Green Tea and Medical Interaction

Why you must be aware of the green tea and medical interaction effect.



When I grew up in the Far East, I was always told to avoid drinking tea when taking medication.

This is because tea interferes with the absorption and activity of medications such as those listed below:

  • Acetaminophen with Codeine
  • Adenosine
  • Atropine
  • Antibiotics
  • Cardec DM®
  • Codeine
  • Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine
  • Lomotil®/Lonox®
  • Theophylline/Aminophylline
  • Warfarin
  • Anti-psychotics
  • Beta blockers
  • Blood thinners
  • MAOIs
  • Sedatives
  • Some cough, cold, and weight loss products

Green tea may contain vitamin K, which, when used in large quantities, can reduce the blood thinning effects of warfarin (Coumadin®), a phenomenon that has been reported in a human case.

Based on preliminary data, green tea may lower LDL cholesterol, and thus may theoretically interact with other cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Green tea also contains caffeine that can interact with certain drugs, heightening their effects to dangerous levels. These drugs include:

  • Aminophylline
  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Theophylline

As a safety precaution, avoid drinking tea for at least 2 hours after taking medications.

If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter supplement, you should consult with a doctor before drinking green tea.

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References

Medline Plus: Green Tea (Camellia sinensis). http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/print/druginfo/natural/patient-green_tea.html.

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