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Medication Management: Dangerous Combinations to Avoid

Updated on May 25, 2012

Note:The following article is written according to a research. I am not a health care professional, so before taking any step or refusing any medication, please consult your doctor.

According to FDA’s research the major part of new medication doesn’t cure! The records indicate that medication produced in 1981-1988 has the following statistics: only 3% (12 drugs) of the medications has greatly contributed to the modern medicine, 13% has had moderate contribution while the rest 84 % has had very little or no contribution at all. 80% of the medication for coughing contains non-productive components and more than 50% contains elements that can cause dangerous side effects.

The same thing applies to vitamins. Researches show that more than 80% of vitamins contains inessential or ineffective compounds and irrational formulas. Besides that about 50% of vitamins is produced with very large portions. As a result of taking wrong medication more than 100000 people die in the US every year. Actually wrong treatment takes 4-6 rows in the list of major death reasons.

Spinach | Source
Grapefruits | Source

Food Interactions with Drugs

What Food-Medication Combinations to Avoid

According to researches there are at least 200 medications the effectiveness of which is influenced by food. For instance Warfarin (also known as Coumadin, Jantoven, Marevan, Lawarin, Waran, and Warfant usually prescribed for preventing thrombosis) and cranberry juice (as well as fresh cranberries or cranberry products) or greens make a dangerous combination. As the main function of Warfarin is to thin the blood and prevent clotting, it deals with vitamin K. Vitamin K is a very essential factor in blood clotting. Warfarin, diminishing the activity of vitamin K, reduces the risk of clotting. So, if you are taking Warfarin, try to avoid the following food that contain large amount of vitamin K and can counteract the effectiveness of Warfarin:

  • spinach
  • collards
  • parsley
  • kale
  • turnip greens
  • Swiss chard
  • mustard greens
  • basil
  • spring onions,
  • broccoli
  • chili powder or any other spice,
  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • paprika
  • curry
  • pickled cucumber
  • prunes
  • cayenne pepper

The effectiveness of Warfarin can be reduced also by taking it along with ice-cream, soy and avocado. Other examples are:

  • Anti-cholesterol medications, known as statins with grapefruit juice
  • Some contraceptives, anti-depressants with St John’s wort
  • Antibiotics prescribed for STIs and dairy products
  • Yogurts and milk cocktails can also have influence on medications
  • Drugs for reducing cholesterol and immunosuppressants mustn’t be taken along with grapefruit juice
  • Sedative drugs and acetaminophen mustn’t be combined with alcohol
  • Oral contraceptive pills, antidepressants and drugs against HIV mustn’t be combined with tutsan


The Most Dangerous Medications

Groups of experts in the field of health care have carried out many researches to find out the most dangerous medications. According to those researches the list of most dangerous medications is lead by drugs against obesity:

  • Drugs containing amphetamine – they are addictive and have bad effect on heart.
  • Drugs containing fenfluramine (also known as Pondimin, Ponderax and Adifax) – they may cause serious heart valve injuries.
  • Drugs containing dexchloramine – they can cause lung diseases.

Some tragic cases have happened in UK while combining medication with cranberry juice, as a result of which people have died. However, patients are usually advised to follow their normal diet while getting medical treatment.


Dangerous Drugs

  1. The anti-cholesterol drug Cerivastatin (Baycol, Lipobay) has caused 52 death and 1100 serious muscle injury cases in the US. Besides that, the drug contributed to kidney function impairment. French Agency for Sanitary Security has recorded 20 cases when human health was seriously endangered by combining Cerivastatin and Gemfibrozil, which are both used to reduce cholesterol in the blood. These two drugs have been used together by 6 million people all over the world.
  2. Acetominophen being one of the most frequently used drugs is also one of the most dangerous. Large portions of Acetominophen can damage the liver and even cause liver failure.
  3. Dexamol-Cold and Acamol (each tablet of which contains 500mg of acetominophen), which are prescribed against fever. Due to containing double portion of acetominophen the prolonged use of these drugs can cause headache and make you addicted to painkillers.
  4. Ibuprofen (also known as Nurofen, Advil and Adex) can have serious side effects. Large portions of Ibuprofen can damage kidneys and even cause kidney failure. The prolonged use of this drug can cause gastrointestinal bleedings.
  5. Dipiperon or Metamizole (also known as Algozone, Algocalmin, Analgin, Dipirona, Novalgin, Neo-Melubrina and Optalgin) which are considered strong analgesics (painkillers), have been banned in some countries for already 30 years or have been restricted to be available only on prescription in others. The reason is that these medications can damage the bone marrow, undermine the production of blood cells, cause lack of leukocytes (white blood cells) causing agranulocytosis and weaken the immune system. Sometimes even little portion of Metamizole can cause spasms and even death.
  6. Analgesic Aspirin, Naproxen and Voltaren can seriously damage the stomach, cause gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcer. Aspirin makes dangerous combinations with many drugs.
  7. Otrivin (nasal spray) and Alarin, which contribute to breathing are addictive and mustn’t be used for more than 5 days, otherwise you may develop chronic flu.
  8. Dexamol Cold, Acamol Tsinun, Dexamol Sinus and Sinufed that contain fake ephedrine narrow the vessels and raise the blood pressure. They are also dangerous for people suffering from diabetes.


