Taking your pills
Most of the usual oral medicines require you swallow them. So, what is the best way to take your medicine? I’ve seen many people swallowing their pills or tablets with juice, coffee and even wine! I have also seen others using no liquid at all. Let’s see if any of this is a good idea.
The short answer is NO. None of this is the best way to take your medicine!
We already know that a medicine can interact with another one but it is also important to understand that there are many potential interactions between treatments and beverages. Beverages can interfere with the absorption and/or the metabolism of the medicine. This can cause a medication to lose some of its activity or become toxic.
A few examples
MILK: This is mainly an issue when parents put medication in their baby’s milk bottle. When in contact with certain medicines in the stomach, milk can form insoluble complexes that the body will not be able to absorb. This is the case with certain antibiotics, iron salts, etc. Milk can also interfere with some enteric-coated capsules, which are meant to dissolve in the intestines to avoid damage to the stomach. Taking them with milk will make them dissolve in the stomach instead.
TEA: Tannin from tea can precipitate certain medicines into insoluble complexes that the body cannot absorb.
COFFEE: It can either decrease or increase the activity of certain medicines.
FRUIT JUICES (mainly from grapefruit and orange): These can also influence the absorption and metabolism of some medicines.
ALCOHOL: It can increase the activity of a medicine and increase its side effects, therefore increasing its toxicity. On the other hand, some medicines will slow down the degradation of alcohol, allowing its toxic by-products to remain longer in the body. This is what we call the antabuse effect, which triggers hot flashes, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting.
Nothing better than water
In other words, the best way to take your medicine is with a large glass of (non sparkling) water. You need a sufficient amount of water to wash down the pill so it does not get stuck in the lining of the esophagus or the stomach, where it could cause choking or ulceration. You also need enough water to ensure the medicine will dissolve and absorb properly.
Lastly, with food or on an empty stomach?
Some medicines require to be taken with food, some work better on an empty stomach. This is all a question of absorption, interaction with food and side effects (such as potential harm to the stomach’s mucous membrane). You should check with your physician or pharmacist to determine what is the best way to take your medicine, vitamin or supplement. For example, our VISTASAFFRON macular support is best absorbed when taken with a meal. This is because some of its active ingredients are water soluble (they will dissolve quickly in the water provided by water-rich foods) and others are oil soluble (they will dissolve in the fat content of your meal).
At Pharma Phoenix we are also aware of the fact that large pills can be hard to swallow. Also, tablets with a dry surface can get stuck in the throat and cause discomfort. That is why we made sure that our VISTASAFFRON veggie capsules are the smallest possible, smooth and very easy to swallow!