Why can't we take medication with food?

Medication - Before Meal?

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According to statistics, at least one in five patients does not take their medication as recommended on the package insert or as prescribed by the doctor. The time of ingestion can also be decisive for the effectiveness of a drug. If a medicine is taken incorrectly, it may not work well or at all.

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You should absolutely observe the following information:

Take medication with sufficient water

Tablets, capsules or dragees work best when swallowed with enough water. Sufficient means at least one glass of water.
If you take your tablets with water, you can't go wrong. The situation is different with milk, liquids containing caffeine and tannins (coffee, cola drinks, black, green or mate tea). They can increase or weaken the effect of a drug. The same applies to fruit juices or alcoholic beverages.

Before, after or for dinner? Medication at the right time

A glass of wine on an empty stomach or with a meal: the effects are different. It's the same with medication - whether you take a medication before, after, or with meals is crucial. Follow the recommendation in the package insert or the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist. Some active ingredients can irritate the digestive tract if taken on an empty stomach. They should be given with meals so that the stomach is not unnecessarily burdened. Functional relationships must also be taken into account: For example, enzyme preparations must be taken with meals because they are supposed to help digestion.

Other drugs that are supposed to work quickly are recommended to be taken on an empty stomach. The amount absorbed by the body can also be increased for some active substances by taking the medicine before a meal. The information "before meals" in the package insert means that the medicine should be taken about half an hour to an hour before the meal.

There is some confusion about the use of the expression “after a meal”: It means “relatively shortly after the end of a meal” when the full stomach is supposed to protect the mucous membrane against an aggressive agent. The term is also used in the sense of “about two hours after a meal”. This is correct if certain foods could interfere with the absorption of active substances (for example dairy products affect some antibiotics).

MedicationForgot to take, now what?


The recommended intake times for medication should be taken seriously. In everyday life, however, it occasionally happens that a dose is forgotten. How should one proceed now? That depends on what kind of medication it is: With painkillers, it may be that the effect is too low, so that the pain relief is not sufficient. Beyond that, however, there is no fundamental problem. A forgotten dose should not be compensated by taking a double dose the next time, as this could lead to an overdose.

With other drugs - for example antibiotics, anti-epileptics, birth control pills and asthma drugs - there is a risk that the blood level of the active ingredient in question could become so low that this could have immediate negative consequences for the patient. In such cases, ask your doctor or pharmacist how to continue taking it.
  • Author: vitanet.de; medical quality assurance: Cornelia Sauter, doctor.
  • Swell: Krauss, Jürgen / Müller, Petra / Unterreitmeier, Doris: Taking medicine for the smock pocket
  • Krauss, Jürgen / Unterreitmeier, Doris / Renz, Manfred: Medicinal application for the smock pocket

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