Alcohol is a drug that interacts with almost every medication, especially antidepressants and other drugs that affect the brain and nervous system.
bullet Some dietary components increase the risk of side effects. Theophylline, a medication administered to treat asthma, contains xanthines, which are also found in tea, coffee, chocolate, and other sources of caffeine. Consuming large amounts of these substances while taking theophylline increases the risk of drug toxicity.
bullet Certain vitamins and minerals impact on medications too. Large amounts of broccoli, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables high in vitamin K, which promotes the formation of blood clots, can counteract the effects of heparin, warfarin, and other drugs given to prevent clotting.
bullet Dietary fiber also affects drug absorption. Pectin and other soluble fibers slow down the absorption of acetaminophen, a popular painkiller. Bran and other insoluble fibers have a similar effect on digoxin, a major heart medication.
As more and more people discover new herbs, there is more and more potential for the abuse of these herbs and the patients may end up in serious problems.
The following are the examples of known interaction between popular herbs, foods, and prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Touted as effective in reducing angina attacks by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, should never be taken with Lanoxin (digoxin), the medication prescribed for most for heart ailments. The mix can lower your heart rate too much, causing blood to pool, bringing on possible heart failure.
According to research, can increase blood pressure, making it dangerous for those trying to keep their blood pressure under control. Ginseng, garlic or supplements containing ginger, when taken with the blood-thinning drug, Coumadin, can cause bleeding episodes. Coumadin is a very powerful drug that leaves little room for error, and patients taking it should never take any medication or otherwise before consulting a qualified health professional. In rare cases, ginseng may overstimulate resulting in insomnia. Consuming caffeine with ginseng increases the risk of overstimulation and gastrointestinal upset. Long tern use of ginseng may cause menstrual abnormalities and breast tenderness in some women. Ginseng is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
Capsules combined with diabetes medication can cause a dangerous decrease in blood sugars. Some people who are sensitive to garlic may experience heartburn and flatulence. Garlic has anti-clotting properties. You should check with your doctor if you are taking anticoagulant drugs.
It is used for coughs, stomach upsets, menstrual problems and even arthritis. However, the plant's active ingredient will raise blood pressure, complicating treatment for those taking antihypertensive medications, especially beta-blockers. For patients taking medication to control diabetes or kidney disease, this herb can cause dangerous electrolyte imbalance. High amount of consumption can lead to gastrointestinal distress and possible nervous system effects. Not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
Believed to be the natural remedy for migraine headaches, should never be taken with Imitrex or other migraine medications. It can result in the patient's heart rate and blood pressure to rise dangerous levels.
Guarana: an alternative remedy being used as a stimulant and diet aid, contains 3 percent to 5 percent more caffeine than a cup of coffee. So, if you are taking any medication that advises you against taking any drink with caffeine, you should avoid taking this stimulant. It may cause insomnia, trembling, anxiety, palpitations, urinary frequency, and hyperactivity. Avoid during pregnancy and lactation period. Long term use of Guarana may lead to decreased fertility, cardiovascular disease, and several forms of cancer.
A herb that has antianxiety, pain relieving, muscle relaxing and anticonvulsant effects, should not be taken together with substances that also act on the central nervous system, such as alcohol, barbiturates, anti depressants, and antipsychotic drugs.
St. John's Wort:
It is a popular herb used for the treatment of mild depression.