Why is it important
to read over-the-counter medicines label
and leaflet everytime?
Many of us do not realise
that safe use of medicines can depend on
- Taking other medicines
- Suffering from conditions such as
high blood pressure
label and patient information leaflet will
inform you of any situations where you
should not use the medicine. Also as more
research is done on medicines, new warnings
may be added that are relevant to you.
Parents in particular should pay attention
to dosage as this often changes with age
and sometimes adult medicines are not permitted
for use in children.
Information on over-the-counter medicines
is there to help you make sure you are
taking the right amount of medicine for
a safe length of time and in the right
circumstances. So even if you have used
a medicine before it is important to read
the label every time.
Handy tips on what
information on your over the counter
medicine label and patient information
leaflet you should pay special attention
It is important that you read all that
is written on the label and patient information
leaflet everytime you use a medicine
as your circumstances may have changed
(example: other medicines you are taking).
This can alter if the medicine is suitable
for your use. Here are some examples of
key information you will find and why it
- This tells you what symptoms or ailments the medicine will help
you with. For example, decongestant, cough, heartburn, rash.
and Directions for Use
- It is important that you do not exceed the recommended dose of
medicine or take it more frequently than the label states.
- Also remember to check that you do not exceed the dose that should
be taken over twenty-four hours.
If using the medicine on anyone under the age of 16 years, check
the label carefully. You may have to reduce the dose for different
ages or in some cases the medicine may not be permitted for use
- Warning statements are there to ensure you use your medicine
safely so make sure you take the time to read them.
- Some medicines can cause drowsiness and warn you not to drive
or operate machinery. If you do have to drive that day ask your
pharmacist if a non-drowsy medicine is available.
- Finally, the majority of medicines clearly state If symptoms
persist more than a few days consult your doctor or your pharmacist.
It is very important you follow this advice, if symptoms are
persisting longer than the recommended usage time of your medicine
it could reflect a bigger underlying health problem so you must
- Contra-indications / Do Not Take
- Contra-indications tell you if you cannot take this medicine
if you are taking another medicine or suffering from a pre-existing
condition or life-stage. For example many medicine should not be
used in people with diabetes or during pregnancy. Some decongestants
should not be used if you are suffering from high blood pressure.
Conditions / Expiry Date
- Any special storage conditions will be stated on the label. If
you do not follow these your medicine may become less effective
- Every medicine will state an expiry date. If you use the medicine
after this date you may not be getting the full benefit of the
medicine as the manufacturer is no longer guaranteeing quality
after this date.