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The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a number of guidelines on how to prevent poisonings from drugs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2015). These guidelines can also be utilized in the prevention of food-drug interactions to some extent. For instance, the CDC recommends only taking prescription medications that are prescribed to one, and never sharing or selling one’s prescription drugs. As well, one should always follow all directions that are on the label of the prescription when giving or taking medications.
These guidelines can be used to educate patients concerning the possibility of food-drug interactions, because pharmacies put warnings about possible food and drug interactions on the labels of a prescription bottle. A guideline published by the National Consumers League and the United States Food and Drug Administration indicates that a number of foods and drugs may interact with the severity of consequences ranging from preventing a medication’s function to causing a new side effect (Food and Drug Administration n.d.). Patients can be educated along the following lines. First, various factors can affect how a medication works, from the age, sex, and weight of the patient to other medical conditions that he or she may have. Prescribing physicians or advanced practice nurses should always be told of any vitamins, herbal substances, or other types of dietary supplements that are being taken by a patient, because these can all interact just like a food might with the medication. Second, patients need to know that whether the stomach is empty or full can affect how some medications work as well. Many pharmacies will put information on the label of the prescription if it matters if the drug should be taken with or without food, but patients should be educated to ask the pharmacist or the prescriber if there is any doubt. Finally, all patients should understand that alcohol can change the way that a medication acts in the body, and it can also cause side effects or exacerbate existing side effects. Medications should therefore not be taken with alcohol. By advising patients of these basic guidelines, many food-drug interactions can be avoided.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. “Tips to Prevent Poisonings.” https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/Poisoning/preventiontips.htm.
Food and Drug Administration. “Avoid Food-Drug Interactions.” https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/…/…/UCM229033.pdf.
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