How to read the instruction

in Question and Answer on .

Each drug goes through a series of laboratory and clinical trials whose purpose - to show its effectiveness and safety as well as identify possible adverse effects. We will tell the difference between prescription drugs and without RX drugs what you need to know about the instructions for use and why drugs with the same active ingredient have different name and price.

Medicines are divided into prescription drugs and drugs approved for sale without a prescription. Typically, prescription drugs are potent drugs, drugs that require strict control of the doctor. OTC drugs - for example, means for removing headaches or symptoms of colds - are available in pharmacies without a prescription and used for self-treatment. But in any case, before applying should carefully read the instructions - some of its points are particularly important to the patient. But in case you bought drugs without a prescription and you of course know that it is necessary to follow the instructions you need to know what to read in this manual so one by one we will tell you this.

How to read the instruction?

To the package of each drug is added instruction: at first glance it may seem that the information in it is intended for experts but it is not. Instruction consists of several sections and is designed for use of doctor and patient. First you need to verify that the product name on the packaging matches the name in the instructions. Then go to the sections that are particularly important for the patient.


Your disease status should be among listed in this section. In another case ask your doctor why you need these medicines.


Here are all the conditions: allergy, intolerance, concomitant diseases in which medication is impossible or requires special care or admission under medical supervision.

If you are pregnant it is needed to read in the drug instruction “Administration during pregnancy and during breastfeeding”:

Pregnant and nursing women may need to take medications. However, some drugs are prohibited for use during pregnancy use of other may require temporary switch to bottle-feeding. Active ingredients of some drugs with nicotine and ethanol contained in alcoholic beverages can penetrate the blood placental barrier separating maternal organism and child.  Therefore it is important to remember that any even OTC products and dietary supplements should not be taken without consulting a doctor, a gynecologist. The doctor will choose the safest medicines that do not affect the health of the child give recommendations on feeding.

Dosage and administration:

Please read this section to understand how to use specific drugs - inside or externally, after meals or on an empty stomach, chewing or swallowing whole. Check if it exceeds your daily dose and in case of excess - always refer with a question to the doctor.

Side effects:

Do not be afraid of information about side effects especially to make decisions about dose reduction or reversal drugs. Safety of each drug is carefully checked. In the instructions are listed all adverse events that occurred while taking this drug even if the side effects developed in one patient from million. This does not mean that a similar reaction occurs in you but to examine the list it is nonetheless worth that timely to consult a doctor if adverse effects appear. To reduce the risk of their occurrence follow the rules of application follow doctor's recommendations.

Storage conditions:

Medicines like food tend to deteriorate. In the not properly stored drug efficacy can be significantly reduced, its use may do more harm than good. Rules of storage of medicines listed in the manual and on the packaging.

What say the packaging?

On the box you'll find the most important information about the medicine.

Trade and international name drugs:

Trade, branded names are put in capital letters, international name - the name the active substance, the active ingredient - a more small print. Drugs with the same international name may be sold under various brand names and the price will thus vary.

Number of active substance:

For example: 1 ml of some syrup may contain 0.8 mg of main substance.

The method of administration:

For example: "For oral administration."

The amount and dosage form:

For example: 20 tablets.

Shelf life, storage conditions, batch number and the name of the manufacturer – this information you can find in the package. So as you see it is easy to read the medication instruction.  But still if you cannot understand how to read the instruction – call your doctor.

Last update: Jun 21, 2017