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Dangerous Foods When Combined With Certain Medication

Home Care Services Greenwich CT

Seniors with health conditions often rely on their medication to help them manage their condition and keep them healthy. But did you know that some foods could negatively impact the medications your loved one is taking?

Older adults who live alone should either have a family member or home care provider monitor the medications they are taking, as well as talking to their doctor about what foods or drinks should be avoided while taking the pills. Prescription medications are not the only ones that may be adversely affected by certain foods and drinks. Over-the-counter drugs can also wreak havoc on the elder’s body when combined with what they are eating.

To ensure that your loved one’s medications do what they are supposed to do, they may want to refrain from eating the following foods.

Grapefruit juice: Many medications ask the user to avoid drinking grapefruit juice. The reason for this is because grapefruit contains a compound that prevents the elder’s body from breaking down the medicine. There are about 85 types of medications that could be affected by grapefruit juice, including thyroid medications, certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications, some cancer drugs, antihistamines, and cough suppressants.

Alternatives to salt: Using salt substitutes instead of the real thing should be good for the senior’s health, right? Well, if they are taking an ACE exhibitor for blood pressure, it could be very dangerous. Salt substitutes and ACE exhibitors both have high levels of potassium, but too much potassium could lead to rapid heart palpitations and an irregular heartbeat.

Black licorice: Black licorice has an ingredient in it that could interact with blood pressure medications and blood thinners. Older adults who are taking Lanoxin (Digoxin), Coumadin, some diuretics, and Prednisone can be affected by black licorice because it could lower potassium levels. This food can also change hormone levels, so should not be eaten when taking estrogen.

Over-the-counter-supplements: St. John’s Wart, Senna, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, vitamin E, and Coenzyme Q-10 may interfere with certain medications.

Tyramine: This ingredient can be found in certain aged cheeses and meats, sauerkraut, hot dogs, chocolate, and beer. It could interfere with some antidepressants or other medications containing MAOI.

If you are the primary caregiver of your aging parent, make sure to discuss all medications with the pharmacist and doctor in order to find out what foods should be avoided. If you are concerned with the food restrictions your loved one will need to follow, ask if there is an alternative medication they can take instead.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Greenwich CT, please contact the caring staff at Fairfield Family Care today.