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“NOT TO BE TAKEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH”

Some medication comes with special discharge instructions such as “do not take on an empty stomach.” This simply means the medication should be taken with food. Some other medications come with the contrary directions: to be taken hours before or after meals.

Most of the time, we are not told why we are asked to follow such instructions. Below are some reasons why some medication come with instructions to be taken with or without food.Aspirin: Aspirin is a prototype of NSAID’s. When prescribed, we are asked to take it with food. This is simply because aspirin can irritate the stomach to the point of causing intestinal bleeding. Taking aspirin with food will reduce such incidence.

Some drugs, like chemo meds are known for inducing nausea and vomiting when administered without food. One approach to nausea and vomiting is to simply administer these drugs with food to save the beneficial effects.

Antacids are indicated for coating the stomach to prevent reflux or reduce the amount of acid the stomach make. Heartburn or reflux occurs shortly after food gets into the stomach.  A dose of antacid before, during or immediately after meals will alleviate heartburn or reflux.

Diabetic meds are usually prescribed to be taken around meal time. This is not only to help the body process the medication but also to ease absorption and initiate digestion as the food get absorbed into the system.

There are some oral preparations not meant for the stomach. These medications are prescribed to be taken after meals, so they are not washed down into the stomach. An example of oral preparation is miconazole for oral thrush.

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