Which medications should I take with food and which one without?

You may have ask this questions many time whenever you were given a prescription medication by your doctor. Should I take this with food or before food or on empty stomach and so on.

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.

Here is a simple list covering most of common medication class and their association with food:

  • ACE-Inhibitors (Blood pressure medication class), such as ZESTRIL, PRINIVIL, CAPOTEN, VASOTEC
    Take on empty stomach, 1 hour before meals. Take at the same time each day. Eat foods low in sodium and calcium. Limit potassium intake. Do not use salt substitutes.
  • Diuretics (“water pill” for blood pressure and leg swelling), such as LASIX, BUMEX, DEMADEX
    May take with food or milk. Take last dose of the day before 6 P.M. (so that you don’t have to get up at night to go to bathroom)
  • Erythromycins (Antibiotics), such as E-MYCIN, BIAXIN, ZITHROMAX
    Take with food if it upsets your stomach
  • Glipizide (Diabetes Drug class), such as GLUCOTROL, GLUCOTROL-XL
    Take 30 minutes before a meal. Follow your diabetes meal plan. Avoid alcohol. Do not crush Glucotrol-XL tablets
  • Glyburide (Diabetes Drug class), such as DIABETA, MICRONASE
    Take with a meal. Follow your diabetes meal plan. Avoid alcohol.
  • Metformin (Diabetes Drug class), such as GLUCOPHAGE
    Take with a meal. Follow your diabetes meal plan. Avoid alcohol.
    Take with food or milk
  • Quinolones (Antibiotics), such as CIPRO, LEVAQUIN, TEQUIN
    Drink plenty of fluids. Do not take with antacids or iron supplements
  • Statins (For Cholesterol), such as LIPITOR, ZOCOR, MEVACOR
    Take with evening meal. Follow low cholesterol diet
  • Warfarin (Blood thinner), such as COUMADIN
    Avoid alcohol and limit the amount of foods high in vitamin K that you eat such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Do not take aspirin or aspirin products while taking this medication.
  • Bisphosphonates (For Osteoporosis), such as FOSAMAX, ACTONEL, BONIVA
    Must be taken at least one-half hour before the first food, beverage, or medication of the day with plain water only. Patients should not lie down for at least 30 minutes and until after their first food of the day.

Additional Reading:


  1. By Samira Menotti


  2. By Samira Menotti


  3. By Kosher


  4. By JST Books


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