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Which Drugs or Foods React With Bronchodilators?

By: Christine Whitfield BA (hons) - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Drugs Medication Breathe Side Effects

Taking medication is something most of us have to do at one time or another. For the most part it is a simple process that makes us better and we suffer few side effects. Sometimes we may feel a bit drowsy when we take certain medications but most of the time there isn’t any major problems. However there are times when certain medications react badly with other medications or with food. These interactions can cause us to feel very uncomfortable and unpleasant and the different reactions have different effects.

Asthma Sufferers

Asthma sufferers have to take medication for a long time, often for life. This medication enables them to breathe easier and is intended to keep asthma attacks at bay. However it can also react with other medications and foods and these reactions can be unpleasant. They can also alter the effectiveness of the medication. It is therefore vital that you know which foods, drugs and drinks to avoid when taking your asthma medication.


Bronchodilators are used to treat asthma and other breathing related illnesses. These include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Many sufferers have an inhaler which they must use daily in order to keep their symptoms at bay.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods can affects asthmas sufferers in a negative way and affect the way the drugs used to treat the illness – including bronchodilators – work. Sufferers should be careful of the amount of high fat meals they consume. High-fat products can increase the amount of theophylline that is in the body. Meals which are high in carbohydrates can lower the amount of theophylline that is in the body. Sufferers taking bronchodilators require different amounts of theophylline. Because of this the sufferer may have to avoid meals high in fat or alternatively high in carbohydrates. Therefore the sufferer should always check with the pharmacist or their doctor what bronchodilators they are taking and which type of meals the should avoid.


When taking bronchodilators you should not experience many side effects however if you drink alcohol while taking these you may experience some unpleasant ones. These can include nausea, headache and irritability. By avoiding alcohol you can avoid having to experience these unpleasant symptoms.

What Else Should I Avoid?

Caffeine is not good for asthmas sufferers. If you are taking bronchodilators you should avoid caffeine as much as possible. This includes hot drinks such as teas and coffees and any carbonated caffeine drinks.

Asthma is an illness that is usually long-term and can stay with the sufferer for life. The medication sufferers take should not cause too many side effects but it is vital to know which foods and drinks can react with the drugs they are taking. If you think you are suffering from any side effects from the drugs you are taking and they do not seem to be related to the food and drink your doctor or pharmacist has told you to avoid then you should speak to your doctor straight away. Your doctor will be able to check whether your medication needs to changed.

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