Adverse food-drug interactions

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2015 Dec;73(3):859-65. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.10.009. Epub 2015 Oct 19.


Food supplements and herbal products are increasingly popular amongst consumers. This leads to increased risks of interactions between prescribed drugs and these products containing bioactive ingredients. From 1991 up to 2014, 55 cases of suspected adverse drug reactions due to concomitant intake of health-enhancing products and drugs were reported to Lareb, the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre. An overview of these suspected interactions is presented and their potential mechanisms of action are described. Mainly during the metabolism of xenobiotics and due to the pharmacodynamics effects interactions seem to occur, which may result in adverse drug reactions. Where legislation is seen to distinct food and medicine, legislation concerning these different bioactive products is less clear-cut. This can only be resolved by increasing the molecular knowledge on bioactive substances and their potential interactions. Thereby potential interactions can be better understood and prevented on an individual level. By considering the dietary pattern and use of bioactive substances with prescribed medication, both health professionals and consumers will be increasingly aware of interactions and these interactive adverse effects can be prevented.

Keywords: Adverse interactions; Bioactives; European legislation; Food law; Food supplements; Health enhancing products; Medicinal products; Wellness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Biotransformation
  • Consumer Product Safety / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects*
  • Food-Drug Interactions*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Herb-Drug Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects*
  • Policy Making
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Plant Preparations