Q. When the prescription label says take before meals, what does that mean?

A. Such instructions are meaningless. You need to know if your medicine works best when taken on an empty stomach (at least an hour before eating or two hours after a meal) or with food. Ask your prescriber or pharmacist to provide detailed instructions for this specific drug.

We offer these critical details for some popular drugs in our Guide to Drug and Food Interactions.


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  1. sophie

    Is there be any side effects of taking Saridon (headache)/paracetamol medicine after
    eating rice? Reply plz

  2. Mary

    I would rather check out People’s Pharmacy book re naturally reducing cholesterol than take ANY statin drug. There are more natural ways that may work for most of us.
    Please do some research both here and others online to find out if a statin is really a good option for you.

  3. pp

    The new area of Chronotherapy research finds that there are some significant reasons to take medications at a particular time: for instance, BP meds for people over 50 should be taken in the evening for best effect. Google your med with Chronotherapy to see what advice you can get.

  4. MR

    My pravastatin pills have come from a variety of manufacturers; some say take at bedtime, some say nothing.
    I took the first batch in the morning and it had NO effect on my blood lipid levels. My physician was ready to double the dose, but I learned about the missing instructions, had my levels retested after a month, no increased dose needed. But timing was crucial.

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