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Food and Drug Interactions

A glass of wine with dinner may seem innocent enough.  However, if you are taking certain medications, you may need to take a second look.  While food and medications can both be beneficial, even necessary, we need to be aware of the combinations and make certain that they are compatible with one another.  For example, did you know that certain medications are more effective when taken on an empty stomach, while other medication should not be taken within two hours of drinking milk or taking iron supplements?  The following information is designed to help you become aware of not only the medication you are taking but also the safest way to combine them with the foods you are eating.

Medication Safety is essential. Everyone should keep a written record of all medications and supplements they take. St. Mary’s offers two services that can help.

  • Medication Safety Cards – simple cards on which you can write down your medications and other important medical facts. Download this card (pdf)

Because of possible drug/herb interactions, be sure your physician and pharmacist are aware of all prescription medication, over-the counter medications and herbal supplements you take.

Most clashes between food and medications can be avoided by following a few basic guidelines:

  • Read all labels on prescription bottles and all package inserts for prescription or over the counter drugs.
  • Do not stop taking your medication if a bad reaction is suspected.  Instead, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.
  • Do not change your diet drastically while on any medicine without telling your doctor.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.  If a variety of foods are included and you maintain good nutritional health, drugs are less likely to cause a problem.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist when to take a drug and which foods to avoid.

Should you have any questions about your specific medications, please
ask your doctor or contact your local pharmacist.  While hospitalized,
you can obtain additional information about your medication by contacting
St. Mary’s Pharmacy at (706) 389-2500.