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What Are Drug and Food Interactions?

By: Christine Whitfield BA (hons) - Updated: 30 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Drug Food Interaction Reaction Negative

Taking medicines is always somewhat risky. As safe and careful as you may be when reading the label of what the medicine contains sometimes we develop an allergic reaction to something that we didn’t know about.

It may not even be an allergic reaction as such, just one ingredient in the medicine may not agree with us and may make us feel ill.

Your doctor may check thoroughly with you to make sure nothing in the medicine will cause you any problems but sometimes no matter how thoroughly he or she checks on a certain occasion the medicine can have a negative effect on you.

When this happens of course there is little that could be done to prevent it. Sometimes flukes occur and it is no ones fault. You cannot always know exactly how every ingredient in the world will affect you! However sometimes the medicine we take gives us a bad reaction because we are taking it alongside another medicine or a food product that reacts badly with the first drug.

This can cause a reaction that can make us feel poorly. It can also make either of the medicines stop working. The most common example of this comes with antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to clear infections. However, when patients take antibiotics alongside the contraceptive pill this can cause the contraceptive pill to stop working.

Drugs often react differently with other drugs. They may increase the effects of the first drugs or decrease the effects. A lot of these interactions are known but like all things in life new developments occur every day and more and more interactions are becoming known each time a new set of drugs are paired together.

Of course doctors try to avoid this by not pairing together medicines that will obviously cause a reaction with each other but this is not always possible when certain ingredients are not known to react in any unusual way.

Food Interactions With Drugs

Of course it’s not just other drugs that can react badly with drugs. In some cases foods can have a bad reaction with drugs. Certain foods can decrease the effectiveness of drugs and may mean taking the drugs is pointless unless you remove that food from your diet. In other cases foods can cause a reaction with the drugs such as a rash or nausea. While the effectiveness of the drugs will not be compromised it is not a nice situation for the patient to be in.

Alcohol can often have interaction effects with drugs too. Some medicines react differently when alcohol is consumed. In many cases the label on the medicine will specify that alcohol should be avoided while the patient is taking the medicine.

The same goes for food. Sometimes the medicine label will specify which foods should be avoided but that is not always the case. It is a good idea to consult your doctor about the types of foods and drink that may react in a negative way with the medicine you are taking.

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