Lifestyle Changes & Your Rx - Ask the Pharmacist

Feb 26, 2013
As part of the new year, are you exercising and dieting more? If so, be mindful of how these healthy lifestyle changes may affect your medication therapies.

Did you make a resolution to begin a new diet or exercise program back in January? If so, congratulations. Research from the University of Scranton and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychologyshows that people who make a resolution are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. If you have made it this far, you are part of the 64% who stick with their resolution for one month, and are well on your way to being one of the 46% who are going strong after six months.

Improving your diet and fitness are important lifestyle changes that can pay huge health dividends. But if you take medication for a chronic condition, such as heart disease, diabetes or depression, speak with your doctor first to make sure your new diet or fitness program is safe for you.

Effects of Diet on Medication

There are so many diets out there all claiming to help you lose weight fast. While some of these diets can help jump-start weight loss, a diet that excludes certain foods or focuses only on one food group is not a sustainable solution and could interfere with the medications you use. For example, grapefruit or grapefruit juice can cause severe interactions with several medications, including some cholesterol, blood pressure and antidepressant medications. You need to take caution before adding it your diet or consuming large quantities.

Also, dark leafy greens are great for your immune and digestive systems, and are a rich source of vitamins – particularly, vitamin K. However, too much vitamin K can interfere with blood thinning medications, such as Coumadin® (warfarin sodium), so patients using this type of medication may want to avoid changing the amount of leafy greens (adding or deleting) in their daily diet.

Instead of starting a “diet,” consider making lasting, healthy changes to your nutrition. Reduce portion sizes and limit high-calorie, high-sugar and high-fat foods. Eat well-balanced meals following the USDA’s recommendations for fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein. And if you are a diabetic, consider meeting with a nutritionist who can teach you about your unique dietary needs.

Effects of Fitness on Medication

Ever wonder why your physician makes you step on the scale before each visit? It’s not to embarrass you. Doctors need to know your weight so they can prescribe the proper dose of medication. Therefore, it’s important to inform your doctor and your pharmacist of any significant weight fluctuations since you last filled your prescription.

And if you started a new fitness program or joined a gym, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about your new workout to make sure it's not too strenuous.

The best way to stay on track with healthy lifestyle changes is to plan for success, and a quick phone call to your doctor or pharmacist can give you important information about changing your diet or starting a fitness routine. Those few minutes can help prevent obstacles to reaching your health goals and keep you on the right path to a lasting healthy lifestyle.

comments powered by Disqus