This month, we have been educating on the importance of knowing your medications and the possibilities of food/medication interactions. Medications can be affected by many different things such as age, weight, medical conditions, other medications, as well as food and drinks. The best way to understand your medications is to ask your physician at the time they are prescribed or your local pharmacist for over-the-counter medications. We are only providing a general list of interactions, but there are many more and the effects can be different for different people. We have already touched on antihistamines, arthritis, pain, and fever analgesics/antipyretics, NSAIDS, narcotics, bronchodilators, anti-anxiety medicines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedatives and hypnotics, bipolar medicines, antibiotics, and cardiovascular medications such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, diuretics, glycosides, lipid-altering agents, vasodilators/ nitrates, and vitamin K agonists/ anticoagulants.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter, the ring of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach. Many people suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion caused by GERD. Proton Pump Inhibitors Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) work by decreasing the amount of acid made in the stomach. They treat GERD and other conditions when the stomach produces too much acid. Some of these medicines you can buy over-the-counter to treat frequent heartburn, such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid). Other medicines you can only buy with a prescription to treat conditions such as ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers in people taking nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Proton pump inhibitors are also used along with antibiotics to stop infections in the stomach that cause ulcers. Proton pump inhibitors come in different forms (such as delayed-release tablets, delayed-release disintegrating tablets, and immediate release). Don’t change your dose or stop using these without talking to your doctor first. Examples include dexlansoprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole, and rabeprazole. You can take dexlansoprazole and pantoprazole on a full or empty stomach. Esomeprazole should be taken at least one hour before a meal. Lansoprazole and omeprazole should be taken before eating. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how you should take rabeprazole. Tell your doctor if you cannot swallow delayed-release medicines whole because you shouldn’t split, crush, or chew them. Some of these medicines can be mixed with food, but you must carefully follow the label and directions from your doctor or pharmacist.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Without this hormone, the body cannot function properly, so there is poor growth, slow speech, lack of energy, weight gain, hair loss, dry thick skin, and increased sensitivity to cold. Thyroid medicines control hypothyroidism, but they don’t cure it. They reverse the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It may take several weeks before you notice a change in your symptoms. Don’t stop taking the medicine without talking to your doctor. An example includes levothyroxine. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any foods. Take levothyroxine once a day in the morning on an empty stomach, at least one-half hour to one hour before eating any food. Tell your doctor if you eat soybean flour, cotton seed meal, walnuts, and dietary fiber; the dose of the medicine may need to be changed.
Osteoporosis Bisphosphonates (bone calcium phosphorus metabolism) prevent and treat osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily. They work by preventing bone breakdown and increasing bone thickness. Examples include alendronate sodium, alendronate sodium + cholecalciferol, ibandronate sodium, risedronate sodium, and risedronate sodium + calcium carbonate. These medicines work only when you take them on an empty stomach. Take the medicine first thing in the morning with a full glass (six to eight ounces) of plain water while you are sitting or standing up. Don’t take with mineral water. Don’t take antacids or any other medicine, food, drink, calcium, or any vitamins or other dietary supplements for at least 30 minutes after taking alendronate or risedronate, and for at least 60 minutes after taking ibandronate. Don’t lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking alendronate or risedronate and for at least 60 minutes after taking ibandronate. Don’t lie down until you eat your first food of the day.
A personal medicine record can help you keep track of your prescription and over-the-counter medicines and vitamins, herbals, and other dietary supplements you use. If you keep a written record, it can make it easy to share this information with all your healthcare professionals—at office, clinic and hospital visits, and in emergency situations.
Always read the label before you use any medicine. Over-the-counter medicines have a label called Drug Facts on the medicine container or packaging. The label is there to help you choose the right medicine for you and your problem and use the medicine safely. Some over-the-counter medicines also come with a consumer information leaflet which gives more information. Prescription Medicines come with a Medication Guide (also called Med Guide). This is one kind of information written for consumers about prescription medicines. The pharmacist must give you a Medication Guide each time you fill your prescription when there is one written for your medicine. Medication Guides are made for certain medicines that have serious risks. The information tells about the risks and how to avoid them. Read the information carefully before you use the medicine. If you have any questions, ask a doctor or pharmacist.