By the way, doctor: Will a fiber supplement interfere with my medications?

Published: May, 2010

Q. I take a fiber supplement, but have heard that I shouldn't be taking it at the same time as medication. How far apart should I take fiber and medicines such as Plavix and Crestor?

A. Both clopidogrel (Plavix), a drug that helps prevent blood clots, and rosuvastatin (Crestor), which lowers cholesterol, can be taken with meals, even meals that have a lot of fiber. And don't stint on your fiber intake. A high-fiber diet (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) lowers the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

But it's a different story if you're taking a fiber supplement. Fiber goes through the digestive system without getting digested or absorbed. If there's lots of fiber and medication in the intestine at the same time, it's possible that the medication may get swept along with the fiber, so it will be excreted instead of fully absorbed.

So, just to be on the safe side, it might be prudent to take your medications two to three hours before or after your fiber supplement.

— Soheyla Gharib, M.D.
Harvard University Health Services

Photos: Roman Tirapolsky/Dreamstime

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