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Give up the Grapefruit! 4 Common Medications and Their Food Contraindications

by De C - February 25 , 2019


Common Medications
Common Medications
Research shows that half of patients are making mistakes with their prescription medications.

This costs taxpayers billions of dollars and also results in a large number of deaths each year.

Taking prescription medications and over the counter medications and supplements is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly.

It's common knowledge that grapefruit juice can cause a deadly interaction with many common medications, over 200 to be exact, but there are many common medications with food contraindications to be aware of.

Being careful with your medications and being aware of common contraindicated foods and drug contraindications could save your life.

Keep reading for a list of 4 common medications and their food contraindications.

What causes mistakes with common medications?

You might be wondering why mistakes with drug contraindications occur and how to prevent them.

One of main causes of user error when it comes to safety with prescriptions is failure to read the information issued with the prescribed medication.

The pamphlet that comes with mediation is not meant to go straight to your trash can.

This pamphlet contains valuable and life saving information about medication side effects and whether the drug interacts with foods and other medications. It also contains prescribing information.

Research shows that most patients do not read any further than the label on the bottle, if they even read that. Older patients need to make sure they are wearing their glasses and reading the information in a well-lit area.

Another cause of mistakes with medications is the patient failing to properly report all medications and supplements they are taking.

It is extremely important to communicate to your doctor and your pharmacist all prescription and over the counter medications you are taking as well as herbal supplements. Even those these are not technically drugs, they do have side effects and can have interactions with foods and other medications.

While there are many drugs that can interact with foods, here is a list of four common ones to be aware of.

1. Warfarin

Warfarin, also known as Coumadin and Jantoven, is a blood thinning medication used to treat and prevent blood clots.

One of those most important things to remember when taking this medication is that consistency is the key to success.

Warfarin is known to interact with green, leafy vegetables. This is because of the high vitamin K content in these foods. The way Warfarin works is by reducing the synthesis by the body of vitamin K derived clotting factors.

If you consume too much vitamin K, you will have more clotting potential and reduce the efficacy of the Warfarin.

It is not true that patients cannot consume any green, leafy vegetables while using this medication, however. As long as their diet is consistent, patients can safely consume these foods.

Their vitamin K level needs to remain consistent for their dose to be accurate.

Other foods that may decrease the efficacy of Warfarin include soy milk, char grilled foods, and sushi that contains seaweed. On the other hand, cranberry juice can increase the effects of the medication, which is also dangerous.

2. Digoxin/ACE Inhibitors

If you are taking the medication Digoxin for heart failure or ACE inhibitors you need to be careful when using salt substitutes.

The issue with salt substitutes is that they usually replace the sodium content with potassium. This can have dangerous effects.

ACE inhibitors are known to increase potassium in the body on their own. If with salt substitutes, which can increase potassium in the body, a dangerous condition can occur.

With increasing levels of potassium in the body, the effectiveness of Digoxin is reduced, increasing the risk for heart failure.

3. Statins

Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels. If you are taking any statin, you should not consume grapefruit juice.

While not every cholesterol-lowering statin drug will interact with grapefruit juice, many of them will and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Grapefruit juice contains a class of compounds called furanocoumarins, which alter the characteristics of medications in the human body. Grapefruit juice increases the absorption of drugs, which means there are higher than desired levels of the drug in the body.

Lower than desired levels of the drug can also occur if the grapefruit juice causes the body to metabolize the drug inefficiently.

4. Insulin/Oral Diabetic Agents

If you are diabetic and taking insulin or oral diabetic agents, you should consult you doctor before consuming alcohol.

Alcohol can increase or prolong the effects of diabetic medications and lead to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Alcohol can lower glucose and the effects can last as long as eight to twelve hours.

The risk of this interaction can be reduced by consuming alcohol at mealtimes or by having a snack with your drink.

Some diabetic medications such as chlorpropasmide can cause unpleasant side effects when taken with alcohol, such as dizziness, nausea, and flushing.

Preventing Medication Mistakes

The best way to prevent making mistakes with your medication it to utilize your pharmacist.

While doctors are the experts in diagnosing medical conditions, they are not the experts in medications.

Pharmacists have expert knowledge about drugs and their interactions. When your pharmacist fills your prescription, they should have a list of the other medications and supplements you are taking.

They will let you know if you have been prescribed medications with interactions.

If you are purchasing a medication or supplement over the counter, it is best to discuss your options with your pharmacist.

If you ever have any questions about any of the medications or supplements you are taking or are wondering if they have any food contraindications, your pharmacist will be able to tell you.

Talk to Your Pharmacist

The best way to avoid making mistakes with common medications or any medication you are taking is to talk to your pharmacist before taking the medication.

Pharmacists are specially trained and have extensive knowledge of medications and their contraindications. You could save your life by stopping and learning about the medications you have been prescribed before taking them.

Contact us today to consult with a licensed pharmacist and put your mind at ease.


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