SEP 19, 2017 4:34 AM PDT

5 Food-drug Pairs That Shouldn't Be Mixed

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Many prescription medications advise that you take the pills with food. However, there are some drugs that shouldn't be mixed with certain foods. These food-drug interactions can prevent the medicine from working as it was intended, worsen a side-effect of the medication, or create an unknown side-effect.

One of the more well-described food-drug interaction involves grapefruit juice. As it turns out, grapefruit juice contains an organic chemical known as furanocoumarin. This chemical can interfere with the activity of enzymes and transporters in the small intestine that metabolize your medications. Washing down pills with grapefruit juice can cause your body to absorb too much or too little of certain medicines, potentially causing serious problems.

The FDA currently lists more than 50 prescription and over-the-counter drugs that have negative interactions with grapefruit. Common drugs on this list include medicines for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and anxiety. So check the labels on your pill bottles for grapefruit contraindications. When in doubt, water, though not so tasty, is a safer option.

Watch the video to learn about five pairs of foods and medicines that you should avoid mixing.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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