Take with Food

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Question

What does it mean when a medication says "Take with food"?

Answer

Medication directions to "take with food" simply mean you should not take the medication on an empty stomach. It means you can take the medicine just before, right after, or while you are having a meal. Why? Certain medications can cause an upset stomach if not taken with food. Also, some medications are absorbed better when taken with food.

Common classes of medications that can cause an upset stomach if not taken with food include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), narcotic pain relievers, antibiotics, and birth control pills. You also can have a snack, such as a few crackers with medications that have food requirements.

If you have any questions on the proper way to take a particular medication, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.

Find more information on how to take specific medications in our Drug Information section.

Use our Medication Manager chart to help you keep track as you take your medications.

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