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Senior Care: Watch for Medication Interactions with Food

By , 4:40 pm on

Your mom told you, the doctor told you, and Popeye told you: eat your spinach. But should you? The answer is it depends. Spinach and other innocent foods like, black licorice and grapefruit can cause interactions with medication, either reducing or intensifying the effectiveness of the medication.
Here are some common food and drug interactions to be aware of and to ask your doctor about.

Spinach and Warfarin (Coumadin) are a potentially dangerous combination, because spinach contains large amounts of vitamin K, which is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting.

Grapefruit has many drug interactions and should be watched by people taking many different drug types. Here are a few: Buspirone for anti-anxiety; Amiodarone (Cordarone) for anti-arrhythmia; Sertraline (Zoloft) as antidepressant; Fexofenadine (Allegra) as antihistamine; Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol) for anti-seizure; Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), tacrolimus (Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune) all as immunosuppressants; and Simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Mevacor), atorvastatin (Lipitor) all statins.

Black licorice and a diuretic, like Lasix, could result in a loss of too much potassium and dangerous, irregular heart rhythm.

The bottom line recommendation is complete disclosure. Always tell your doctor and pharmacist every medication, over the counter and prescription, and very supplement you are taking. If you are providing care for an elder or a person with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia who may have trouble remembering all the various medications they are taking, help them make list or take all the bottles to every doctor’s appointment. Ask if there are any food/drug interactions associated with the medications as prescribed. Clear communication with doctors and pharmacists and following their orders can make the difference in whether a medication will help you or harm you.

Home Care Assistance of Om-aha
provides professional caregivers who are expertly trained in caring for elders. Our senior caregivers assist with daily tasks, ensure proper medication administration and can accompany their client to doctor’s appointments. If you or a loved one needs assistance with activities of daily living, call 402 763-9140 today.

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