Written By: Mark Rogers, Pharm. D
There are three main reasons that some medications are recommended to take with food:
1. Reduce Side Effects
One of the most common side effects of many drugs are GI-related, such as nausea, vomiting, indigestion, heartburn, and gas. For medications with these or related side effects, taking them with food can help minimize or eliminate the discomfort. Additionally, for drugs like aspirin that can irritate the stomach lining, food can help reduce the likelihood of developing ulcers.
2. Improve Drug Effectiveness
Some medications are absorbed into the bloodstream better when they are taken with food. If the drug is better absorbed, it will likely be more effective.
3. Help Process Food
Some drugs, such as insulin or pancreatic enzyme supplements, help your body process the meals you eat everyday. With insulin, which reduces blood sugar from meals, the food also helps guard against low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia. Thus, these medications should be taken with food to ensure they work as they were designed.