Tips for Avoiding Interactions

There are ways to avoid placing the body at risk of an unwanted nutrient-drug interaction. The following are tips to remember about taking medications and will help avoid interactions:

  • Be sure to read the label on a prescription medicine and ask a pharmacist or physician if something is not clear.
  • Read all directions, warnings, and any possible side effects printed on all drug labels and information in the package.
  • Always take medications with a full glass of water.
  • A drug may not work correctly if a medicine is taken improperly; do not stir medication into food or take apart capsules (unless told to do so).
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements before or after medicine, as they may interact with certain drugs.
  • Avoid stirring drugs into hot drinks such as coffee because the drug's effectiveness can be destroyed by the hot temperature.
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking any medicine.
  • Always tell a physician and pharmacist about all medicines being taken, including both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. see also Adult Nutrition; Alternative Medicines and Therapies; Nutrients; Nutritional Deficiency.

D. Michelle Swords


Alonso-Aperte, E., and Varela-Moreiras, G. (2000). "Drugs-Nutrient Interactions: A Potential Problem during Adolescence." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 54:S69-S74.

Heimburger, Douglas C., and Weinsier, Roland L. (1997). Handbook of Clinical Nutrition, 3rd edition. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Mahan, L. Kathleen, and Escott-Stump, Sylvia (1996). Krause's Food, Nutrition, and Diet Therapy, 9th edition. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company.

Roe, Daphne A. (1994). "Medications and Nutrition in the Elderly." Primary Care 21:135-147.

Worthington-Roberts, Bonnie S., and Rodwell Williams, Sue (1996). Nutrition throughout the Life Cycle, 3rd edition. Boston: WCB/McGraw-Hill.

Internet Resources

College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State Unviersity. "Facts about Food/Drug Interactions." Available from <>

University of Florida, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Food/Drug and Drug/Nutrient Interactions: What You Should Know about Your Medications." Available from <>

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