The Truth About Medication & Intermittent Fasting: Does It Break a Fast?

Does Medication Break a Fast During Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular dieting trend, but one of the important questions that comes to mind when trying this diet is whether or not medication can break a fast. According to the IF guidelines, anything that contains calories can break a fast. However, most medications are calorie-free, so it may seem like they won’t break your fast. The answer is a little more complex than that.

Does Medication Break a Fast?

No, since you can always schedule and align your medication during the eating window, it does not break a fast. More than breaking a fast, some medicines might affect the effectiveness of the fast, depending on the type of medication and the type of fasting you are doing. It’s common for gummy multivitamins to contain small amounts of sugar. Sugar triggers an insulin response, which will break your fast. Take your multivitamins during your eating window.

Does Over-the-Counter Medication Break a Fast?

No, most over-the-counter medicines won’t break your fast. However, make sure not to take them on an empty stomach. Generally speaking, medications don’t “break” a fast — assuming you don’t take them with food. A couple of caveats: Some medications (like cough syrups) may contain sugar. Also, some medications are best taken with food or a snack to avoid stomach upset.

Does Medication Break a Ramadan Fast?

Taking medication is prohibited when fasting during Ramadan. For those who need to take regular medications, a medical provider can help them determine if taking the medication is necessary and if it is safe to do so during the fast. A doctor may also be able to help determine if alternative forms of medication, such as patches, can be used instead.


In conclusion, taking medication does not break an intermittent fasting fast. Most over-the-counter medications are calorie-free, so they don’t break a fast. However, some medications may affect the effectiveness of the fast. During Ramadan, taking medication is prohibited while fasting, so it is best to consult with a doctor or medical provider to determine if taking the medication is necessary and safe.

Will taking medicine disrupt an intermittent fasting regimen?

Based on the intermittent fasting guidelines, consuming anything that contains calories will disrupt the fasting period. Nonetheless, the majority of medications are calorie-free and thus taking them during the fasting window will not disrupt the fast.

Is it possible to consume medication and vitamins while doing intermittent fasting?

It is permissible to take regular vitamin pills and capsules while fasting, since they do not usually affect insulin levels. However, vitamins and supplements sold as gummies, liquids, or chewable tablets often contain sweeteners, which can lead to an insulin response. Therefore, if you are using these, it is best to take them during your eating period.

Is it possible to take medication while abstaining from food?

What disrupts the practice of intermittent fasting?

Consuming anything with calories, including food or beverages, will terminate a fast. However, it is typically acceptable to drink unsweetened black coffee, tea, or water during a fast.

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