How much food do my pills need?
January 14, 2008 5:23 AM   Subscribe

My prescribed medication needs to be taken "with or after food". How much food and how long after?

I have been prescribed mefenamic acid for painful periods. The patient leaflet that came with the pills says that I need to take them "with or after food". It also says I need to take them three times a day at eight hour intervals.

Since I don't generally eat my evening meal at midnight, I'm not going to be able to simply take them alongside normal meals. So how much food is enough to satisfy the instructions? A glass of milk? One biscuit? Two?
posted by talitha_kumi to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can take it within 30 minutes of a meal. A glass of milk is good. I normally tell my patients a cup of food, of any kind. Though for NSAIDs, I recommend a glass of milk, or a cup of any dairy product if you've not had a real meal.
posted by magnoliasouth at 5:30 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks magnoliasouth. That's exactly the kind of instructions I need.
posted by talitha_kumi at 5:52 AM on January 14, 2008

If you don't mind a half-derail, is there any notable difference in the needed meal intake of pills that tell you to take them with food? Ie, do steroids like prednisone need more, less, or the same amount/type of food to buffer them that the NSAIDs do?
posted by phearlez at 8:02 AM on January 14, 2008

I've been told by doctors and my own personal experience confirms that the main purpose of the "with food" advice is to reduce heartburn and stomach upset from medications that will react with your stomach acids, particularly if you swallow them dry on an empty stomach. The secondary purpose is to dilute the medication a bit, and slow your body's absorption of it, which is even more the case if the medication is a liquid inside the capsule.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:09 PM on January 14, 2008

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