How to use Intrepid Pillbox to Avoid Food Before a Dosage

It’s crunch time. You and your team are all working late from home to get this super important proposal done on time. You’ve lost count of how many coffees you’ve had today, now you’re running on soda and popcorn. Finally you’re done, attach draft “FINAL_FINAL_2”, send email, and now it’s time for a bit of sleep before tomorrow’s meeting. Then it dawns on you - you have to take your thyroid medication, but you just wolfed down a whole bag of popcorn, and you can’t take your medication immediately after food. Looks like bedtime will have to wait.

If only you had used Intrepid Pillbox, with some scheduling magic.

This article is a "tips-and-tricks" post on how to get the most out of Intrepid Pillbox, our mobile app that helps active individuals plan and stick to their supplements and medication regimen.

The app includes lots of features designed to help healthy individuals achieve their wellbeing goals, with features like barcode scanning, an intuitive low-friction UI, plus a travel planner. Find out more about Intrepid Pillbox here.

Food-medication interactions

It is very important to account for medication interactions when it comes to planning your supplements and medications schedule. Food-medication interactions can be particularly challenging since these days most people have unpredictable lives and often rely on eating out, snacking, and other lifestyle aspects that are so easy to take for granted. It’s made more complicated because the recommended consumption varies from substance to subtance.

For example, omega 3 absorbs best with a meal that contains at least 44g of fat [1]. That’s why it’s often a good idea to schedule omega 3 supplements with a meal containing some fat - for some people that might be lunch.

While taking omega 3 with a meal has a positive interaction, negative interactions are more common. The specific mechanism of the interaction is a factor, for instance if it’s gastric juice secretion that causes absorption problems, then eating anything is to be avoided (as is the case for thyroxine). In many cases, there is something specific that one has to avoid eating, such as leafy greens or grapefruit juice [2]. The FDA provides a great guide on how to deal with food-medication interactions.

There are man factors at play when it comes to food-medication interactions, and unless you make all your own meals (which let’s face it, is not really practical for many of us), a safe rule of thumb would be that even if you only have to avoid some specific ingredient, it may be best to have a habit of simply avoiding eating anything around the time of your dosage, if you can.

But we know, even that is easier said than done. Maybe we can help.

Use Intrepid Pillbox to plan your medication and vitamins schedule

Intrepid Pillbox is our app to help you plan and stick to your medication and supplements regimen. We’re researching options to help deal with the issue of food-drug interactions, but in the meantime here’s a way to deal with the issue using the app’s existing features. Special thanks to tester Kelly Lo for coming up with this neat trick!

Let’s say you want to take medication X at night and you’re not supposed to eat anything for 2 hours before taking it. You’ve already entered the item details and dosage for medication X, so now, let’s set up your food cutoff reminder.

Step 1

Step 1: Go to the Settings page, and set your Evening quadrant to be 2 hours before your Night quadrant.

Step 2

Step 2: Go back to the Home screen, then press and hold the (+) icon until you see the popup with additional options, and tap on Manual Entry. (did you know these additional options were there?)

Step 3

Step 3: Enter some text for the Item Name, something like “Food Cutoff” or “Stop Eating”. This should be something meaningful so that you can recognise the reminder notification message. The manufacturer name is not important, just enter some text.

Step 4

Step 4: Set the dosage to some value in the Evening quadrant, leaving the others at zero. The precise dosage amount does not matter, the important thing is that there is something in the Evening quadrant and nothing in any of the other quadrants.

All set!

Voila, all done. If you don’t have any other items in your schedule, your daily plan will look something like this. At 8pm you’ll get a reminder to stop eating, and 2 hours later, you’ll get a reminder to take medication X. Of course a mobile app cannot force you not to eat, but what we can do is try to remind you to put away the tin of cookies!

Let us know if this works for you!

Some medication and supplement regimens can be complex, and we’re always trying to make Intrepid Pillbox a useful tool that makes life a little bit easier when it comes to staying on top of your dosage schedule. Some people would prefer a specific features to manage food-medication interactions, but we’re resisting the urge to throw in a “quick-fix” feature with the kitcken sink because that will make the app bloated and inelegant, which will make for a poor experience all round.

If you are need to avoid taking some medication too soon after you ahve taken food, which is often the case with some thyroid medications, heart medications, or osteoporosis medications, then try Intrepid Pillbox with the technique described above.

And if you try it, please do let us know whether or not it worked for you! We always love getting feedback, quetions, and comments from folks who use Intrepid Pillbox, or even anyone just thinking about using it. You can always email us (you’ll find an email link on the page header and footer), or drop us a comment below. Thanks!

References

Here at Intrepid Wellbeing we prefer to source information from high quality, academically rigorous sources. These are the references we used to develop this article:

  1. Lawson LD, Hughes BG. Absorption of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid from fish oil triacylglycerols or fish oil ethyl esters co-ingested with a high-fat meal. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1988 Oct 31;156(2):960-3.
  2. Bushra R, Aslam N, Khan AY. Food-drug interactions.. Oman Med J. 2011 Mar;26(2):77-83. doi: 10.5001/omj.2011.21.