Why Your Medicine Comes With Terms and Conditions

Have you ever wondered why your doctor or pharmacist asks that you take a certain medicine “after a meal” or “drink a lot” while taking other medicines?

One doctor, who previously worked at Kalen clinic in Makindye, says when he told patients with poor appetites to take certain medicines after a meal, they would try to wriggle out of it.

“They would ask whether eating a snack wasn’t sufficient,” the doctor says.

Some, however, were excited about being told to take their Coartem with milk.

“Those were the poorer ones. The only time, I think, they got to take milk was when we [doctors] recommended it,” the doctors says.

Neither category of people, the doctor says, asked why the doctor was insistent that they drink milk, drink a lot of water or took food with their medicine. Yet it is important to know why certain medicines are recommended to be taken a particular way.

Taking medicine as instructed helps its absorption, giving the desired results.

Eating before taking medicine:

Gathii Kariuki, a pharmacist with Westend pharmacy, says medicines that require to be taken on a full stomach or after a meal could irritate the stomach should they be taken on an empty stomach, or require food to be absorbed.

“Food lines the stomach, protecting it from irritation. Some medicine is also best absorbed when it is taken after a meal,” Kariuki says.

He lists medicines such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as some of those that can irritate the stomach and aises that a “full [balanced] meal, and not a snack” be taken before taking these medicines.

Anti-malarials and fats:

Anti-malarials are fat-soluble, making their absorption easier if they are taken with fats, one pharmacist says. You are highly likely to maximise their effect by taking them with milk, groundnuts or other fatty foods, therefore.

Interestingly, Kariuki says yoghurt might hinder the proper absorption of some medicines. You should ask your doctor, pharmacist or dispenser what food is best with what medicine, if any.

Drink a lot of water:

Some medicines come with the aice to “drink a lot” and Kariuki says the purpose of this is to “aid the distribution of the medicine throughout the body and to eliminate remnants of the medicine from the kidney.”

“Some of the medicine that is broken down in the kidneys could result in conditions such as kidney stones if it is not flushed out. Drinking a lot enables one to urinate and flush it out,” Kariuki says.

Septrin, ciprofloxacin and amoxicillin are some of the medicines that should be taken with a lot of water. Your doctor, pharmacist or dispenser will guide you on other medicines requiring to be flushed out of the body through drinking a lot of water.

Empty stomach:

Medicine required to be taken on an empty stomach, or between meals might be too heavy to be absorbed when taken alongside food. It might also need an alkalinic PH to be properly absorbed.

Source : The Observer


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