




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Take StomachNO Medicines with Alcohol !


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A New Concern - Grapefruit Stomach

  • Can cause more of a drug to be absorbed from intestine – even toxic levels

  • May cause a drug not to work

  • Also avoid tangelos


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Pain Medicine Stomach

  • Don’t take with alcohol to prevent stomach bleeding and irritation

  • Don’t have more than 3 drinks per day to prevent liver damage if taking Tylenol


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High Blood Pressure Medicine Stomach

  • May need more or less potassium in your diet depending on the medicine

  • Examples of high potassium foods – bananas, oranges, potatoes, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes

Always Ask!


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Can lower blood pressure too much with beta blockers and nitrate containing drugs

Can cause liver damage with statin drugs

Beta blocker – Inderal, Lopressor

Nitrates – Nitro, Transderm Nitro, Isordil

Statins – Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor, Prevachol

Alcohol and Other Medicines for the Heart


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Coumadin and Vitamin K nitrate containing drugs

  • Keep intake of foods containing Vitamin K constant

  • Vitamin K is high in spinach, kale, turnip greens, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and other leafy greens

  • Also don’t take Vitamin K or E supplements


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Flagyl or Nizoral nitrate containing drugs

  • No alcohol including medicines containing alcohol while taking the medicine and for 3 days after stopping

  • Side effect – nausea, flushing, stomach cramps, vomiting, headaches


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No Dairy Foods nitrate containing drugs

  • Tetracycline - also no iron supplements

  • Antifungal medicines

    • Examples Diflucan and Nizoral


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Medicines for Depression and Anxiety nitrate containing drugs

  • Never mix with alcohol with any of these drugs!

  • Also caffeine may decrease the effectiveness of anti-anxiety drugs


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MOA Inhibitors nitrate containing drugs

  • Common brands – Nardil and Parnate

  • Must restrict some foods containing tyramine to prevent possible fatal rise in blood pressure


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MOA Inhibitors nitrate containing drugs

  • No beer, red wine or other alcohol

  • No cheddar, American, bleu, brie, Parmesan or mozzarella cheese

  • No beef or chicken liver, cured meats, game meat, caviar or dried fish


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No avocados, bananas, soy sauce, miso soup, sauerkraut nitrate containing drugs

No ginseng, broad or fava beans or food or beverages containing caffeine like coffee, chocolate, cola drinks, tea

MOA Inhibitors


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Stomach Medicines nitrate containing drugs

  • Examples – Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid, AXID

  • Alcohol and caffeine may irritate stomach


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Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all your medicines nitrate containing drugs

Take your medicines to every doctor visit

Learn all you can about your drugs

Use alcohol and caffeine very cautiously if at all

Drink plenty of water

In Summary


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