By Annette Pinder

In an article in the popular online publication, Everyday Health, Jessica Migala recently pointed out the importance of refraining from mixing certain foods and medications, noting some key culprits.

  1. Acetaminophen + Alcohol. Tylenol (acetaminophen) increases the risk of liver toxicity, especially if you drink and use acetaminophen daily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that men limit themselves to two drinks per day, and women one drink per day.
  2. Some Antibiotics + Dairy. Antibiotics should not be taken with milk, yogurt, or cheese, as dairy products bind to the medicine and interfere with its absorption in the bloodstream. These include fluoroquinolones like Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (levofloxacin), Avelox (moxifloxacin), and certain tetracyclines. Thus, avoid eating these foods at least two hours before, and six hours after taking these antibiotics.
  3. Calcium Channel Blockers and Statins + Grapefruit. Calcium channel blockers are used for high blood pressure and angina. Some, including Plendil (felodipine) and Procardia or Adalat (nifedipine), interact with grapefruit juice. This is also true for statins used for high cholesterol, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin). Drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit is dangerous if you take these medications, as it causes the drug to accumulate in your system. Fortunately, this does not happen with other citrus fruits.
  4. MAOIs + Aged Cheeses. Antidepressants that are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as Marplan (isocarboxazid), Nardil (phenelzine), Emsam (selegiline), or Parnate (tranylcypromine), can be a problem when mixed with tyramine-containing foods, such as aged cheeses, specific types of wine, pickled herring, brewer’s yeast, and fava beans. Fortunately, MAOIs are less frequently prescribed than antidepressants (like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs).
  5. Ziprasidone + Small Meals. Geodon (ziprasidone), an antipsychotic used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, should be taken with a meal of at least 500 calories for best absorption.
  6. Hypothyroid Drugs + (Any) Food. If you are taking Synthroid (levothyroxine) for an underactive thyroid, always take it first thing in the morning and wait 30- to 60-minutes before consuming any food. Eating food, including coffee, before can block absorption of the drug in the small intestine and lower its effectiveness.
  7. Spironolactone + Licorice. Aldactone (spironolactone), a diuretic for low potassium and heart failure, can be a problem when mixed with licorice tea, candy, or supplements, making it ineffective.
  8. SSRIs + Alcohol. SSRIs, antidepressants that treat depression anxiety, can lead to severe problems when taken with alcohol, including stomach or gastrointestinal bleeding.
  9. Warfarin + Kale. Individuals taking Jantoven and Coumadin (warfarin), blood thinners to treat blood clots, and who combine it with vegetables high in Vitamin K, like kale and broccoli, are at risk of increased blood clots. In fact, eating an abundance of all produce suddenly can interfere with these drugs, such that your physician may need to adjust the medication.
  10. Metronidazole + Alcohol. Do not drink alcohol when taking Metronidazole (Flagyl) for a vaginal infection, as it interferes with alcohol metabolism, and can cause severe vomiting. Wait at least 48 hours after stopping the medication before drinking alcohol.