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Medication Guide

Capsules

  • Capsules should be swallowed whole as contents often have an unpleasant taste.
  • For children, some capsules can be opened and mixed with food. Ask your pharmacist if in doubt.
  • Moisten your mouth or take a sip of water first.
  • Swallow capsules with liquids, preferably water, to ensure that they don’t stick to your esophagus (food canal).
  • Store capsules in the original bottle

Eye Drops & Ointments

NOTE: To prevent contamination of the medication, do not let the applicator tip touch the eye, eyelids, or any surface. Some eye drops must be shaken well before using. Keep tightly closed when not in use. Do not refrigerate unless instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Remove your contact lens before instilling the eye drops.

  • Wash hands thoroughly.

  • Tilt the head back.

  • Pull lower eyelid away from eye with the index finger to form a pouch.

  • Look up in order to move the cornea away from the drops.

  • Drop the medicine into the pouch and gently close the eyes. Do not blink.

  • Keep eyes closed and gently apply pressure to the bridge of the nose for 1 to 2 minutes. This will retain the medicine in the eyes. If you just had eye surgery, check with your doctor to see if you should apply pressure to the bridge of the nose.

  • Repeat the same procedure if multiple drops are required.

  • Wash hands thoroughly.

  • Your vision may be blurred following instillation. Do not drive or operate dangerous machinery until you regain your normal vision.

  • If multiple eye-drop medications are used, wait 5-10 minutes between each medication.

Gargles

  • Fill your mouth with the appropriate amount of medication.
  • Tilt head back and gargle for a few seconds and then spit out. (Exception: with some antibiotics or antifungals, the solution must be swallowed after the gargle. Ask your pharmacist if in doubt.)
  • Repeat if necessary.

Lozenges and Pastilles

  • Let medication dissolve slowly.
  • Do not chew or crush the lozenges.

Mouth Sprays

  • Shake well if necessary.
  • Spray directly onto affected area.
  • Do not blow your nose or swallow immediately in order to prolong the effect and prevent the medication from running down the throat.

Mouth Washes

  • Measure the appropriate amount.
  • Swish the solution around in your mouth.
  • Retain in mouth for a few minutes and then spit it out.
  • Do not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes.

Nasal Drops

  • Blow nose gently.
  • Fill dropper with proper amount of medication.
  • Tilt head back while standing or sitting.
  • Insert the dropper into one nostril about 1/3 inch and instill the prescribed number of drops into the nose.
  • Remain still for at least 2 minutes.
  • Repeat the above procedure in the other nostril if necessary.
  • Keep head tilted back for a few minutes to allow medicine to spread throughout the nose.
  • Replace the cap after use.

Nasal Sprays

NOTE: Please read the instructions before using them as some nasal spray medications have special instructions. Some medications are suspended and must be shaken well before using. New medications must be primed before using. Check with your pharmacist if your nasal spray needs priming and how to do it.

  • Blow nose gently.

  • With head upright spray the medicine into the affected nostril.

  • Breathe in gently through the nostril then breathe out through the mouth.

  • Repeat the procedure for the other nostril if necessary.

  • Rinse the tip of the spray bottle with hot water and dry with a clean tissue.

Oral Liquids

  • Suspended medications must be shaken well before using.
  • Use an accurate measuring device (e.g. dropper, syringe, or dosing spoon).
  • If the liquid medication is mixed with water or juice, finish up the drink so the exact dose is taken.
  • Do not refrigerate unless otherwise indicated to do so.

Oral Tablets

  • Tablets should be taken with liquid, preferably water.
  • Enteric coated, sugar coated, slow release tablets should not be cut or crushed as this would destroy the slow release property of the tablet or expose the unpleasant taste of the medication.
  • Effervescent tablets must first be dissolved in water or juice and then the effervescent solution is swallowed.
  • Chewable tablets must be chewed first. This helps the tablet to dissolve and helps its swallowing. If needed, you may drink water to rinse the mouth.
  • Sublingual tablets should be placed under the tongue where they dissolve rapidly and the medication is quickly absorbed.

Patches

  • Apply the patch to a clean dry skin area with little or no hair and free of scars, cuts or irritations.
  • Remove the previous patch before applying the new one.
  • Apply the patch each time to a different area in order to prevent skin irritation.
  • Do not try to trim or cut the adhesive patches to adjust the dosage as this would affect the effectiveness of the medication.
  • Dispose the used patch in a safe manner, keeping it away from children.
  • Some patches should not be applied to certain areas of the body. Ask your pharmacist for more information.

Rectal Creams and Ointments

NOTE: Bathe and dry the rectal area first.

For surrounding areas:

  • Apply a small amount of cream or ointment onto the affected area and rub in gently.

For deeper areas:

  • Attach the applicator tip to the open tube.
  • Insert the applicator tip into the rectum and gently squeeze the tube to deliver the medication.
  • Remove the applicator tip from the tube and wash it with soap and hot water.

Rectal Enemas

  • Shake well before using.
  • Remove the protective sheath from the applicator tip.
  • For self-administration, lie on the side.
  • Gently insert the applicator tip into rectum.
  • Grasp the bottle firmly and squeeze slowly to release the medication.
  • Do not release and re-squeeze the bottle.
  • Steady hand pressure will discharge the entire solution.
  • After administering the medication, withdraw and discard the empty container.
  • Remain in position for at least 30 minutes to allow thorough distribution of the medication.

Rectal Suppositories

NOTE: If suppository is too soft because of storage in a warm place, chill the suppository in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. On the other hand, if suppository is too hard you can hold it in your hands for a few minutes to warm it up.

  • Wash hands.
  • Remove the wrap. You can moisten the tip of the suppository with water for easier insertion.
  • Lie down on the side and insert the suppository into rectum as far as it will go comfortably.
  • Wash hands.

Topical Creams, Ointments, Powders and Lotions

  • Wash hands.
  • Apply the topical product to clean, dry skin.
  • Do not apply to broken or abraded skin.
  • For lotions, shake it well before using.
  • Store in a cool, dry place.

Vaginal Creams and Tablets

NOTE: Most vaginal products are provided with an applicator from the manufacturer.

  • Wash hands.
  • Fill the applicator with the cream or vaginal tablets.
  • Lie down on your back with your knees drawn up.
  • Insert the applicator into vagina as far as it can go without forcing it.
  • Release the medication by pushing on the plunger.
  • Wait several minutes before getting up.
  • Wash applicator and your hands with soap and warm water.