Interactions of medicines and foodstuffs

Anyone who has to take a variety of medicines should be aware of possible negative interactions between these substances. But did you know that your morning coffee or yoghurt can also lead to unpleasant side effects?

«Are you taking any other medicines?» Probably everyone who has been prescribed a medicine by the doctor will have been asked this question. The reason for this lies in the possible interactions that can occur between certain medicines. In these cases, the different active ingredients may compromise each other in their mechanism of action and, in extreme cases, may even have life-threatening consequences. But what many people do not know is that common foodstuffs can also result in adverse effects.

You should therefore make absolutely sure you avoid the following combinations:

  • Sleeping pills & grapefruit: the citrus fruit can lead to dangerous increases in the soporific effect of the pills and result in delirious states.
  • Antihypertensives & grapefruit: the use of grapefruit products in combination with antihypertensive medicines cause sharp falls in blood pressure and dizziness.
  • Analgesics & muesli: high-fibre foods can substantially delay the absorption and thus the effect of pain-killers.
  • Antibiotics & dairy products: the calcium contained in dairy products prevents the medicine from exerting its effect. Antibiotics should therefore ideally be taken with water.
  • Anticoagulants & broccoli: the vitamin K contained in broccoli and other vegetables, such as spinach, carrots and mushrooms, abolishes the effect of anticoagulants. In the worst case, this can lead to thrombosis or a stroke.
  • Asthma medicines (e.g. theophylline) & coffee: caffeine can lead to uncontrolled increases in the effect of the medicines, which can result in unpleasant side effects, such as a rapid heartbeat.

As a basic principle, if a medicine does not explicitly have to be taken during a meal, there should be an interval of one hour between taking a tablet and partaking of a meal. During this interval, you should also avoid the consumption of beverages containing caffeine or sugar, as well as milk.


Questions about your medication?

In the Medicine Directory mymedi® you will find lots of useful information about your medicines. You will learn, for example, how much money you can save with a generic.


In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.