Posted by: Thixia | June 9, 2008

Medications and YOU 7 of 11

Take with food 

 

 

Some medications should be taken with food.  Depending on the medication, there are different reasons for this: 

 

  • the medication is absorbed into the body better if there is food in the stomach (e.g., calcium, nelfinavir, sertraline)
  • the medication can cause stomach upset, and food can help prevent this (e.g., dexamethasone, diclofenac, carbamazepine)
  •  the medication is needed to help the body process the meal (e.g., pancreatic enzymes, lactase)

 

A number of other medications should also be taken with food.  If you are not sure, check with your pharmacist.  If your medication needs to be taken with food, take it with or just after a meal or a large snack.  For some medications, it is enough to take it with a glass of milk.  Check with your pharmacist for instructions specific to the medication you are taking.

 

 

 

Take on an empty stomach

 

 

Some medications should be taken on an empty stomach.  This is usually because food prevents the medication from being fully absorbed into the body.

 

 

 

Medications that should be taken on an empty stomach include:

 

·    ampicillin

·    bisacodyl

·    cloxacillin

·    didanosine

·    etidronate

·    risedronate

·    sotalol

·    sucralfate

·    tetracycline

·    zafirlukast

 

A number of other medications should also be taken on an empty stomach.  If you are not sure, check with your pharmacist.  If your medication needs to be taken on an empty stomach, take it one hour before meals or two hours after food with a full glass of liquid (usually water).  Some medications that should not be taken with food should also not be taken with milk.  Check with the pharmacist to see if this is true for your medication.

 

 

 

Take with plenty of water

 

 

Certain medications need to be taken with plenty of water.  Depending on the medication, there are different reasons for this:

 

  • the medication could cause you to become dehydrated (e.g., lithium)
  •  the medication could damage the kidneys or lead to kidney stones if too much of it reached the kidney at the same time (e.g., cotrimoxazole, indinavir) – water helps to “dilute” the extra medication so that too much medication does not go through the kidneys at once

 

In general, medications should be taken with a full glass of water, unless your doctor or pharmacist recommends otherwise.  If your medication needs to be taken with “plenty of water,” you may need to drink more than a full glass of water with your medication.  This varies with the medication, but can be as much as 1.5 L every day, as is recommended for indinavir.  Check with your pharmacist to see how much water you should have with your medication.

 

It is also important to drink enough water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.  People’s needs will vary, but most people require 6 to 8 glasses a day, and even more if it is hot or when they are physically active.

 

 

 

Do not take with dairy products, antacids, or iron preparations

 

 

Dairy products, antacids, and iron preparations prevent some medications from being properly absorbed into the body.  If the medication is not properly absorbed, it may be less effective. 

 

Medications that are affected this way include:

 

·    certain antibiotics (e.g., tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin)

 

·    certain medications used to treat osteoporosis (e.g., alendronate, etidronate, risedronate)

 

Other medications may also interact with dairy products, iron, and antacids.  Check with your pharmacist to find out whether this is true for your medication.  If so, avoid taking or eating the following items within 2 hours of taking your medication (for some medications, a different timeframe may be recommended – check with your pharmacist):

 

 

Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter):

 

 These products contain large amounts of calcium, which can react with some medications and prevent them from being absorbed into the body. 

 

 

Calcium supplements:

 

 Calcium can be found in multivitamins, over-the-counter medications and prescription medications (e.g., calcium carbonate, calcium gluconate, calcium citrate).  Calcium can react with some medications and prevent them from being absorbed into the body. 

 

 

Iron-containing products:

 

 Iron may be found in multi-vitamins, over-the-counter medications and prescription medications (e.g., ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous fumarate).  Like calcium, it can react with some medications and prevent them from being absorbed into the body. 

 

 

Antacids:

 

 These products usually contain calcium, aluminium, or magnesium.  Any of these can interact with some medications and prevent them from being absorbed into the body. 

 

 

 

May cause drowsiness

 

 

Drowsiness, or feeling abnormally sleepy, is a common side effect of many medications.  Drowsiness can affect your ability to drive, operate machinery, or do other things that require alertness.  It affects some people more than others.

 

 

A variety of different medications can cause drowsiness, including:

 

·    narcotics used to relieve pain (e.g., codeine, morphine)

·    certain antianxiety medications (e.g., diazepam, lorazepam, alprazolam)

·    certain antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, fluvoxamine)

·    certain antihistamines, often found in cold and allergy products (e.g., diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine) – newer antihistamines (e.g., loratadine, fexofenadine) are much less likely to cause drowsiness, but may still make some people drowsy

 

Medications other than those listed above may also cause drowsiness.  If you are not sure, check with your pharmacist.

 

If you are starting a new medication that may cause drowsiness, it is important to avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving, until you find out how the medication affects you.  Alcohol can add to the effects of the medication to make you even drowsier.  People who do not get drowsy when taking the medication alone may find that they become drowsy when taking the combination of the medication and alcohol.

 

 

 

Complementary and alternative medicine

 

 

In a recent Journal of the American Medical Association, St. John’s wort was reported as ineffective in the treatment of severe major depression, according to a randomized controlled clinical trial.  On April 21, Deepak Chopra, former endocrinologist and author of books that have sold more than 10 million copies, packed B.C.  Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada, with people wanting to hear more.  He preaches a philosophy of health, integrating ideas as diverse as Ayurvedic medicine and quantum physics.  His recommendations include herbal or aromatic therapies and even crystals as part of a wide-ranging selection of cures to affect a person’s harmony with the cosmos, and hence, their health.

 

Compliments of:

Med Broadcast Canada

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