Drug and Food Interactions

Certain foods that you eat or drink can negatively affect the way your medications work. When drugs and food interfere with each other’s functionality this is known as a “Food-Drug Interaction.”

According to Salvatore Sica, Pharmacist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, food can interact with your medicine in one of three ways; it can enhance, delay or decrease the absorption of medication.  Changes in your body’s ability to metabolize medication properly can result in an increased risk of side effects.

Knowing which foods to avoid when taking certain medications can decrease the risk of adverse reactions. Here are a few common food-drug interactions you should know:

Grapefruit Juice:  Should not be consumed when taking certain medications.  Grapefruit juice can block enzymes in the intestines, affecting the way drugs are metabolized by the body.  It may allow excessive amounts of the drug to enter the blood which can lead to side effects. Your doctor may recommend that you do not consume grapefruit juice if you are taking medications that are cholesterol-lowering agents as well as some allergy, heart, immune system or anti-anxiety drugs.

Vitamin-K Rich Foods:  Blood thinners are often prescribed to people to prevent life-threatening blood clots from developing. Eating foods that are rich in vitamin K such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus can decrease the effects of blood thinners.

Dairy – Calcium-rich foods including, cheese, yogurt or other dairy products can interfere with certain medications such as antibiotics.  These medications can bind to calcium and form an insoluble substance that is difficult for the body to absorb.

Alcohol:  According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, the most common types of medications that interact with alcohol are high blood pressure, pain, diabetes, antipsychotic, and antidepressant medications as well as sleeping pills.  Drinking alcohol while taking these medications may lead to harmful reactions such as hypotension (low blood pressure), liver injury, ulcers or disruptions in your breathing (which can lead to death). It is also important to keep in mind that alcohol-drug interactions are not limited to prescription drugs, harmful reactions can also occur when taking over-the-counter medications.

If you are unsure of how certain foods may interact with your medications, your pharmacist can be a great help in providing this information.   It is also recommended that you inform your doctor and pharmacist of any changes in your diet, as they can advise on precautions you may need to take.

For your convenience, a full-service pharmacy is located at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in the Medical Science Building providing prescription services to discharged, emergency department and clinic patients as well as employees. Please feel free to contact our friendly pharmacists at 718-353-3160.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Your Prescription

Patients are encouraged to ask their physicians about their medications. It is important to be fully informed, as learning about your prescription can reduce the chances of an accident.

You can get learn about your medications by asking your health care provider the following questions:

  • Why is this medication being prescribed?
  • What is the name of the medication?
  • Is there a generic version?
  • How will this prescription treat my condition?
  • How long will I have to take this prescription?
  • How and when should I take this medication?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Are there any foods or drinks I should avoid?
  • Is it safe to take this medication along with other drugs or supplements?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • How do the benefits outweigh the risks?

In addition to asking your doctor questions about your medications, you can ask a pharmacist. They are an excellent source of information and can help you to understand your prescription.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s retail pharmacy provides prescription services to patients and those who live in its community.  If you have a medication question to ask after you have left your doctor’s appointment, please call 718-353-3160 or visit 146-01 45th Avenue, Flushing NY 11355.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Your Pharmacist Can Help You

Your pharmacist is a healthcare professional trained to accurately dispense prescribed medications and apply safety measures to ensure their proper use.

In addition to dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists can provide you with information on prescribed and over-the-counter drug interactions.  They can also offer tips to improve medication adherence. This is especially helpful if you find it difficult to take your medicine when you are scheduled to.

Not only are pharmacists well-informed about medications; they are a great source of information on durable medical equipment and home health care supplies as well.

Pharmacists are trained to educate patients about general health topics such as disease prevention, exercise, diet, smoking cessation and managing stress.   They are licensed to provide immunizations in all 50 states and play an integral role in helping to minimize the transmission of community-acquired diseases and viruses such as the flu.

If you are unsure of how to dispose of your medications, your pharmacist can advise you on how to properly and safely dispose of unused drugs.

Get to know your pharmacists; they are an essential part of your healthcare team.  By working together you can personalize your service and improve the quality of care you receive.

For your convenience, a full-service pharmacy is located on site in the Medical Science Building at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.  Our warm and friendly staff provides prescription services to discharged, emergency department and clinic patients as well as employees. For more information, please call 718-353-3160 or visit https://www.flushinghospital.org/patient-services/flushing-hospitals-retail-pharmacy

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.