Taking Medicines

Frequently Asked Questions

16. What are drug interactions?

Drug interactions occur when a medicine interacts chemically with another drug or with certain foods. These interactions change the way your body handles one or both medicines, which can change the safety or effectiveness of either or both drugs.

In some cases, the overall effect of an interaction is greater than desired. For example,

Some foods can also prevent other drugs from working properly. For example,

Even if a product is not called a drug, your body handles it the same way it handles drugs. Some herbal and other substances can interact in potentially dangerous ways with prescription drugs or other over-the-counter products. For example,

Always inform your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you are taking. Ask whether the medications might interact with any foods or other over-the-counter drugs or supplements you may also be taking.