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Drug-Food Interactions

Cancer patients may be treated with a number of drugs. Taking certain foods and drugs together may decrease or change how well the drugs work or cause life-threatening side effects. The following table lists some of the food and drug interactions that may occur with certain anticancer drugs:

Drug-Food Interactions

 

Brand Name 

Generic Name 

Food Interactions 

Targretin

Bexarotene

Grapefruit juice may increase the drug's effects.

Folex

Methotrexate

Alcohol may cause liver damage.

Rheumatrex

Mithracin

Plicamycin

Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may decrease the drug's effect.

Matulane

Procarbazine

Alcohol may cause headache, trouble breathing, flushed skin, nausea, or vomiting, caffeine may raise blood pressure.

Temodar

Temozolomide

Food may slow or decrease the drug's effect.

 

Taking some herbal supplements with certain foods and drugs may change how well cancer treatment works or cause life-threatening side effects. Talk with your doctor about how herbal supplements may affect your cancer treatment. Most herbs and dietary supplements have not been studied together with chemotherapy drugs and their interactions remain unclear. Many oncologists advise their patients to avoid these products during chemotherapy. Herbs can interact with chemotherapy drugs through different mechanisms. Some herbs can interfere with the metabolism of the drugs, making them less effective. Other herbs may potentiate the adverse effects, such as bleeding, of chemotherapy drugs.