Avoid food-drug interactions – National Consumers League

What you eat and drink can affect the way your medicines work. NCL has teamed up with the FDA to update its popular guide about avoiding dangerous food and medicine combinations, and it’s now available to the public!

Health advocates at the National Consumers League and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have produced “Avoid Food and Drug Interactions” an updated version of NCL’s most popular brochure “Food and Drug Interactions,” to serve as a guide to alert you to possible “food-drug interactions” and to help you learn what you can do to prevent them.

A food-drug interaction is a change in how a medicine works caused by food, caffeine, or alcohol.

A food-drug interaction can:

  • prevent a medicine from working the way it should
  • cause a side effect from a medicine to get worse or better
  • cause a new side effect

A medicine can also change the way your body uses a food. Any of these changes can be harmful.

NCL and the FDA have teamed up to alert consumers to the possibility that the medications they are taking could interact with foods, caffeine, and alcohol. With millions of Americans taking prescription or over-the-counter medications each day, the issue of interactions between medications and certain foods is of growing importance.

The updated brochure contains information on nine medical conditions, the types of medications used to treat the condition, and common interactions between the medications and food, caffeine, or alcohol. The medications include both common prescription and over-the-counter medicines. The conditions covered in the guide range from arthritis to osteoporosis, and the medications range from aspirin to lithium to warfarin. The interactions come from medicine labels that FDA has approved. And the guide uses the generic names of medicines, never brand names.

The guide has been published in plain language, and is re-formatted as a guide for consumers to learn more about and avoid interactions. It is important to always check the medication label for any information on interactions. Always ask your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional if you have any questions about using your medication with other medications; with vitamins, herbals, or other dietary supplements; or with food, caffeine, or alcohol.

To see what we’re talking about, you can view sample pages of the brochure online here. You can order the brochure by contacting NCL’s Publications Manager Theresa Smith by calling (202) 835-3323. Bulk order pricing is available at a discounted rate!