Coffee has a variety of health benefits, from both the antioxidant and stimulant ingredients it contains.
However, research has warned against taking it alongside medications, as it can interact with how the drugs function and whether medicine is properly absorbed by the body.
Depending on the drug, the effect may be suppressed or intensified by coffee.
In some cases, such as with dose sensitive drugs, this change could be dangerous.
The study speculates the acidic components of the drink neutralise digestive fluids in the gut, altering the absorption.
Depending on the type, this allows the drug to be taken in by the body at a faster rate or a slower rate.
The stimulant of caffeine on the gut may also cause medications to be excreted instead of absorbed by the body.
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The authors examined the effect of coffee on people consuming paracetamol, and found the drug was active for a much shorter time.
The coffee increased the rate at which the paracetamol was absorbed, resulting in a higher dose that lasted for less time.
While the amount of paracetamol absorbed increased, the study found no evidence that it approached toxic levels.
Part of this effect was because coffee dissolved the paracetamol faster than water or bodily fluids.
The study also highlighted the effect of coffee on the liver, and on medications targeting the liver.
The enzymes used for digesting caffeines are also involved in metabolising a variety of drugs.
This means that the caffeine and drugs are competing for the same enzymes, and that larger amounts of caffeine will slow the speed at which other drugs are processed.
This interaction goes both ways, with the same drugs slowing the speed at which caffeine is used.
The research in how coffee interacts is far from exhaustive.
The study’s authors argue that larger studies will be needed for how coffee alters the effects of commonly prescribed drugs.
They also say: “Pharmacists and clinicians should be aware of the potential risks of drug-coffee interaction and advice patients appropriately.”
This doesn’t mean everybody on a prescription needs to stop drinking coffee, but they should leave a gap in between taking medication and coffee.
The research in how coffee interacts with medication is far from exhaustive.
Some medications might be affected more heavily by the caffeine in coffee such as stimulant drugs, which may be amplified by the stimulant effect of caffeine.
Caffeine can stay in the blood for several hours, so extra care needs to be taken when drinking coffee with stimulants.
If you are concerned about the potential impact of coffee on your medication, be sure to consult a doctor or pharmacist.
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