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Fitness

Meds Not to Mix: Your Guide to Taking OTC Drugs Safely

With all the meds on the market these days, it's tough to keep straight what is safe to take and what isn't unless there's an MD at the end of your name. Here, the way prescriptions, OTC pills, and even food can interact with each other.
Dark Chocolate Chocolate and Antidepressants

Before you curse your sweet tooth, let us explain. Chocolate is typically safe when consumed with a majority of antidepressants. However, there is one classification that can potentially have a bad interaction. Dr. Michael Lowenstein, co-medical director of the Waismann Method, the pioneering treatment for opiate dependency, explains that monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should not interact with large amounts of tyramine, a naturally occurring amino acid found in various foods. "Patients who are taking MAOIs should not consume foods with high levels of tyramine. Chocolate contains a small amount, but even so, patients taking MAOIs (such as Emsam) should be cautious," Lowenstein advises. If a large amount of chocolate is consumed along with MAOIs, there can be varying side-effects, including a sharp rise in blood pressure, increased headache, server nausea, and though rarely, death.

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