Very important points regarding the taking of medications
Physician's Weekly
November 4, 2022
Very important points regarding the taking of medications

Q: I’m taking paracetamol and baby aspirin, must I take these with food?

It is important to know how your medicines should be taken. By taking your medicine correctly, you can improve its effectiveness as well as minimize many side effects.

Many foods, in particular foods high in pectin (e.g. guavas, plums, citrus fruits, apples), carbohydrates (e.g. bread, pasta, rice, ground provisions), and many types of cruciferous vegetables (e.g. cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, watercress, Brussel sprouts, Chinese cabbage) can interfere with paracetamol’s absorption. So it’s best to take paracetamol or any similar formulation (e.g. Panadol, Tylenol, or acetaminophen), on an empty stomach and with lots of fluids. Paracetamol when taken correctly, is quite an effective pain reliever for mild to moderate pain, including osteoarthritis pain.

Baby aspirin, also known as low-dose aspirin, comes in 79mg and 81 mg dosages. All forms of aspirin, and NSAIDs (e.g. Aleve, diclofenac, ibuprofen, Voltaren, Cataflam, Naprosyn), must be taken with meals. When taken on an empty stomach it may result in an upset stomach and can cause ulcers of the stomach’s lining, and stomach bleeds. Taking low-dose aspirin with food does not dimmish its effectiveness.

Medicines That Should Be Taken On An Empty Stomach:
For maximum absorption the following commonly used medicines should be taken on an empty stomach: amlodipine, ampicillin, azithromycin, bisacodyl, captopril, cloxacillin, ciprofloxacin, iron tablets, levofloxacin, levothyroxine, loratadine, methotrexate, metoclopramide, propranolol, proton pump inhibitors (e.g. omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole), sotalol, sucralfate, sulfonamides (e.g. Bactrim, Septra, etc.), tetracyclines, trimethoprim, Viagra.

Medicines That Should Be Taken With Food: These medicines are best taken with food in order to improve their effectiveness and or to reduce their side effects: allopurinol, amiodarone, Augmentin, bromocriptine, carbamazepine (Tegretol), carvedilol (Coreg), CBD, Daonil, Diamicron, digoxin, erythromycin, glipizide, ketoconazole (e.g. Nizoral), mebendazole, metronidazole (e.g. Flagyl), potassium, prednisone, nifedipine, sodium valproate, spironolactone, Xeralto, zinc.
Please also note:

  • Blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medicines are most effective when taken at night.
  • For the rapid onset of a medicine’s action (e.g. pain relief, Viagra), you should lie on your right side for 30-45 minutes immediately after taking it.
  • Avoid alcohol if taking paracetamol, metronidazole, and SSRI antidepressants.
  • One can become addicted to benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax, diazepam, lorazepam) within 1-2 weeks.
  • Dairy products (e.g. milk, yogurt, or cheese) reduce the absorption of certain antibiotics – Ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and tetracyclines.
  • Avoid grapefruit or its juice if taking amlodipine, nifedipine, simvastatin, and atorvastatin..
  • Patients with liver or kidney disease should ask their doctor if their medication dose needs to be adjusted
  • If taking warfarin avoid spinach, parsley, cabbage, lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cranberry juice, alcohol, green tea, grapefruit juice.
  • Report suspected medication side effects to your doctor.
  • Medicines should be taken exactly as prescribed.
  • Some generic brands are substandard.
  • Keep a list of all current medicines and their respective doses
  • When taking multiple medications it is best to get all your medicines from one pharmacy in order to minimize the chances of drug interactions.

Author: Dr. C. Malcolm Grant – Family Physician, c/o Family Care Clinic, Arnos Vale,,, 1(784)570-9300 (Office), 1(784)455-0376 (WhatsApp)

Disclaimer: The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Dr. C. Malcolm Grant, Family Care Clinic or The Searchlight Newspaper or their associates, respectively, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information provided above.