A number of medications are not compatible with certain foods. For example, if antibiotics are taken with dairy products at the same time, they lose their effect. More than 300 medicines can become less effective or even toxic when taken with certain foods.
Drug Interactions - Facts and Figures
Every German consumes an average of 1,250 pills and other medicines a year - almost always without thinking about what he uses to swallow them, sometimes with milk, sometimes with coffee, sometimes with beer and not infrequently with a complete meal. According to the German Association of Pharmacists more than 315 drugs respond to food.
These substances are contained in over 5,000 common drugs. This means that in 12.5 percent of the drugs can come in conjunction with food to unwanted side effects. Doctors do not always give their patients along with the prescription also nutritional recommendations, which are to be observed when taking the drug.
Most often, however, the interaction is not too dramatic, e.g. occasionally swallows a headache medication. At risk are patients and the chronically ill, who are given up to ten different medications daily. This increases the risk potential immensely, reports the independent British Committee on Toxicity.
Sometimes a drug just does not work so well when it gets into the body along with certain foods. Occasionally, drugs in the gut block the absorption of important substances such as calcium, fluorine or iodine. In rare cases, the interactions between medication and food even threaten sleeping disorders and tachycardia.
Here are the most common effects of the most common drugs listed:
- Antibiotics and dairy products: Milk, quark, yoghurt and cheese and antibiotics do not match. The important group of drugs of tetracyclic antibiotics, such as doxycycline, can make compounds with calcium from dairy products, which the body can no longer digest. Thus, the effect of the drug is slowed down, so to speak. Calcium-containing foods such as milk and yoghurt & Co. should therefore be consumed at the earliest two hours after taking these antibiotics.
- Antibiotics and caffeine: Frequently bladder or kidney infections are prescribed antibiotics containing Gryasehemmer. With caffeine, as it is contained in coffee, cola or tea, it can cause agitation, palpitations and sleep disorders, because the drug inhibits the breakdown of caffeine. Therefore, during the intake prefer to completely abstain from caffeine.
- Iron tablets and caffeine: Anemia medicines are useless if swallowed with coffee or tea. The tannic acid of the drinks binds the iron ions in the stomach. Thus, the iron is excreted, instead of over the intestinal wall in the bloodstream to land. Pregnant women, for example, who take their iron supplement for breakfast, should not drink tea or coffee for at least two hours before and after taking the tablets.
- Grapefruit juice and painkillers, hypnotics, antihistamines, high blood pressure: You should completely abstain from taking grapefruit juice, even if some of the symptoms are rare. The flavonoids contained therein, which are the dyes contained in the plants, increase the effect of numerous drugs by about 30 percent and can be used, for example, in Trigger high blood pressure. This also applies to bitter oranges, which are included in some orange jams and jams. Caution is especially advised for heart tablets containing nifedipine. Along with grapefruit threaten to fall in blood pressure, heart racing and headache. In combination with analgesics, the heart can get out of control: cardiac arrhythmia is the result. Together with sleeping pills it can lead to full-sounding symptoms. Some antihistamines, in combination with grapefruit, also cause cardiac arrhythmia in the worst case.
- Licorice and diuretics: Diuretics are agents that drain the body. At the same time they flush out vitamins and minerals. If licorice lovers take dehydrating remedies over a longer period of time, there is an increased loss of potassium. Symptoms: Muscle weakness, drowsiness, weaker reflexes and increased blood pressure.
- Asthma remedy with theophylline and black pepper: The pharmaceutical manufacturer Madaus warns: Those who like spicing with black pepper should be extra careful, because the contained piperine inhibits the breakdown of theophylline, which is mainly prescribed for severe bronchial asthma. One study found that piperine can increase the theophylline level. These patients should also abstain from tannin-containing foods or medicines. Tannin-containing are e.g. Black tea, green tea, walnut, raspberry, oak and witch hazel.
- Antidepressants and wine or cheese: Antidepressants often contain so-called MAO inhibitors. These inhibit the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), which breaks down certain messenger substances. In simple terms, MAO inhibitors increase the concentration of various neurotransmitters in the brain, thus ensuring that more of the happy transmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine are available in the brain. The mood enhancers conflict with protein and tyramine-containing foods that are stored for a long time. These include sauerkraut, cheese, white beans and salted herring. The protein product tyramine can not be broken down in the body during ingestion, since the enzyme indispensable for this process does not work. Now, when cheese and wine - especially Chianti - taken with MAO inhibitors, it can cause life-threatening high blood pressure crises and cerebral hemorrhage. Bananas and pineapple, nutmeg, figs, raisins, yoghurt, soy sauce and sauerkraut are also potentially dangerous.
Unproblematic: anticoagulant and green leafy vegetables
According to recent studies and contrary to much information often prescribed drugs for blood thinning, so-called anticoagulants such as marcumar to prevent, for example, thrombosis. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables (cabbage, spinach, kohlrabi, lettuce, sauerkraut) as well as in liver, meat and egg.
Such vitamin K-containing foods are not to be avoided, writes the German Society for Nutrition (DGE): "In a series of clinical studies it has been demonstrated that even if large amounts of vitamin K-rich foods are consumed, Therefore, there is no reason for patients taking anticoagulation therapy with vitamin K antagonists to focus on vitamin K-rich foods such as liver, spinach, broccoli, white, red, green and cauliflower. to renounce."
It makes sense, however, to dispense with appropriate multivitamin preparations or their intake should be clarified with the attending physician.
Tips for taking the medicine
The leaflets contain information on when the medication should be taken. If it is taken before eating, the remedy should be taken 60 to 30 minutes before the meal. "Ingestion while eating" means ingestion within five minutes of the meal. "Ingestion after eating": Between meal and intake should be a distance of 30 to 60 minutes.
Medicines should always be taken with sufficient fluid, preferably pure water. Alcoholic drinks should always be avoided if you have prescribed medication. In sedatives or blood pressure medication, the effect can be increased: alcohol also promotes the absorption of drugs and increases their effectiveness. It is therefore essential to pay attention to warnings on the drug leaflets because, for example, the reactivity can be greatly reduced even at low alcohol consumption.
Fruit juices and sodas are best enjoyed half an hour after taking medication. For antibiotics should be at least two hours between ingestion and the consumption of milk. Even with iron supplements, neither milk, cream, nor rhubarb or protein-rich products should be consumed.
Ask the doctor or pharmacist
However, most people do not have to change their diets when they take medicines, according to the Committee on Toxicity report. Numerous interactions, such as the reduced effects of antibiotics while consuming dairy products, are described on most drug prescriptions.
However, the experts strongly advise that you carefully read the instructions for use under the heading "Interactions" before taking any medicines. In case of doubt, the pharmacist should be consulted, especially with non-prescription medicines. Doctors should be well informed about the nutritional habits of their patients before prescribing medicines.