Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Broccoli May Interfere with Patient's Blood Thinner

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Broccoli May Interfere with Patient's Blood Thinner

Article excerpt

Q: When I had bypass surgery my doctor prescribed Coumadin to prevent blood clots. But we've had a devil of a time adjusting the dose. Sometimes when I go in for testing my blood is too thin and I bleed a long time. Other times, the drug doesn't seem to work well enough and they want to increase the dose.

My pharmacist said something weird about broccoli affecting Coumadin. I love broccoli and a lot of other vegetables. How can these foods interfere with Coumadin and which ones should I watch out for?

A: Coumadin works by blocking vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clot formation. Foods high in this nutrient - asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, liver and spinach - can reverse effectiveness and play havoc with prothrombin tests.

You don't have to give up your favorite vegetables, however. Maintaining a relatively constant intake should allow your doctor to adjust the dose of Coumadin accordingly.

We are sending you our brochure on Food and Drug Interactions, which describes foods that affect drugs like Coumadin. It also tells which medications should be taken with food and which on an empty stomach. Anyone else who would like a copy, please send $2 with a long (No. 10) stamped, self-addressed envelope to Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. F-425, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, N.C. 27717.

A surprising number of medicines (Seldane, Lanoxin, Procardia, Dyazide, Lasix, etc.) can interact with common foods or beverages. We urge you to get all the information you can about taking your medicine properly from your doctor and your pharmacist.

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Q: I have heard there is a new hair-restoring drug being tested that is significantly better than minoxidil. What is this drug and when can we expect it on the market?

A: We suspect you are referring to Proscar (finasteride). Tests are under way to determine if this oral medicine, used to shrink the prostate, can do anything for male pattern baldness. …

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