Is it Safe to Drink Green Tea with Prescription Medications?

Green tea is usually made from a plant known as Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia. The dried leaves and leaf buds of this plant is used to produce different kinds of teas. Green tea is usually prepared by steaming and pan-frying the leaves followed by drying them. Green tea has various advantages for health like weight loss, stomach problems, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, headaches, the antioxidants prevents the onset of cancer, heart disease, blood pressure related issues, and many more. Although, green tea is only known for its tremendous benefits, it might also cause side effects if not taken properly.

Is it Safe to Drink Green Tea with Prescription Medications?

Is it Safe to Drink Green Tea with Prescription Medications?

Green tea is a healthy beverage; hence, you might be shocked if your doctor asks you not to have it before a surgery or when you take certain medication. Certain compounds present in green tea interact with prescription medications or increase the activity of various prescription drugs. Even the prescription drugs can increase the effects of caffeine in your body after you have green tea. It is thus, best to ask your doctor if it is safe to have green tea along with your prescription medications.

Green Tea Should Be Avoided With Which Prescription Medications?

It is very essential to avoid taking green tea when taking the following group of drugs or at least ask your doctor if you can have green tea:

  • Sedatives and Antidepressants: The caffeine present in green tea interferes with the action of benzodiazepines, a group of drug that is used for treating anxiety related disorders. This means a reduced effectiveness of the drug in controlling nervousness, anxiety, insomnia and other associated symptoms. It can also reduce the effectiveness of the lithium which is usually used to treat bipolar disorder. In addition to this, according to University of Maryland Medical Centre, use of green tea along with a group of antidepressant called MAOI can lead to dangerous consequences like increased blood pressure. Hence, when you are on any psychiatric drug, it is best to check with your healthcare provider if having green tea would be safe for you or not.
  • Blood Thinner Drugs: The blood thinning drugs contains warfarin which promotes thinning of blood. However, green tea is known to contain Vitamin K which promotes blood clotting. Hence, these are two contradictory elements and one must check with the doctor if taking green tea along with blood thinning medication would give them the same result as with not taking it. It must be checked if it would be safe enough to have green tea along with blood thinning drugs.
  • Cancer Medicines: Green tea has very high antioxidant properties. Debates exists over the use of green tea while on chemotherapy as some findings suggests that the antioxidants can hinder or reduce the effectiveness in killing the malignant cells. A study found that green tea triggered the growth of a certain gene which made the prostate cancer cells less sensitive to the chemotherapy drugs; however, the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs was enhanced when green tea usage was present. It was also found that green tea interacts negatively when with tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer. This indicates that the side effect of green tea when used along with chemotherapy drugs is actually subjective to the drugs and the type of cancer and thus, one must check with their doctor if green tea usage would be safe for them.
  • Other Medicines: Other medicines which might interact with green tea are adenosine, iron and folic acid medicines, atropine, clozapine, irinotecan, ephedrine, verapamil, albuterol, terbutaline, metaproterenol, isoproterenol, phenylpropanolamine and birth control pills.

Moreover, the liver produces various enzymes which helps in processing of the drugs you take. In this regard, it is also seen that green tea can interfere with P450 3A4 enzyme and can trigger potentially negative effects like drugs building up in the body, drug toxicity etc.

Conclusion

Although, green tea has various health benefits in weight management, blood pressure and blood sugar regulation etc., it is a must that if you are on any prescription medication you must ask your doctor if having green tea would be safe. It must also be checked if intake of green tea along with prescription medications can increase or decrease the effectiveness of the drug or cause serious health concerns.

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