How to take medicines safely 329
Some people are allergic to certain medicines. When a person is
given that medicine, her body has a reaction. The reaction may be
uncomfortable (such as skin rash, itching skin or eyes, swelling
of the lips or face, wheezing), or it may be very serious and
endanger her life (such as pale, cold or sweaty skin; weak
or rapid pulse or heartbeat; difficulty breathing; low blood
pressure; or loss of consciousness).
If a person goes into allergic shock, she needs medical help
immediately. Give epinephrine (see page 342).
Do not take a medicine you are allergic to and do not take
other medicines from the same family. (For information on antibiotic families, see
pages 330 to 331).
Medicines usually have 2 names. The generic (or scientific)
name is the same all over the world. Some companies that
make medicines give each medicine they make a brand
name. The same medicine made by 2 different companies
will have 2 different brand names. In this book we use
generic names. You may substitute one medicine for another
if the generic names are the same—any brand will do. Some
brands cost less than others.
How much medicine to give
Most tablets, capsules, inserts, and injectable medicines are measured in grams (g),
milligrams (mg), micrograms (mcg), or Units (U):
1000 mg = 1 g (one thousand milligrams is the same as one gram)
1 mg = 0.001 g (one milligram is one one-thousandth part of a gram)
Some medicines, such as birth control pills, are weighed in micrograms
(mcg or ucg):
1 ucg = 1 mcg = 1/1000 mg = 0.001 mg
This means there are 1000 micrograms in a milligram.
Injectable medicines may be measured in Units (U) or International Units (IU).
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007