Question: Seeking Guidance on Medication and Vitamin Absorption with an Ileostomy

I’ve had an ileostomy for a year and am curious about the absorption of certain drugs and vitamins, especially in liquid form. I’m particularly interested in understanding the absorption efficiency of my current vitamins and medications, like Cortef (hydrocortisone) for adrenal insufficiency and Tylenol. Could you provide information on which forms of these substances are best suited for my condition?

Response: Expert Advice on Medication Forms for Optimal Absorption Post-Ileostomy

Your inquiry raises important points about medication absorption in individuals with ileostomies. It’s essential to have a detailed discussion with your pharmacist regarding the best forms of medication and vitamins for your specific needs. The pharmacist’s expertise is invaluable in guiding you towards medications that are available in liquid form and suitable for your condition.

Key Considerations for Ileostomy Patients:

  1. Medication Absorption Challenges: Individuals with fecal stomas like ileostomies may face absorption difficulties due to the alteration or removal of parts of the intestinal tract. This can impact the effectiveness of oral medications.
  2. Specialized Medication Forms: Medications like enteric-coated tablets or time-release products are designed for gradual absorption along the entire intestine. With changes in transit time or bowel structure due to an ileostomy, absorption can be inconsistent.
  3. Consulting Healthcare Professionals: It’s crucial to discuss your medication regimen with your physician, an NSWOC nurse, and your pharmacist. They can provide insights into potential side effects and interactions with your current prescriptions.
  4. Locating an NSWOC Nurse: For additional support and tailored advice, you can find an NSWOC nurse through the Ostomy Canada website. Visit, navigate to the “Support” section, and select “Find a NSWOC” for guidance.
  5. Patient Advocacy: Being proactive and informed about your health care is critical. Establish a strong relationship with your healthcare providers, especially your pharmacist, to ensure you are receiving the best possible care for your specific condition.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay, author and member of Ostomy Canada’s Medical Lifestyle Advisory Committee, underscores the importance of understanding the unique challenges faced by ostomy patients in medication absorption. Her works, including “The Self-Coaching Toolbox” and “Better With A Bag Than In A Bag,” are valuable resources for further reading on living well with an ostomy.

For personalized advice and further information, I encourage you to consult the aforementioned professionals and explore the resources available through Ostomy Canada.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay
Author & Member, Ostomy Canada / Medical Lifestyle Advisory Committee Member – Ostomy Lifestyle Expert
Ostomy Canada


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