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Never Take This With Food, Warn Pharmacists

Potential food-drug interactions that could be dangerous.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Certain foods can interfere with prescription medications—and many people are not aware of potential dangers. "It's an issue that's not on a lot of people's radar screens. Honestly, it's not on many doctors' radar screens, either," says Bethanne Brown, professor of pharmacy practice at the J.L. Winkle College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati. "This information can be found in the packet you receive when you pick up your prescription from the pharmacy, but it can get lost in all the written information provided." Here are five drugs that should not be taken with certain foods, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Certain Medications and Grapefruit Juice


Grapefruit juice should not be taken with certain medications including antihistamines, statin drugs and drugs that treat high blood pressure. "The juice lets more of the drug enter the blood," says Shiew Mei Huang, PhD, of the FDA. "When there is too much drug in the blood, you may have more side effects."


Blood Thinners and Leafy Greens

leafy greens

Leafy greens such as spinach are high in vitamin K, which can interfere with blood thinners. Rather than avoid these vegetables altogether, doctors recommend consistency so the body can balance steady doses of vitamin K. "What you should try to do is keep your intake of foods rich in vitamin K about the same each day," says Fran Burke MS, RD. "For example, if you eat one serving of broccoli on one day, you should plan on eating one serving of a high vitamin K food the next and so on. One serving a day, several days a week would help to keep your vitamin K intake consistent."


Bananas and ACE Inhibitors

bananas and milk

Bananas, salt, oranges and leafy green vegetables should not be taken with ACE inhibitors, which are often prescribed to treat blood pressure or heart failure. "These foods are all high in potassium, which helps provide electrical signals to heart-muscle cells and other cells," warns Consumer Reports. "Consuming them with the medications listed could increase the amount of potassium in your body and may lead to an irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations—which could be deadly."


Antidepressants and Red Wine

Sad woman drinking wine at kitchen.

"One kind of antidepressants called MAO inhibitors are dangerous when mixed with foods or drinks that contain tyramine," says Johns Hopkins Medicine. "These include beer, red wine, chocolate, processed meat, avocados, and some cheeses."


Alcohol and Any Medication

woman refusing glass of alcohol

Alcohol should never be mixed with type of prescription medication, experts warn. "If you're taking antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds (such as Xanax), diabetes drugs, cold and flu meds, beta-blockers, or sleeping pills. If the label says not to drink alcoholic beverages, DON'T EVEN SNEAK A SIP—you may end up with your head in the toilet!" says registered dietician Keri Glassman. "Also, alcohol will heighten the side effects of the drugs, from upset stomach to drowsiness. Diabetics may have low blood sugar episodes."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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