Guide to Food and Drug Incompatibility

There are many factors to consider when it comes to administering a patient's medications. One such factor that is often overlooked, especially by patient's, is food-drug interaction. Some foods will cause drugs to work more quickly or more slowly, or may be more efficable when taken with, or without, food. Other foods may cause adverse reactions when taken with certain medications, such as causing new side effects. Use this guide to help you remember some common food-drug incompatibilties.

This list is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all food-drug interactions and should be used for reference only.

This resource is a vital concept for all nurses and may accompany any of our continuing education courses. View the class catalog here.
Guide to Food and Drug Incompatibility
ACE Inhibitors Potassium-containing salt substitutes
Ampicillin Carbonated beverages,  acidic juices
Aspirin Feverfew, ginkgo, green tea
Barbiturates Valerian
Calcium-channel blockers Grapefruit juice
Cloxacillin Carbonated beverages, acidic juices
Cyclosporine Grapefruit juice, potassium-containing salt substitutes
Digoxin High-fiber foods and meals
Enteric-coated Pills Excess milk, hot beverages, alcohol
Fluoroquinolones High in calcium, iron, or zinc (dairy / red meat)
Hemorrhoid Medications Saw palmetto
Indomethacin Potassium-containing salt substitute
Isoniazid High-carb foods
Levodopa Excess protein
Lithium Significant increase/decrease in sodium intake
MAO Inhibitors Foods containing tyramine
Methyldopa Excess protein
NSAIDS Asian ginseng, ginkgo
Penicillin G Carbonated beverages, acidic juices
Phenytoin Excess protein
Potassium-sparing diuretics Potassium-containing salt substitutes
Statin Drugs Grapefruit and grapefruit juice
Tetracycline Iron-rich food or supplements, calcium
Theophylline Excess protein
Warfarin (Coumadin) Vitamin K-rich foods and supplements, Asian ginseng, feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, St. John’s wort, green tea
Zidovudine Excess fat

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