What foods to avoid when you’re on medication

We all know that when you’re under the weather, you’ll need to stay away from certain foods and drinks. It goes without saying that when you’re on medication, you would also have to be aware of what you consume.

Certain foods and drinks will react adversely with medication. For example, alcohol should never be taken before, with, or after a dose of medicine.

Food and medication

According to the National Consumers League, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Reports, here’s a list of foods to avoid when you are on these medication.

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  1. Antihistamines – Commonly prescribed to relieve allergies and symptoms of a cold, such as  sneezing, rashes, a runny nose, itchy eyes and so on.
    AVOID ALCOHOL – It can add to the drowsiness that is a side effect of taking antihistamines.
  2. Analgesics/Antipyretics (pain relievers/fever reducers): They alleviate mild to moderate pain from headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, backaches, menstrual cramps, and the common cold, in addition to lowering a fever.
    AVOID ALCOHOL: If you drink three or more alcoholic drinks every day, do take note that acetaminophen can cause liver damage.

    Antibacterials 

  3. Quinolone antibacterials – Prescribed to nip infections in the bud, you usually have to finish the dose set by your doctor. Examples: ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and moxifloxacin
    AVOID CAFFEINE – Ask your doctor about taking your meals with caffeine when taking ciproflaxin, because it can lead to a build-up of caffeine in your body.
  4. Tetracycline Antibacterials 
    AVOID THESE FOODS: Cheese, yogurt, milk, calcium supplements, and antacids with calcium  because it can affect the body’s ability to absorb the antibiotic fully.
    TAKE NOTE: More effective when taken an hour or two before eating.
  5. Antifungals – They are to treat or prevent fungal infections. Examples: fluconazole, itraconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole, griseofulvin and terbinafine.
    AVOID ALCOHOL – Taking griseofulvin with alcohol could cause your heart to beat faster and trigger flushing.

    Psychiatric Disorders

  6. Anti-anxiety and panic disorder medicines 
    AVOID ALCOHOL – It can add onto the side effects, i.e. drowsiness
  7. Antidepressants – Medicines to treat depression, OCD, general anxiety order, panic attacks, and some eating disorders.
    TAKE NOTE: You can take these medications on a full or empty stomach.
    AVOID ALCOHOL – It can also worsen the side effects caused by the medication, i.e. drowsiness

    Cardiovascular Disorders

  8. Glucosides i.e. digoxin – For treating heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. It helps control your heart rate and jumpstarts your heart.
    TAKE NOTE: Take digoxin one hour before or two hours after eating. This is because fibre can decrease the digoxin in your body.
    AVOID BLACK LICORICE: It can cause irregular heart beats and a heart attack.

    Hypothyroidism

  9. Thyroid drugs i.e. levothyroxine – To control hypothyroidism.
    AVOID THESE FOODS: High-fibre foods, soybeans, and walnuts can prevent your body from absorbing the medication fully.

P.S. This is NOT an exhaustive list. When in DOUBT, always ask your doctor about the foods and drinks you should stay away from.

Pic credit: Giphy and Readers Digest (cover pic)

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