Do I Need to Take Medicine on an Empty Stomach or With Food?

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Have you ever had to take medicine and wondered, “Should I take this on an empty stomach or with food?” This is a common question many people have. The answer depends on the type of medicine.

Some medicines can upset your stomach if you take them without food. Other medicines work better on an empty stomach. Let’s explore when you should take different medicines with food or on an empty stomach.

What is Hyoscine Butylbromide and What Does It Treat?

Hyoscine butylbromide is a type of medicine called an antispasmodic. Antispasmodics help relax muscles in your body. Hyoscine butylbromide helps relax muscles in your stomach and intestines. It is used to treat stomach cramps and spasms.

These spasms can happen with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease. Hyoscine butylbromide is also known by the brand name Buscopan.

So in summary:

  • Hyoscine butylbromide is an antispasmodic medicine
  • It helps relax muscles in the stomach and intestines
  • It is used for stomach cramps and spasms
  • Common brand name is Buscopan

Should You Take Hyoscine Butylbromide on an Empty Stomach or With Food?

The good news is you can take hyoscine butylbromide with or without food. It does not usually upset the stomach when taken either way.

Some tips on taking this medicine:

  • Follow your doctor or pharmacist’s instructions on when to take it.
  • Take it at the same times each day for best results.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember.
  • If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time.

So in most cases, hyoscine butylbromide can be taken with or without food. Always follow your healthcare provider’s specific recommendations. And be sure to take it consistently for optimal relief of stomach cramps and spasms.

Why Does It Matter If You Take Medicine With or Without Food?

Taking medicine with or without food can make a big difference in how the medicine works. Here are some key reasons why it matters:


Some medicines get absorbed better on an empty stomach. This means more of the medicine gets into your bloodstream to work. Other medicines are better absorbed with food. The food helps the medicine move properly through the stomach.

Upset Stomach

Some medicines can irritate the stomach if taken on an empty stomach. This can cause nausea or stomach upset. Taking these with food helps buffer the irritation.


Some medicines need to act quickly and should be taken on an empty stomach. Other medicines work over many hours and aren’t as affected by food.


Food and medicines can interact in the body. Fatty foods may affect absorption of some medicines for example. That’s why timing with food matters.

As you can see, whether you take a medicine with or without food can impact how well and how quickly it works. Work with your doctor or pharmacist to understand the best timing for any new medicine you start taking.

What Types of Medicines Should You Take on an Empty Stomach?

Here are some common types of medicines that doctors often recommend taking on an empty stomach:

Pain relievers

Pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can be absorbed faster on an empty stomach. This helps them ease pain quicker.

Cold and flu medicines

Cough syrup, cold medicines, and antihistamines also act faster on an empty stomach. Getting relief sooner helps you feel better faster.


Some antibiotics like amoxicillin are best absorbed with no food. Follow your doctor’s instructions for getting the most benefit.

Heartburn medicines

Heartburn medicines like antacids work by quickly neutralizing stomach acid. Taking them on an empty stomach allows them to start working immediately.

Cholesterol medicines

Statins like atorvastatin (Lipitor) are better absorbed without food, so doctors often recommend taking them before breakfast.

Always read the label or check with your doctor or pharmacist when starting a new medicine. This ensures you take it in the most effective way.

What Medicines Should You Take With Food?

Here are some common medicines doctors recommend taking with food:

Blood thinners

Blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin) can be taken with or without food. But staying consistent and taking it with food helps keep blood levels stable.

Diabetes medicines

Some diabetes pills like metformin (Glucophage) are easier on the stomach when taken with a meal or snack.

High blood pressure medicines

Lisinopril and other ACE inhibitor blood pressure medicines may cause stomach upset on an empty stomach.


Antidepressants like sertraline (Zoloft) are often taken with food if stomach upset is a side effect.

Birth control pills

Oral contraceptives work best when taken daily with food at the same time.

Thyroid hormones

Levothyroxine (Synthroid) is better absorbed consistently on an empty stomach 30-60 minutes before food.

Arthritis medicines

NSAID arthritis medicines like celecoxib (Celebrex) are sometimes paired with food to reduce irritation.

As you can see, many common medicines have recommendations to take with food or a snack. This helps maximize benefit and minimize side effects.

Tips for Remembering to Take Your Medicines Properly

Taking medicines at the right times can be challenging. Here are some tips to remember:

  • Note on your calendars what times you need to take a medicine. Set reminders on your phone too.
  • Take your medicine at the same time as a daily activity like breakfast or brushing your teeth.
  • If you take it with food, keep snacks handy to take with the medicine.
  • Use pill organizers to prepare daily or weekly doses in advance.
  • Post reminders where you will see them like on the fridge or bathroom mirror.
  • Ask a family member or friend to help remind you if needed.

Staying consistent with medicines is important for treatment success. If you ever have questions about the best way or time to take them, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.

The Bottom Line

Should you take medicine on an empty stomach or with food? The answer depends on the specific medicine. Some work better on an empty stomach for faster absorption. Others need food to prevent stomach upset or aid absorption.

Hyoscine butylbromide like Buscopan can be taken with or without food in most cases. Be sure to follow your doctor or pharmacist’s instructions for any new medicine you start taking.

Using reminders and cues can help you remember the proper way and time to take your medicines. Taking them correctly helps ensure you get the maximum benefits for your health.

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