Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

COPD Health Center

Font Size

How COPD Medications Interact With Foods and Nutrients


WebMD Medical Reference from the COPD Foundation

173x68_COPDF_Attribution.jpg

Many individuals with COPD maintain near-normal breathing and an excellent quality of life. They do this by using bronchodilator medicines that relax smooth muscles and open airways. They use anti-inflammatories to reduce the inflammatory response. And they take diuretics that prevent fluid build up.

These medicines are quite effective in improving the symptoms of COPD. However, all of these drugs can increase or decrease your nutritional needs. In addition, the foods you consume can interact with the activity of these medicines and change a drug''s effectiveness.

Some drugs that affect appetite or cause nausea can seriously affect the overall nutritional intake of someone whose food intake may already be compromised. So it is important for you to read the package information. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice. This is particularly important if you are taking any medicines on a long-term basis.

Bronchodilators

Beta-adrenergic: albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin), salmeterol (Serevent): Albuterol and salmetrol can increase potassium losses from the body. This can cause low blood potassium levels. Usually this lasts a short time and may not require supplements. However, including potassium in your diet is a good idea.

Methylxanthines: theophylline (many brands), aminophylline (Phyllocontin), or oxtriphylline (Choledyl): The effects of foods on theophylline and its "chemical relatives" can vary widely. High-fat meals may increase theophylline levels in the body. High-carbohydrate meals may decrease it. The form of the drug (regular or sustained-release) affects the interaction with food as well. To stabilize the effectiveness of the drug, keep your diet constant during the period of time when you are taking it.

Foods that naturally contain caffeine, theophylline or theobromine can emphasize the effects of methylxanthine medicines. Irritability, nervousness and sleeplessness are the most common side effects. Individuals should avoid eating or drinking large amounts of products containing caffeine, and/or theobromine. These include chocolate, soft drinks, coffee or tea. Alcohol consumption also should be limited. This is particularly important if nausea, vomiting, headache and irritability occur.

Sources of caffeine  milligrams
Coffee, drip,7 ounce serving  115-175*
Coffee, espresso, 2 ounce serving100
Coffee, brewed, 7 ounce serving80-135*
Jolt soft-drink, 12 ounce can  71
Tea, iced, 12 ounce serving    70
Instant coffee, 7 ounce serving65-100*
Mountain Dew (regular and diet), Mellow Yellow, Surge, Pepsi One; 12 ounce can51-59
Nestea Earl Grey, 12 ounce serving50
Tea, brewed, 7 ounce serving40-60*
Tab, Shasta Cola, Mr. Pibb, Dr. Pepper, Sunkist Orange; 12 ounce canCanada Dry Cola, Diet Rite, RC Cola, Pepsi-Cola (regular and diet),40-47
Coca-Cola; 12 ounce can        30-37
Snapple Lemon Tea, 12 ounce bottle      35
Tea, instant, 7 ounce serving  30
Nestea, 12 ounce serving26
Coffee, decaffeinated, brewed, 7 ounce serving3-4
7 Up, Sprite, and many others (check ingredient list)0

*The amount of caffeine in coffee and tea varies widely, even if prepared by the same person using the same equipment and ingredients day after day.

Sources of Theobromine  milligrams
Chocolate chips, 1/4 cup207
Dark chocolate, 1.5 ounce bar195
Cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon138
Milk chocolate, 1.5 ounce bar86
Chocolate-flavored syrup, 2 tablespoons69

Today on WebMD

man talking to his doctor
Check your COPD risk.
woman using inhaler
What is the top cause of this condition?
 
chest x-ray
7 early warning signs.
Senior couple stretching
10 exercises for people With COPD.
 
Bronchitis Overview
Article
Senior woman blowing dandelion
ARTICLE
 
Living With Copd
VIDEO
human lung graphic
Article
 
Energy Boosting Foods
Slideshow
lung cancer overview slideshow
Article
 
mature man coughing
Article
Senior couple stretching
Slideshow