Medications for Kids

According to World Health Organization one billion dollars is spent worldwide each year on purchasing non-essential medications against diarrhea, cough and flu in children. The major part of those medications is not useful, while the rest is even dangerous. The problems of children’s organisms are different from those of adults, thus medications for children must be specially chosen. However, it turns out that parents try to treat their kids exactly the way they would treat themselves, only with less portions of drugs. This is a huge mistake and can cause different diseases and even death.

Special attention must be drawn to antipyretic drugs for children (drugs against high temperature in children), such as Acetominophen. The main reason of high temperature or fever in kids is infections and usually there is no need of medical treatment. Fever can be treated with compresses. It is believed that fever is dangerous for health and reducing it seems to be natural. However, researches show that temperature help to overcome the infection, while the use of medication increases the number of deaths. Temperature is the immune reaction of the human organism, while medication that reduces the body temperature is a real danger for life.

The worldwide used Aspirin can be compared with scorpion poison in terms of the damage it can cause to children’s organisms. It is not advised to give it to kids, especially to the very little ones, as the risk of serious complications is high. According to European Commission the influence of 50-90% of medications given to kids is not tested. It means that there has been no special research to check their influence on children organisms.


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    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      It's always :" Take your pill after eating (30 minutes), not in an instance."

      This advisory is to lessen the side effects of drugs you're taking after eating your favorite food.

      Or you can listen to your doctor, not to eat this and that while you're taking your medication.

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      Thank you dear Mmargiem, you comments adds to the topic :)

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      Thank you too dear Marlene. I am glad you found it useful.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Wow! This is the first time I have ever seen cranberry juice on the list. I am constantly amazed at the type of foods that have serious interaction with medications. We think food is safe, but we really need to pay attention to what we put in our mouths. Excellent research. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Excellent research! You did an awesome job on this hub! I take thyroid medication, and cannot mix it with any calcium foods or supplements 4 hours before or 4 hours after I take the medication. Its not dangerous, but makes the medication ineffective. (what an inconvenience...ugh!)

      Anyway, voted up and useful!

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      I am glad that it could be helpful Hubee, thanks for commenting.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Too many people just take drugs blindly, and most doctors turn to prescription drugs as a "quick fix." Hubby takes warfarin, so he mostly has to avoid the foods you listed. Voted up!

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      Hi Ann,

      Well, there is a center of Chinese medicine in Armenia and many people who have stopped believing in Western medicine go for that place and say it is really helpful, my friend even got cure (she had curvy spine) with the help of that Chinese needle therapy (don't remember the name), while the Western medicine gave little or no hope at all and offered surgery...

      As for food combinations, I haven't heard of cherry and milk, but here in Armenia people say that fish and milk shouldn't be eaten on the same day, and many people don't, though I kinda suspect. Other such combinations are melon and honey or melon and vodka. I am sure there will be others too.

      Thank you for stopping by, your comment adds to this hub :)

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Good thing that I don't take vitamins. I kind of suspected that my son's allergy to pollen was triggered by some medications he took when he was a baby.

      I know that Chinese medicine and Western medicine don't go together. If both medicines are needed the same day, then they have to be taken at least three hours apart.

      Sometimes food combination can be dangerous too. My mother-in-low always warned us not to each cherry right before or after drinking milk because they could cause damage to your stomach. I am not sure if that's true, but we do try to avoid that combination. Have you heard of such thing?

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      Thank you guys for support.

    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Interesting and informative hub.

      Everyone should take special care with all medications, learning all about them and how the interact with other meds and foods.


    • gregoriom profile image

      Deninson Mota 5 years ago from East Elmhurst, NY

      @Nare Anthony

      This is very interesting. Though I think that's a very high number of people dying every year for taking the wrong medication. Smh