Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Medicine and Food:
When they don't mix
What is a drug-food
A drug-food interaction happens when the food
you eat affects the ingredients in a medicine you are taking so the medicine
can't work the way it should.
Drug-food interactions can happen with both
prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including antacids, vitamins and
Are all medicines affected by
Not all medicines are affected by food, but many
medicines can be affected by what you eat and when you eat it. For example,
taking some medicines at the same time that you eat may interfere with the way
your stomach and intestines absorb the medicine. The food may delay or decrease
the absorption of the drug. This is why some medicines should be taken on an
empty stomach (1 hour before eating or 2 hours after eating).
On the other hand, some medicines are easier to
tolerate when taken with food. Ask your doctor or your pharmacist whether it's
OK to take your medicine with a snack or a meal, or whether it should be taken
on an empty stomach.
Facts to remember about drug-food
- Read the prescription label on the container. If
you don't understand something, ask your doctor or pharmacist about it.
- Read all directions, warnings and interaction
precautions printed on medicine labels and packages. Even over-the-counter
medicines can cause problems.
- Take medicine with a full glass of water, unless
your doctor tells you something different.
- Don't stir medicine into your food or take
capsules apart (unless your doctor tells you to) because this may change the way
the drug works.
- Don't take vitamin pills at the same time you
take medicine, because vitamins and minerals can cause problems if taken with
- Don't mix medicine into hot drinks, because the
heat may keep the drug from working.
- Never take medicine with alcoholic