It is important to understand that FOOD usually TRIGGERS certain changes in our body. These changes include increasing the blood supply in the stomach, increasing Bile acid secretion and also reducing the level of acidity in the stomach.
1.) Some medications are taken together with Food (such as FATTY foods) to reduce their SIDE EFFECTS such as stomach irritation, indigestion, stomach burn.
Some medicines can irritate the stomach, and taking them with food will reduce this effect.
Example of such drugs includes NSAIDs, Iron supplements, Opioids, Chemotherapy & Corticosteroids.
2.) Some medications require Foods (such as FATTY FOODS in the stomach and gut for the body to ABSORB them properly, such as the ARVs (Ritonavir, Nelfinavir), ACTs (such as A/L) & Fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E & K).
These require a Lipid solvent (not Water) for better Absorption.
3.) Anti diabetics are usually to be taken around meal times to reduce blood sugar levels after eating & to avoid Hypoglycemia.
4.) Most medications such as Ivermectin & PROTON-PUMP INHIBITORS (Omeprazole) requires an acidic medium for it to act and the ENZYME system (H+/k+ ATpase) responsible for EXCESSIVE ACID secretion can easily be inhibited on an EMPTY stomach.
Hence such medications should be given 30 minutes to 1 hour before meal.
If you missed a dose, you can take it 2 hours after meal.
5.) For drugs that are taken with or without Meal, it’s advisable for patients with history of Ulcer or Elderlies to take their medications with Food or immediately after meal.
Some medications are taken some minutes or hours after meal and aren’t taken together with most medications such as Antacids, some Laxatives.
*Disclaimer* Most Food affects Medications bioavailability & Absorption rate.
For instance, Grape fruits reduce the effectiveness of most drugs (such as Statins).
Dietary foods containing vitamin K such as Leafy Green can counteracts the effects of Anticoagulant (such as Warfarin).
Alcohol takeen with Antihistamines (Piriton) causes drowsiness.
Analgesics such as PARACETAMOL can cause severe LIVER DAMAGE especially when mixed with ALCOHOL.
Alcohol can also cause Stomach bleeding with taken with NSAIDs (Diclofenac, Ibuprofen).
DAIRY PRODUCTS like milk contain calcium which affects certain antibiotics such as tetracycline and Ciprofloxacin.
Some medications works better in an Acidic medium (Empty stomach eg PPIs), some in an Alkaline medium (This requires taking certain drugs with food), some require a fatty medium to enhance better absorption like the fat soluble vitamins WHILE others are taken few hours after meal.
If such medicines are taken inappropriately, it might lead to poor absorption of the drug, low bioavailability (lower amount of the drug in the site of action) and this can lead to treatment failure. In cases where it’s an ANTIBIOTIC, it can easily lead to ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE.
*ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PHARMACIST BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATION*