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Some medications are affected by the foods which we eat. We call this a food-drug interaction. It is usually not necessary to change drug therapy or our diet greatly to avoid food-drug interactions. However, some minor changes with certain drugs may be necessary. This information is being provided to you to make you aware of possible food-drug interactions and ways to avoid them. Please note that the following information is not a complete list. You should ask your doctor, pharmacist, dietician, or nurse regarding food-drug interactions whenever starting a new medication. Also, based on your medical condition your physician may change these guidelines.

Medicines can treat and cure many health problems. However, they must be taken properly to ensure that they are safe and effective. Many medicines have powerful ingredients that interact with the human body in different ways, and diet and lifestyle can sometimes have a significant impact on a drug's ability to work in the body. Certain foods, beverages, alcohol, caffeine, and even cigarettes can interact with medicines. This may make them less effective or may cause dangerous side effects or other problems.

When you take medicine, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions carefully to obtain the maximum benefit with the least risk. Changes in a medicine's effect due to an interaction with food, alcohol or caffeine can be significant. However, there are many individual factors that influence the potential for such variations, like dose, age, weight, sex, and overall health.

Just click on one of the categories below for more information.

  Food and Drugs - A Two-Way Street  

  Protecting Yourself  

  Eating Drinking and Taking Drugs  

  A Special Case - Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice  

The following topics contain guidelines for specific medications

  Antibiotics (Taken for Infections)  

  Antidepressants (Taken for Depression)  

  Antivirals (Taken for Viral Infections)  

  Cardiovascular Drugs (Taken for the Heart)  

  Diuretics ("Water Pills")  

  Various Other Medications  

For related information, please refer to the section on "Herbals" and Prescription Errors ("RX Errors") in the small menu bar at the top of this page.

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Date of Last Update: 07/27/12