Medicines are powerful substances and when you ingest them they can interact with the food you eat. This can make them work slower, faster or even prevent them from working. Some food and medicine combinations can even have toxic results. So you should be sure to ask both your doctor and your pharmacist if there are any foods or beverages you need to avoid while you are on the medication. You should also be sure to inform your doctor of all the medications you take when getting a prescription. This includes a complete list of vitamins and supplements.
Drink a full eight-ounce glass of water when taking pills and capsules. This will prevent irritation of your esophagus and stomach lining and increases the absorption of the medication by your body. This should be done with both prescription and over-the-counter medications. But don’t drink a hot beverage with the medication as heat interferes with the effectiveness of some medications. If a medication is taken on a daily basis, try to take it at the same time every day. Always adhere to the recommended dose. Taking more can be dangerous. Taking less may interfere with its effectiveness.
Since some medications are not compatible with certain foods it is important to ask your doctor and pharmacist about this when you receive any prescription. For example, tetracycline is a commonly prescribed antibiotic however consuming dairy products while taking the antibiotic can completely destroy its effectiveness. It has also been found that certain antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure if taken with any food that contains a substance known as tyramine. Aged cheeses, preserved meats such as salami, certain kinds of beans, sauerkraut and alcoholic beverages all contain tyramine. Since this blood pressure rise can even be fatal, if you are prescribed MAOIs, you need to be very certain of all the foods and beverages you should avoid.
Just recently, it has been discovered that grapefruit juice and grapefruit can increase the levels of some medications in the blood. The medical profession does not yet know all of the drugs that may be involved. They do know that it is true for most calcium channel blockers and for triazolam, a common sleeping pill. Because of the current uncertainty about this interaction, it is recommended that people wait at least an hour after taking any medication before eating citrus fruits or drinking citrus juices. Also, many medications are not compatible with alcoholic beverages as alcohol interacts with many different drugs both prescription and non-prescription so you need to check this on the label of any over the counter medications that you are purchasing.
Often prescriptions will specify whether a medication should be taken on an empty stomach or with food. If it is to be taken on an empty stomach, you should wait two to three hours after eating or take it an hour before eating. One bit of information that you also need but may not be included with the prescription, is what to do if you miss a dose. Since it is easy to forget, especially if you are not accustomed to taking medication, you should be sure to ask either the doctor or pharmacist about this.