The National Consumers League (NCL) and the Food and Drug
Administration (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.
"Avoid Food-Drug Interactions" is an updated version of
NCL's very popular "Food and Drug Interactions" brochure. The renamed brochure
contains new information, has been published in plain language, and is
re-formatted as a guide for consumers to learn more about and avoid
"Despite how widespread our use of prescription medications
has come, many Americans likely don't give a second thought to whether the
foods they regularly eat and drink might make certain drugs less effective, or
even pose the risk of dangerous interactions," said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive
director. "Our new NCL/FDA brochure is a useful tool that anyone who takes
medications should have access to."
"To take medicine safely, it's important to follow
directions about what you eat and drink," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director
of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Make sure you read the
drug's label every time to avoid harmful food and drug interactions, and to get
the most benefit from your medicine."
The "Avoid Food-Drug Interactions" brochure includes dozens
of common medications and examples of interactions with certain foods, alcohol,
and caffeine. The updated brochure also contains information on new medications
including allergy treatments, pain therapy, and cholesterol-lowering therapy.
"Even within the same drug categories there are important
differences. For example, some drugs may be less likely to cause interactions
because they are metabolized differently than other drugs in the same
category," said Rebecca Burkholder, NCL vice president for Health Policy. "Our
brochure is a great resource to learn about your risk of possible interactions,
but consumers must also talk to their doctors or pharmacists to ensure they
take their medications safely."
Other examples in the brochure include which antibiotics should be taken with food to avoid stomach upset and information on foods, like fruit juices and milk, that may cause reactions with some medications.