May 28, 2020

5 things you didn't know interfered with your heart meds

1. Grapefruit Juice

Should be avoided when taking statins, but should also be avoided when you take certain medications used to control your high blood pressure, specifically amlodipine, felodipine, diltiazem, and verapamil, and others in the calcium channel blocker (CCB) class of medications. 

2. Niacin or Vitamin B3

When taken in high doses (>1g/day) in addition to a statin medication that you may be on for high cholesterol, your risk for developing muscle soreness/tenderness (myalgias) and/or muscle weakness (myopathy) is increased and may even lead to serious muscle damage, and kidney injury if left untreated.

3. Potassium

When patients are on medications used to control their blood pressure, such as lisinopril, benazepril, or valsartan, just to name a few, they are at an increased risk of having too much potassium (hyperkalemia) in their blood. Although this is (or should be, if not) monitored by your doctors with regular bloodwork while you’re on these types of medications, it is just as important to be familiar with the ways you can help yourself at home to prevent putting yourself at an even greater risk of hyperkalemia and potentially dangerous heart rhythms. One way is by avoiding salt substitutes that contain potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride, and other over-the-counter potassium supplements. Foods such as bananas, oranges, and green leafy vegetables are also high in potassium and may further contribute to higher potassium levels if eaten excessively.

4. Black Licorice

Avoid if taking common blood pressure lowering medications, such as atenolol or other beta-blockers as it may decrease their effectiveness, ultimately leaving you with uncontrolled hypertension and the long-term risks associated with it.


The time at which you take your medications, specifically in relation to when you are eating could also have a huge impact on your medications and ultimately, your health. There are countless medications that require you to take them “with food” or “without food”, countless more that require you to separate by a few hours from over-the-counter vitamins containing certain ingredients, and again, countless more that you should take at certain times of the day in order to have the best efficacy from your medications, and also to help set you up for successful adherence to your meds as well. 

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