February 15, 2019

WRITTEN BY:  Maria Imran Ali (Punjab University College of Pharmacy)



  1. Take with food
  2. Take on an empty stomach
  3. Do not take with dairy
  4. May cause Drowsiness
  5. Take with plenty of water

Take With Food:-

Some medicines should be taken with food and there are following reasons to be considered:-

  • The medication is absorbed into the body better if there is food in the stomach ( e.g., calcium carbonate, nelfinavir)
  • The medication can cause stomach upset, and food can help prevent this (e.g. dexamethasone)

  • The medication is needed to help process the meal (e.g. pancreatic enzymes)

Note: A number of other medications should also be taken with food. Pharmacists are the primary instructor to educate a person in taking medicine with food.

Take on an Empty Stomach:-

Some medications should be taken on an empty stomach. This is probably because food prevents the medications from being fully absorbed into the body. If your medication needs to be taken on an empty stomach, take it one hour before meals or two hours after taking food with a full glass of liquid usually water.

NOTE: Some medications that are not recommended to be taken with food, should also not to be taken with milk.


Dairy Products are not Recommended:-

Dairy products, antacids, and iron preparations prevent some medications from being properly absorbed into the body. If medication is not properly absorbed, it may be less effective. Medications that are affected this way include:-

  • certain ANTIBIOTICS ( tetracycline, ciprofloxacin)



  • certain medications used to treat osteoporosis (etidronate, risedronate)

Dairy products, antacids, and iron preparations include:

  • Dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk); these products include a large amount of calcium, which can react with some medications and prevent them from being absorbed into the body.

  • Calcium Supplements can be found in multi-vitamins, OTC and prescription medications. Calcium can react with some medications and prevent them from being absorbed into the body.


NOTE: Other medications may also interact with dairy products, iron, and antacids. Asking your health care provider may minimize the drug-food interaction risks.


Plenty of Water is recommended:-

Depending on the medications, there are the following reasons:-

  • The medication could cause you to become dehydrated. (e.g., lithium)
  • The medications could damage the kidneys or lead to kidney stones if too much of it reached the kidney at the same time (e.g., indinavir). Water basically helps to dilute the medication so that too much medication does not go through the kidneys at once.

NOTE: In general all medications should be taken with a full glass of water unless your doctor or pharmacist recommends otherwise. If your medication needs to be taken with plenty of water, you may need to drink more than a full glass of water with your medication. This varies with medication but can be as much as 1.5L every day, as is recommended for indinavir.

Concluding Remarks:-

The most important thing to be considered is “Ask a Pharmacist”. The administration of the drug depends on its formulation as well as its interactions. Moreover, water should be considered the first choice of liquid because of its simple composition.