A drug-food interaction happens when the food you eat affects the ingredients in a medicine you are taking so the medicine cannot work the way it should.
Drug-food interactions can happen with both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including antacids, vitamins and iron pills.
Not all medicines are affected by food, but many medicines can be affected by what you eat and when you eat it. For example, taking some medicines at the same time that you eat may interfere with the way your stomach and intestines absorb the medicine. The food may delay or decrease the absorption of the drug. This is why some medicines should be taken on an empty stomach (1 hour before eating or 2 hours after eating).
On the other hand, some medicines are easier to tolerate when taken with food. Ask your doctor or your pharmacist whether it's okay to take your medicine with a snack or a meal or whether it should be taken on an empty stomach.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff