For a treatment to be effective it has to be the right patient receiving the right drug at the right time at the right dose and through the right route. Today, we will be looking at the some common instructions that go along with drug administration .
Take morning, afternoon and evening
This might be one of the most confusing instructions to the majority. Morning spans till about 11:59am, so can I take my meds at 11:50am and the next dose at 12:10pm?
Most drugs meant to be taken several times in a day have a spacing of about 4-12hours between doses. Doses taken too close to each other usually puts too much of the drug in the body at a particular time (increasing its side effects).
Over spacing (taking too long between doses) could render it ineffective due to too little amount of drug in the body.
- Ask doctor/pharmacist what he really means by morning, afternoon and evening.
- Take drug same time daily e.g 8am, 2pm, 8pm
Take as needed
Contrary to the first, this second one comes with a more flexible approach. Some medications that follow this pattern are painkillers, sore throat lozenges etc.
Note however there is usually a daily limit, make sure to check on the prescription notice.
Take with food
Some medications could cause stomach upset e.g. some anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, diclofenac, and so need to be taken with food. The absorption of some drugs are better with fatty foods for example.
Take on an empty stomach
The presence of food may alter the absorption of some drugs and so best be taken on an empty stomach.
Do not consume alcohol
This is where many patients have a hard time, especially in a festive season. Alcohol could enhance the side effect (drowsiness, dizziness) of certain drugs increasing the risk of accidents.
Read more: Can I take my medication with alcohol?
Limit sun exposure
Some antibiotics like bactrim interact with sunlight. This however does not mean you should stay secluded. Ask doctor/pharmacist to give clarifications.
Chew/Do not chew
If told to chew a drug, do not swallow it, it was designed to be chewed and most at times to have a local effect.
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About the author
Dr. Ekwoge Hilda is a trained pharmacist from Cameroon and Co-founder of HILPharma. When she is not busy creating content, she slings pills to pay the bills.