Intermountain Healthcare

Do the Foods You Eat Cause Potentially-Dangerous Interactions with Your Prescription Medications? Here's What You Need to Know


Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/06/2019 --Food can interact with medications you are taking and can come with serious effects including:

-Prevent medication from working correctly
-Cause certain side effects to worsen
-Cause new side effects

Additionally, some medications can change how your body processes certain foods, which can be harmful.

To help you stay safe, when you take any kind of medication (prescribed or over-the-counter), carefully follow the information on the label and the dosage instructions from your doctor or pharmacist, according to Chance Keddington, PharmD, Intermountain Healthcare Cottonwood Pharmacy manager.

Keddington offers a general guide of common medications that can cause side effects if their dosage is not properly followed and/or can produce side effects with certain foods. The information here should never take the place of advice from your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional.

Before starting a new medication, be sure to ask your healthcare provider if there are any problems you should watch for, or could develop, when you use your medication with other drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements/dietary supplements, food, caffeine, or alcohol.

Anticoagulants (example: Warfarin)
While you can take Warfarin on a full or empty stomach, Vitamin K in food can make medicine less effective (broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, and Brussel sprouts). Cranberry juice and cranberry products can change the effects of Warfarin. Avoiding garlic, ginger, glucosamine, ginseng, and gingko is important as they can increase the chance of bleeding.

Lipid-Altering Statins (example: Lipitor)
Statins are one of the most commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals. Large amounts of grapefruit juice can raise the levels of these drugs and greatly increase the chance of side effects. While some forms of statins don't interact with grapefruit juice, all statins are affected by alcohol and can increase the chance of liver damage. It is wise to speak to a healthcare professional about alcohol use while on statins.

Narcotics (example: Hydrocodone and Oxycodone)
Commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, narcotics can be highly addictive and can cause extreme side effects. These side effects are increased when alcohol is consumed. When using narcotics, it is wise to speak to a pharmacist or provider about storing them safely so others do not have access to them. Additionally, be sure to dispose of unused medications in a take back bin once you are done with them. These should not be stored in the house to help prevent others from misusing them.

ACE Inhibitors (example: Lisinopril)
ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and can treat heart failure. These drugs can increase potassium in your body, so avoid eating large amounts of food high in potassium such as bananas, oranges, and green leafy vegetables.

Quinolone Antibiotics (example: Ciprofloxacin)
Used to treat infections caused by bacteria, all of the medication must be finished to kill the cause of the infection. Don't take quinolone antibiotics with dairy products or calcium-fortified juices alone, but you can take ciprofloxacin with meals that contain dairy products. Tell your doctor if you consume foods or drinks with caffeine, because these drugs can cause caffeine to build up in the body.

When receiving a prescription for a new medication or if you take a new over-the-counter drug, Keddington advises that you speak with your pharmacist or medical provider about what foods or other medications you should avoid or be concerned about while taking the medication.

About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see