Understanding and following your prescription drugs is so much simpler if you already know the rationale behind the directions.

Why do you have to take one treatment whereas consuming and one other on an empty abdomen? Why does one prescription say, “Take 3 occasions a day,” whereas one other says, “Take each 8 hours?” And why did the pharmacist let you know to not use a teaspoon out of your cutlery drawer to measure out your baby’s antibiotics?

Learn on to study extra in regards to the hows and whys of prescribed drugs.


With meals or with out meals?

“Take with meals” is a standard prescription instruction. Ask your pharmacist what kind of meals you want in your particular treatment. In some circumstances, you possibly can take the treatment with a glass of milk and a cookie, whereas others want a full meal.

Causes to take with meals embrace:

  • The drug could also be exhausting on the abdomen, inflicting nausea or abdomen upset.
  • The drug wants meals to maneuver the treatment farther into your digestive system earlier than your physique begins to interrupt it down.
  • The drug is used to assist with digestion, similar to lactase for people who find themselves lactose illiberal.
  • The drug is absorbed higher with meals.

Be careful for sure meals although. Your prescription could include a warning to not take the drug with grapefruit juice or dairy merchandise. Dairy can cease the absorption of particular drugs, such because the antibiotic tetracycline or drugs that deal with osteoporosis. For those who get pleasure from dairy merchandise, test together with your pharmacist in case you can have them one other time in the course of the day.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can unexpectedly strengthen the impact of some cholesterol-lowering and blood strain drugs, probably growing the chance of negative effects.

Alcohol is one other substance that you could be be warned to not use whereas taking sure drugs. The medication could make the alcohol’s impact worse, or the alcohol could have an effect on how nicely the drug works. For those who look ahead to an occasional drink, ask your pharmacist if that is allowed.

And on the other finish of the spectrum, “Take 1 hour earlier than meals or 2 hours after” is one other widespread treatment label. Some drugs received’t be absorbed correctly if there’s meals in your abdomen, and one hour earlier than meals or two hours after is often the very best time. Ask your pharmacist if there’s any leeway (some medication solely want half-hour, for instance), in case you suppose this timing might be troublesome.

Measuring your treatment

A teaspoon is a teaspoon, proper? So can you employ a teaspoon out of your cutlery drawer? No, you shouldn’t. Family spoons – even for baking – aren’t correct sufficient for drugs. Use a drugs cup, syringe or particular treatment spoon from the pharmacy to measure out an correct dose.

Treatment timing

Now that you understand how a lot of the treatment to take and the way it’s best to take it, it’s a must to work out if you’ll take it.

Your prescription could say as soon as a day, twice a day, 3 times a day or 4 occasions a day. Imagine it or not, this isn’t the identical as prescriptions that say as soon as each 24, 12, 8 or 6 hours.

In case your prescription says take the treatment each 6 hours, this exact timing ensures the drug ranges keep constant in your physique all day, day by day. However not all drugs are that particular, and your physician could write to take the treatment 4 occasions a day. On this case, you continue to ought to unfold out the doses as evenly as potential all through the day, however you have got a little bit of leeway, which implies you possibly can sleep in a bit later or go to mattress a bit earlier if you need.

Your pharmacist is your ally relating to treatment security. You probably have any questions on your prescriptions, don’t hesitate to ask.

This data was gathered from the e-book: Just the Right Dose: Your Smart Guide to Prescription Drugs & How to Take Them Safely, by Marijke Vroomen Durning, RN.