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Chic Inside Pages Keeping Medicines Safe
Chic Inside Pages OTC Medicines and Children
Chic Inside Pages OTC Medicines & Drowsiness
Chic Inside Pages OTC Medicines and Pregnancy
Chic Inside Pages Using OTC Medicines with Prescription Medicines
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Chic Inside Pages Understanding Your Label and Patient Information Leaflet
Using Medicines Correctly
Understanding Your Label and Patient Information Leaflet:

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 things like:

  • Taking other medicines
  • Suffering from conditions such as high blood pressure
  • Pregnancy

Over-the-counter medicine 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 to

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 is important:

  • Indication
    - This tells you what symptoms or ailments the medicine will help you with. For example, decongestant, cough, heartburn, rash.
  • Dosage 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 in children.
  • Warning Statements
    - 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 seek advice.
  • Contra-indications / Do Not Take If:
    - 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.
  • Storage 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.


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