Why certain drugs need to be taken on a full or empty stomach

    (KOMO file photo)

    Prescription drugs labels often have instructions to "take with food" or "take on an empty stomach."

    Some drugs are better absorbed when there's nothing in your stomach.

    "Generally speaking, for most people, on an empty stomach means at least an hour before eating or two hours afterwards,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, head of the editorial board of Health After 50.

    On the other hand, some drugs are better absorbed and better tolerated when taken with food. That can reduce the chance of stomach upset.

    "It seems to protect the stomach,” Swartzberg said. “For example, a lot of the NSAIDs, the anti-inflammatory drugs that people use for pain, can be really hard on the stomach. And if there's food there at the time you take them, that's going to protect the stomach somewhat."

    So what's the time on that? You could take the medication and then eat right afterwards, or take the medication after you’re eaten. It really doesn’t matter.

    “You just want to make sure there's food in your stomach when the medicine there,” Swartzberg said.

    More Info: 'Take with Food' Labels on Drugs

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