What You Should Know About Food and Drug Interactions

Man Buying MedicineWhen you buy your prescription drugs, you might see a notice stating either “Take with Food” or “Take on an Empty Stomach”. You might also see the same warnings on certain over-the-counter medications and compound medications. Majority of people know that certain drugs could interact with other drugs, but some might not be aware that food could likewise interact with certain drugs. It’s imperative that you understand this issue to ensure that your medications would work as intended.

How Food Interacts with Medicines

When you ingest a medicine, it will go directly into your stomach, ready for your body to absorb it. But you can’t take certain medicines with food since food could reduce or delay or postpone the amount of medicine that your body could absorb, explains a licensed a pharmacist from a top pharmacy in Texas. This applies to compound drug formulations, prescription medications, and non-prescription medications, he adds. Likewise, certain medications like the ones below should be taken without food or on an empty stomach for maximum effect:

  • Proton pump inhibitors used for treating stomach issues
  • Medicines used for treating bone loss
  • Thyroid replacement drugs

On the other hand, other medicines need to be ingested with food or on a full stomach to reduce potential side effects or to work more efficiently. For example, one of the most common side effects of NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is stomach issues, so you need to take these with some food in your stomach to avoid an upset stomach. Furthermore, some medicines only interact with specific foods, such as grapefruit, and those containing vitamin k, tyramine, and calcium, since these could change how the medications work.

How to Tell If Food Would Impact Your Medicines?

Always check for those stickers on your medicine bottles, the Drug Facts portion on OTC drugs, and the patient information leaflet. These contain specific information of potential food interactions, as well as interactions with other drugs. And if you still not sure, check with your doctor or your pharmacist.