Correct use of medicines

Appropriate use of medicine

There are many things to consider when using medicines. There are many ways you can help to ensure that that the medication is safe. To ensure the safe use of medicines, it is important to know, for example, how you can monitor their beneficial and harmful effects.

Before you start a new medication, find out the answers to the following questions to ensure that you get the best possible benefit from the medication. It can also help to prevent adverse drug reactions.

Is the medicine suitable for me?

  • Is the medicine intended for the problem I have?

  • Is there something that prevents the use of the medicine, such as an allergy to the active substance, other medication, or a chronic illness? Especially liver and kidney conditions may prevent the use of certain medicines.

How much medicine should I take?

  • If the dose is too low, the desired efficiency is not achieved. A dose that is too high can cause adverse effects or even poisoning.

  • The doctor prescribes prescription drugs for personal use. The instructions for use are attached to the package in a pharmacy.

  • The instructions for the use of an over-the-counter medicine available from pharmacies without a prescription can be found in the package.

  • Children's dose is determined by age and, possibly, weight.

How should I take my medicine?

  • Medicines are usually taken orally, but some medicines are administered to the eye, ear, or skin, for example.

  • You need to pay careful attention to medicines available in tablet form as well. There are, for example, tablets that should not be halved, crushed or chewed.

  • You should always check the correct use from the medicine's package leaflet.

At what time of the day should I take my medicine?

  • Generally, you can freely choose the time of day you take your medicine.

  • In case of a course of medicine or a medicine intended for long-term use, you must take the medicine at the same time every day.

  • With medicine taken several times a day, you should check whether the medicine must be taken at even intervals. One antibiotic tablet three times a day, for example, means taking a tablet every eight hours.

  • Some medicines are taken at a certain time of the day. Cholesterol medicines, for example, are taken in the evening because the body produces the most cholesterol during the night.

  • Certain medicines should be taken exactly at the right time to achieve the desired effect. Examples of these include insulin injections and nitroglycerine tablets for heart attack.

Should I take my medicine with or without food?

  • Eating may increase, decrease, or have no effect on the absorption of a medicine.

  • Generally, the timing of eating and taking your medicine does not affect the efficacy of the medicine

  • Taking medicines on an empty stomach means that you should take the medicine at least one hour before you eat or two to three hours after a meal.

  • Together with a meal means that you should eat something, for example a sandwich, when you take the medicine.

  • Medicine taken before a meal should be taken 15 to 30 minutes before eating.

For how long should I take the medicine?

  • Medicines taken as required include, for example painkillers for a headache. Read the package leaflet or ask your doctor how long you can use this type of medicine.

  • Antibiotics are typically prescribed as a course.

  • Long-term medication is intended to be used for the entire duration of the illness. For example, patients with diabetes can be on insulin all their life.

What else should I take into consideration when taking medicine?

  • Any special requirements for use are listed in the package leaflet.

  • With some medicines, you cannot, for example, use dairy products or spend time in the sun

  • All medicines cannot be stored in room temperature; some must be stored in a fridge, for example.

  • Please remember that the proper way to dispose of medicines is to take them to a pharmacy.

How do I monitor myself during medication?

  • During medication, you should monitor whether the medicine has the desired effect and whether there are any adverse effects. Ask a pharmacist, nurse or doctor for self-monitoring instructions. Information about the effects and adverse effects of a medicine can also be found on the package leaflet.