Food and Drug Interactions

The information below is taken from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Avoid Food-Drug Interactions. We've selected topics that may be of interest to college students.

What can affect how my medicines work?

Your age, weight, and sex; medical conditions; the dose of the medicine; other medicines; and vitamins, herbals, and other dietary supplements can affect how your medicines work. Every time you use a medicine, carefully follow the information on the label and the directions provided by your doctor or pharmacist.

Does it matter if I take a medicine on a full or empty stomach?

Yes, with some medicines. Some medicines work faster, slower, better, or worse when you take them on a full or empty stomach. On the other hand, some medicines will upset your stomach, and if there is food in your stomach, that can help reduce the upset. If you don't see directions on your medicine labels, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is best to take your medicines on an empty stomach (one hour before eating, or two hours after eating), with food, or after a meal (full stomach).

Does it matter if I take my medicine with alcohol?

Yes, the way your medicine works can change when:

  1. You swallow your medicine with alcohol
  2. You drink alcohol after you've taken your medicine
  3. You take your medicine after you've had alcohol to drink

Alcohol can also add to the side effects caused by medicines. You should talk to your doctor about any alcohol you use or plan to use.