Impact of Food on Effectiveness of a Drug

A medication has ingredients, just as food does, that allow it to function correctly when taken in order to help the body in some way. A food may interfere with the effectiveness of a drug if the food interacts with the ingredients in the medication, preventing the drug from working properly. Nutrients in food may either delay absorption into the body or speed up elimination from the body, either or which can impact a drug's effectiveness. For example, the acidic ingredients in fruit juices are capable of decreasing the power of antibiotics such as penicillin. Tetracycline, another infection-fighting drug, is impacted by the consumption of dairy products. Many medications that are taken to fight depression can be dangerous if mixed with beverages or foods that consist of tyramine, which is found in items such as beer, red wine, and some cheeses.

Food can also impact the effectiveness of a drug due to the way it is consumed. Generally, medicine is to be taken at the same time food is eaten. This is because the medicine may upset the stomach if the stomach is empty. However, sometimes taking a drug at the same time that food is eaten can interfere with the way the medicine is absorbed by the body.

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